Shaping debate on religion in public life.

Case Studies for Community: A Thought-Provoking Event

7 Mar 2016


Our Director of Research Chris Baker reports back from the recent meeting of the Faith and Flourishing Neighbourhoods Network.

The second event in our ‘Community, What Community?’ series for the Faith and Flourishing Neighbourhood Network, focused on five compelling case studies of present day community and place making in which the role of religious faith and other forms of belief was explored and examined. The event was held at the Diocese of Birmingham office on Thursday 25th February, and was attended by a committed group of 20 participants.

Case studies came from:

  • Baptist Minister Mike Pears who discussed a small intentional community on an outer Bristol housing estate;
  • Chris Gaynor, an Anglican priest, who discussed community building on a new estate on the edge of Banbury;
  • Abdullah Rehman who described the formation and growth of the Balsall Heath Forum, an interfaith urban regeneration project;
  • Penny Faust from the Oxford Jewish Congregation explained the city’s unique synagogue, shared by all four main Jewish traditions;
  • Gillian Ellis from the Bourneville Village Trust discussed the factory village’s heritage and continuing commitment to welfare and community.

We were challenged and inspired to hear and discuss such different examples of place making in a variety of such different settings: Inner-urban suburbs, garden suburbs, outer-urban housing estates, new exurbs and provincial cities.

During this rich day we had several examples of how religious and other beliefs contribute to place making: as a founding vision; as a space of temporary ritual and belonging; as spaces that model tolerance and radical hospitality; as bridge-builders between entrenched communities; as spaces of knowledge exchange and learning; as communities committed to ownership of the community (but not in the ‘right-to-buy’ sense). And many more!

Our thanks again to our contributors and the members of the FFNN network who contributed so fully in response to what they heard, as well as from their own experience.

Download the full report here >>

See photos from the event on our Facebook page >>

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