Faith, Belief and Nation-building
A St George’s House Consultation.
What sort of Britain do we want to build for the 21st century?
On the 1st and 2nd of June 2017, a major consultation involving global thinkers from across all sectors of public life and belief traditions, as well as grassroots practitioners and activists, was hosted at St George’s House, Windsor. The consultation, devised and instigated by the William Temple Foundation, Culham St Gabriels, University of Chester, University of Worcester, Saltley Trust, and the University of Warwick curated a deep and strategic conversation about nation building and the role of institutional faiths and belief (both religious and nonreligious) in that task.
The conference was called Malvern 2017 in direct reference to the original Malvern conference of 1941, entitled the Life of the Church and the Order of Society, which was instigated by Archbishop William Temple to reconstruct British Society both morally and physically after the second World War. This was held at a time when the future of Europe, and indeed the global world order, was deemed to be under the greatest threat from war and the breakdown of democratic governance.
This year’s consultation,held under Chatham House rules, took place in the context of a profound sense of fragmentation which was highlighted by the Brexit vote and a looming General Election. The stability and security of Europe once again feels under threat – not so much from global war as from a series of destabilising global trends, including terrorism, economic uncertainty and the resurgence of nationalism.
Director of Research for the William Temple Foundation, Professor Chris Baker, who chaired the conference steering Committee comments: “The blueprint of the original Malvern conference chaired by William Temple represents one of the highest tide marks in the coming together of religious ideas and government policy. Its legacy and way of working was truly inspirational, and we hope that in the years to come, some of its much needed sense of hope and purpose will be carried on in the future by the events and new spaces of dialogue that we intend to create from it.”
A series of follow-up events are being planned to further unpack the themes and ideas generated by this conference. See Page 11 of the report for some of the agendas that will be featured over the coming months.