Event report: The Big Workshop, No 2017
Thanks to all those who joined us on Saturday under the high glass ceiling of Victoria Hall Methodist in Sheffield. The Big Workshop was a well attended event to explore together how the church can help to create a fair and sustainable economy.
The morning session was opened by Peter Grimwood, who introduced the various Joy in Enough working groups and outlined the day. Christine Bainbridge then presented the case for a fair and sustainable economy and how the church can respond, referring to the core document drawn up by the content group. With high profile figures and institutions admitting that we need to change course, we are at an important moment. There is a broad understanding that the economy is not serving people and planet.
In response, Joy in Enough seeks to build a bridge between theology and economics. Christine outlined a series of perspectives that the church can contribute, including the idea of creation as gift, and the new heavens and a new earth. These theological principles lead us towards certain economic principles, such as fair taxation, or broader measures of prosperity.
Paul Ashton, on behalf of JiE’s programme group, introduced the new small group discussion resource that is being developed, and set the scene for the afternoon.
After lunch, participants took part in a trial run of that discussion resource. The topic was consumerism, one of five topics that will form the final series, and conversations were hosted in a cafe table format. Facilitators dealt a series of cards with topics, case studies and information. Feedback from this session will be very useful to the programme group as they develop the full series.
Following the discussion, Paul Bodenham set out the theory of change behind Joy in Enough, and the need for a ‘systemic campaign’ that gets to the real roots of the problem. Joy in Enough, he suggested, should be a ‘prefigurative’ movement that does not simply protest the status quo, but shapes and models an alternative.
The Big Workshop marks the start of a new phase of work for Joy in Enough, with the launch of a website and social media streams. This will help to foster an ongoing conversation about consumerism, growth, and a fair and sustainable economy. The Joy in Enough website is now live at JoyinEnough.org
A number of organisations exhibited around the hall, such as the Greenhouse think tank, Hope for the Future, and the Sheffield Climate Alliance. Thanks are also due to OikoCredit for their stand, and for contributing to the funding of the event.