What became clear was that in these discussions the church seems to have lost its place of credibility in contributing to any ongoing discussion on social cohesion.I missed Faith House on Monday.
I missed the opportunity to chat with those that society generally looks down upon. I missed the opportunity of sharing conversation and a cup of tea with those that bring quite a bit to my life. I missed the opportunity of being part of church that is totally up front and authentic, with no hidden agendas. I missed going out to support Estelle, Alex and Christine as they journey alongside girls that are looked at with an eye for what they can give sexually as an economic asset. I missed their stories of showing respect and value to a community that must be hollowed by knowing total exploitation. What I missed was being part of active engagement in community that is church and not a project that wont be funded by local or central government!
The reason I missed it was I was in the Treasury in Whitehall, sat opposite Rt Hon Stephen Timms MP Financial Secretary to the Treasury. A round table conversation regarding the place of church in community and its contribution to social cohesion. There was something terrifying about being in the room with seventeen other Christians that you don't know and hearing the veiled evangelical subtext that 'we are so misunderstood' and 'we are discriminated against when it comes to receiving public funding'.
What became clear was that in these discussions the church seems to have lost its place of credibility in contributing to any ongoing discussion on social cohesion. Shame, as I watched Stephen Timms listening and his civil servants minute the discussion, I wanted them to be where I should have been.