GodTalk 2: Responses to the Economic Crisis

GodTalk 2, a conference considering matters relating to the current economy, was held in St Martins House on Thursday 3rd October. Canon David Jennings, Convenor of conference, writes:

“GodTalk2 sounds like a sequel to GodTalk1, which in fact it was. The brand is based upon the principle of finding and engaging in conversations which relate to an understanding of God that is relevant and applicable to the contemporary context. GodTalk1 looked at how language functions in discourse about God in a variety of situations; GodTalk2 addressed the pressing issue of the current economic crisis upon the lives of the poor. About seventy people, from around the country, gathered in St Martins House on 3rd October to give consideration to what is a critical issue for the Church and others.

“The day began with appropriate welcomes from the Dean and the Bishop. This was followed by a personal description of poverty and the impact of present government policies upon the lives of people from the Easterhouse estate in Glasgow, by the onetime Professor of Social Policy at Bath University, Bob Holman, now a community worker in Easterhouse, working from the local Baptist Church. It was a moving and harrowing account of suffering, ordinary people. Baroness Professor Ruth Lister, formerly of Loughborough University and the Child Poverty Action Group, gave an insightful and detailed lecture on the impact of the economic crisis for varied cohorts of the population. The facts detailed by Ruth belie much contemporary government rhetoric about the impact of welfare changes. After lunch, the conference was joined by Margaret Hodge MP who, as chair of the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament, was able to give insight into a variety of schemes and programmes operated by major corporations and individuals to avoid paying due and proper tax in the UK.

The issue was one of fairness, and clearly significant revenues lost to the exchequer have an adverse impact upon the nation’s finances and the supposed necessity for austerity measures. The conference was then able to divide into small groups for further discussion and consideration of the issues raised by the speakers, before reconvening to listen to Bishop Peter Selby, former Bishop of Worcester, present a detailed and biblically based lecture about the nature of money, its significance and utilisation for the good of society.

GodTalk conferences are premised on the principle that theological discourse should be rooted and experienced within the common life of society. It is hoped that GodTalk3 will continue this hermeneutic.”

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