On two occasions (at least), Jesus summed up the teaching of his Bible (which Christians call the Old Testament) very concisely.
On one occasion he says that it is all based on two commands (Matthew 22:37-40): love God, and love your neighbour, and he quotes these commands directly from the books of Deuteronomy (6:5) and Leviticus (19:18). On another occasion, he sums it up as "do to others what you would have them do to you."
Sometimes known as the golden rule, versions of this appear across different religions and cultures.
Either way, and in common with many other parts of Jesus' teaching, the practice of kindness is put at the heart of the Christian life.
In the Diocese of Worcester, we ask each other, as individuals and communities, to focus on how we are putting four values into practice: love, compassion, justice, and freedom. These are the values we see embedded in the many different ways Jesus spoke about, and lived out, what he called "the kingdom of God."
Commission for Social Responsibility
Currently the Diocese of Worcester focuses its engagement with with social, community, economic and rural affairs through a Commission for Social Responsibility (CSR). Members are elected from each deanery or co-opted because of their expertise or experience. The Chair is Prof. Michael Taylor, Emeritus Professor of Social Theology, Birmingham University.
The CSR is presently focussing its attention on working to support parishes and communities which score highly on many indices of deprivation and poverty. It seeks to keep a watching brief on a much wider range of issues, including criminal justice and health and well-being. It is supported by one of the Mission Development Officers, Doug Chaplin, who posts updates, news and resource information on this website.
Mission in the Economy
The lead officers from three specialist ecumenical teams are also part of the CSR. They represent ways in which the diocese engages in the economic life of Worcestershire and the Black Country, and also in the care of people in their working lives. These teams are:
- Faith at Work in Worcestershire (FWW)
- The Black Country Urban Industrial Mission (BCUIM)
- The Committee for Agricultural and Rural Life (CARL)
The work of community engagement at the parish and deanery level is key to the life of the diocese as well as of the local community. CSR is always pleased to hear of local projects, and the Mission Development Officer, Doug Chaplin, seeks to be available to support and encourage local work, to help find seed funding, to establish partnerships, and to promote the sharing of good practice.