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Be a good neighbour by belonging; Faiths IN OUR CITY.

Byline: BISHOP URQUHART

IN SOME church circles belonging, believing and behaving are well known phases of the journey towards becoming a mature follower of Jesus Christ.

I believe these three words have a much wider resonance as we look at our society and try to understand the brokenness and dysfunction that were revealed by the rioting and looting on our streets.

Human beings need to belong, need to believe and need to behave.

To look at this through a Christian lens we might say human beings need to belong to each other in Jesus Christ, to believe in God the Father and to behave well in the power of the Holy Spirit.

When people belong to one another, linked by trusting relationships, adopt positive values borne out of strong belief and behave according to those values, we begin to see human flourishing and healthy communities.

While many are examining the causes of unrest, I am keen to look at the ground we need to prepare to grow neighbourhoods that are clean, safe and generous - neighbourhoods where greed, violence and hostility are quickly weeded out.

I am personally thrilled that a new fund has opened called Near Neighbours that covers 13 Birmingham wards and aims to strengthen communities by bringing people of different faiths and ethnicities together to build relationships of trust and transform the places in which we live. You can find out more about the fund at www.cuf.org.uk/near-neighbours.

In addition, I am very pleased that as one of the Presidents of Birmingham Churches Together, I will be opening the new Faithful Neighbourhoods Centre in Sparkhill on October 11.

The new centre will help Christians in Birmingham live as Good News in a multi-faith city, addressing all aspects of belonging, believing and behaving so that these followers of Jesus Christ are equipped to build firm friendships and live out their faith in a way that strengthens their communities, builds up their belief and inspires others to seek the common good in our city.

Let us make the right choices for ourselves and commit to helping anyone who struggles to find meaning, identity or motivation. Good News for our families, neighbours and wider society depends on our believing, belonging and behaving.

David Urquhart, Bishop of Birmingham
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Oct 1, 2011
Words:379
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