‘Regeneration’ is a word with a theological pedigree, but has re-entered the urban vocabulary with a wide and none-too-clear meaning. It is used to refer not only to the refurbishment of older properties and settlements but also to the intended ‘renaissance’ of areas even where no buildings have existed before. The building of houses, retail and commercial centres and transport hubs has attracted vast sums of international finance and highly paid consultants. No longer is land understood as opportunity to enhance human flourishing but simply as a chance to make very big returns on financial investment. Ethical issues abound – not least ecological and sociological – and theologians attempt to focus on what it could be to build community where every human being finds respect, fulfilment and God.
The QE2 Bridge, Dartford, UK
(when newly constructed)
Steve Williams was my Thames Gateway Officer. He covered all areas of regeneration in the Thames Gateway South Essex Area but is also involved, as I was as Bishop, in Regeneration matters at a Diocesan, East of England and national level. To find out more about the Thames Gateway visit his website here
LAURIE'S BOOK ON REGENERATION was written with a whole team of friends, and edited by Laurie and Chris Baker. "The new urban areas are reshaping much of Britain. Those who live, work or minister within them are not only at the cutting edge of new forms of built environment, they must also discover new ways of being community and contemplate new expressions of Church. All this demands careful and bold analysis and creative theological reflection. While powerful global economic forces are changing our landscapes, human beings have to wrestle with themes of belonging and identity. The gospel engages with these human narratives, driving and shaping a Christian search for alternative perspectives and practices. What are the appropriate building projects, mission programmes and lifestyles that will be effective in meeting the challenges of these urban settlements? How should other areas respond?
The book maps the whole situation & reflects theologically on the challenges of our newly built urban developments.
Other papers and pages relating to Regeneration Issues
Read here about the Commission which created Building Utopia? mentioned above
Read Here Laurie's launch lecture about our Global setting for his book Urban Ministry
Read Here the description of Essex and East London regeneration issues in an application for funding for mission.