The Journey Begins for Red Letter Christians in the UK

Thanks for joining us.

Tony Campolo and Shane Claiborne instigated a new movement of Christians taking seriously the words of Jesus personally, communally and publicly today. After many years of ministry in the UK we believe God is bringing UK people together to see this movement make an impact in the UK.

In 2018 Tony and Shane visited the UK for the ‘Urban Change Makers’ Tour which was a catalyst for an initial group to pray and explore what might be possible in the UK. The group, led by Rev Dr Ash Barker, developed this statement of intent.

Vision:

Red Letter Christians UK will be a Christian movement taking seriously the words of Jesus personally, communally and publicly. We will be part of a prophetic call to all UK based people, groups and systems to live and be more like Jesus. This movement will focus on identifying and mobilising people and agencies for specific, sacrificial compassionate actions to fight poverty and injustice the UK. We adopt and contextually adapt the ethos from RLC USA and share together in solidarity our concerns and gifts based from within the UK context and led by those based in the UK.[1]

Activities:

Gatherings to inspire, inform and mobilise Christians into action:

  • Red Leader Voices: A diverse circle of Christian leaders who discern together annually, normally in December, what God is doing and what actions and communications to focus on in the year to come[2].
  • Red Letter Tours: A Red Letter Seminar will be held on the day of tour events to encourage and connect those on the front line. ‘Red Letter Revival’ evenings will mobilise and engage the ‘not yet convinced’.[3]

Communications that amplify the voices of diverse Red Letter Christians:

  • Red Letter Podcast: A monthly podcast/radio show Red Letter Christians UKstarting after the first annual gathering and evolving as the context requires
  • Red Letter Blog: A monthly blog post on RedLetterChristians.uk which will explore issues of the day
  • Red Letter Media: A communications and media plan around focused action will support all RL activities in the UK

Collective actions that, corporately discerned, would give a prophetic focus to Christians and the wider public, on an injustice Jesus would get arrested over

  • Red Letter Voices will help identify and isolate a specific target from within their contexts
  • Gatheringsand Communicationwill help mobilise for concerted actions to be taken in solidarity with others
  • Red Letter activists, volunteers and operatives will engage in actions alongside others who share insight into this same aspect of injustice.

Connect with Urban Seedbeds for radical learning experiences in some ‘best practice’ models

  • We will Identify and promote opportunities for going deeper with experienced RL leaders who can offer immersion learning experiences in identified urban contexts.
  • Existing programmes (Urban Change Makers; Newbigin School for Urban Leadership) will form the basis for this initially, but our vision is to support new programmes and places of learning as the movement grows.
  • RLC as an organisation may not ‘own’ these ‘seedbeds’, but will be promoters of them and will ensure their connection to the essential vision of Jesus and Justice amongst the most marginalised at their heart.

Governance:

RLC UK will become a Community Interest Company with a Board of Directors that would stay light and responsive. The Directors will seek to recruit  people who first, share the vision. We will also intentionally recruit:

  • Donors:These will be identified over time and draw on a range of networks.
  • Do-ers:Activists who share the vision and are practitioners of Christ-centred justice embedded in communities will be identified.
  • Door Openers: ‘Elder States people’ and friends who are passionate followers of Jesus, share the vision, can access networks of support and who are willing to build bridges between communities.

Roles:

We need:

  • The Initial RLC UK (CIC) Board of Directors: Ian Rutherford (Chair, Manchester), Ash Barker (Birmingham), Dave and Sally Mann (East London), Mick Kane (Manchester).
  • The future RLC UK (CIC) Board of Directors: roles on the board will be developed with a view to recruit key people who are both participating in the movement’s direction and able to lead it.
  • Executive Director: Ash Barker will serve as the initial Executive Director. The vision would be to raise up a successor within five years.
  • A Communications and Development Coordinator:will be appointedto help with logistics, fund-raising, strategic partnerships, co-ordinating. Initially they will work closely with  the Executive Director from an agreed base.
  • Red Letter Voices: Will be identified, key people who can speak and organise, think alongside each other and discern the direction of injustice in the UK with a view to prophetic action.[4]
  • RL Theologian in Residence:Dr Deirdre Brower-Latz (Principal NTC) will initially work with the RL teams, will a view to succession and development of activist-theologians across the UK theological world speaking in to Jesus and Justice issues.
  • Volunteers and Activists: a grouping of key peoplewho already help make things happen in ongoing ways in local areas and who will develop others who share this life of witness.
  • Supporters: A wide group of people who know RL leaders and RL Voices, trust us and believe in what we are doing and will pray and, where possible, give funds.

 

Key dates 2018-19:

With the success of Tony Campolo and Shane Claiborne’s Urban Change Makerstour in London, Luton, Manchester and Birmingham in May 2018, could we build on this ready for a May/June 2019 launch?

  • 19th-20thDecember 2018: We will have a UK ‘Red Letter Voices’ round table gathering of key leaders. We will ask, ‘What is God saying amongst us?’ Consider planning for the June launch and Identify action to focus on for the coming year. Don Golden from RLC USA will join with the UK group for an overnight gathering at Dovegate Retreat Centre (Peak District). Dr Tony Campolo and Don Golding will share their learnings from RLC US will commission this group.
  • We’d also do some recordings for monthly Red Letter Podcast and work out a forward plan for Blog Posts.
  • Spring 2019: Communications will start with Podcast and Blogposts being posted for public consumption.
  • 16th-23rdJune 2019: Shane Claiborne will do a RLC city tour, hosted by RLC Voices in their cities with planned daytime Seminars and an evening Red Letter Revival

 

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[1]We are clear that this is a positive commitment to be people who represent Jesus and integrate justice as a lifestyle, practice and public prophetic witness. Although we are aware of our own tendency to be referential to the US toxicity in relation to ‘evangelical’ polarisation, (and the UK/global Christian tendency to mirror this) we want to call UK Christians to return to a positive, integrated, contextually embedded understanding of broad Christian engagement because of Jesus in justice movements.

[2]Our first one will be an overnight retreat 19-20 December, 2018 at Dovegate retreat centre with Don Goldenfrom US RLC. We may also have a morning retreat together with Shane Claiborne in June 2019.

[3]The first would be a 5-6 city tour with Shane Claiborne 16-23 June, 2019.

[4]Similarly to the RLC USA list https://www.redletterchristians.org/people/with a few key figure heads  – as a council of reference

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

 


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