Think-tank invites 'the unthinkable' on theology and public life

 The theological think-tank Ekklesia has today announced that it is inviting submissions about how theology might be applied creatively in public life. People are being urged to 'think the unthinkable' in preparation for a series of short papers which will look at the creative application of theological ideas to matters of public policy. Ekklesia is an initiative of the Anvil Trust, which has been running the theological training programme "Workshop" for over 20 years. During this time over thousands of people have taken the year-long course which operates from six centres around the UK. Ekklesia works to promote theological ideas in public life. It has recently promoted ideas of non-violence in the context of the current war in Iraq which have been debated on several occasions on the BBC. In February, Ekklesia launched a web-based syndicated news service for church web-sites that encourages readers to look at the news from a theological perspective. This is already being used by dozens of churches around the UK. Ekklesia is now inviting short-papers of about 2,000 words that creatively address issues of public policy from a theological perspective. Papers would be welcomed particularly in the areas of international relations and peacemaking, constitutional reform including the relationship between church and state, poverty and the economy, positive alternatives to prison and victim-offender reconciliation. Papers on all subjects related to public policy will be considered. Ekklesia's director Jonathan Bartley said; "Examples such as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa or the Jubilee 2000 campaign in the UK have shown how theological ideas can be applied to great effect in public life. In many areas of public policy, policy-makers are rediscovering that a theological perspective has something important to offer to current debates, and can often bring a fresh and new perspective to bear that previously has not been considered." He continued: "Often however it is the people who dare to 'think the unthinkable' who come up with the best ideas. Our hope is that by inviting people to think creatively in this way, new ideas will emerge that might make an important theological contribution to public life." For more information visit:

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