It is difficult to escape the feeling that we are living in changing times.
Politically speaking, change is the order of the day at local, national and international levels.
Elections have yielded some rather unexpected results. We have seen the successes of rank outsiders such as Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron, and the surprise last minute surges in support for the Labour Party in the UK and New Zealand.
Although widely forecast, the rise of extremist parties, such as the AFD in Germany and the Freedom Party in Austria, continues to be a shocking and worrying development.
Longstanding alliances and governmental structures have been challenged and in some places rejected. We have seen referendums on Scottish independence, Britain’s membership of the European Union, Catalonian independence and Kurdish independence.
All of these outward changes have been linked to a sense that there is profound shift in how the business of politics is being carried out whether that be in changing patterns of participation, increased ideological polarisation, or a change in the structure of how information is shared and assessed.
Our changing political climate runs alongside and possibly in tandem with shifts in the economy. People are now talking about a fourth industrial revolution. Technological advances in areas such as robotics and artificial intelligence could lead to a vast increase in productivity. However, there is understandable nervousness about what this might mean for jobs in an economy increasingly characterised by non-unionised irregular employment.
In the midst of this, the nature of poverty in our society is changing: whilst we have high employment, poverty in work has increased significantly, as has poverty amongst the young who are often in low paid, irregular work.
It was with these changes in mind that we constructed the title of the next JPIT conference Brave New World? Faithful living in a time of change.
The aim of the conference is to consider some of the challenges and opportunities that have been created by our changing times. We want to deepen our understanding of what is happening. We want to think about how we might cope with the challenges and make the most of opportunities. Crucially we want to use our understanding and visioning to consider what it means to live faithfully in the world. How can we ‘do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God’ (Micah 6:8)?
we will be joined by a number of different voices, including keynote speakers Stella Creasy MP and Peter Oborne
In doing this we will be joined by a number of different voices, including Stella Creasy, Labour and Cooperative Party MP, and Peter Oborne, columnist at the Daily Mail, associate editor of The Spectator and former chief political commentator of The Daily Telegraph, as we bring together politicians, journalists, activists and people of faith to discuss the challenges facing our changing communities, nations and world. We hope that you will be able to join us too.
Tickets will be available soon, but until then, save the date: 17 March, Manchester Central Hall.