Christmas greetings and an update from Ekklesia

By Simon Barrow
December 24, 2020

First, warmest Christmas and Season’s greetings to all our friends, associates and readers. We say that in full awareness that this continues to a be a difficult time for many, with pain and loss experienced in 2020, but also hopes that the current pandemic can be addressed in 2021 and beyond. 

Ekklesia will continue to operate, though at a lower level, throughout the holiday period – with occasional additions to the news briefing or commentary sections on our website, and activity on social media, especially Twitter (@Ekklesia_Co_Uk). Indeed, we have just added responses to one UK Government and two Scottish Government consultations under Research.

This past year we launched our dedicated publishing site (http://www.ekklesiapublishing.co.uk), curating the ten titles we have produced since 2015/16, with more to come in 2021. Of particular note is Letters to a Broken Church, pioneered by a group of survivors of church abuse who are having a real impact within the Church of England and beyond. There is also Siglum (http://www.siglumpublishing.co.uk), our second imprint, focussing on the illuminative and transformative possibilities of the arts, music and culture.One particular joy is that, in spite of our own very thin resources, we have managed to help raise £6,000 for charity and solidarity causes through venture publishing in 2019/20. So buying our books helps not just ourselves, but others.

Early next year this site will be archived and a new – long overdue – replacement site launched (using the WordPress platform), with the same URL. Our hope is that you will appreciate the cleaner and more visual design. This has been some time in the creation. Thanks to Bob Carling, Sean Reilly and others who have helped along the way. 

Next year is a milestone for us – 20 years of operation. We will take the opportunity to tell something of the story of those two decades, to refocus our concerns and activities, to do a little fundraising (we operate on volunteers and a tiny annual income of less than £5,000 at present), to affirm some core partnerships, and to address the urgent issues of ethics and truth-telling, the abuses of religion/belief, and the need to re-shape politics on a human, local/global and planetary scale. The emphasis of what we are doing and saying these days is more on this ‘change network’ side of things than on formal think-tankery, and that is the direction we hope to continue with. 

In the meantime, thank you for those who continue to journey with us. A particular thanks from me to those who have kept Ekklesia going with me over the past few years – Jill Segger, who contributes much on the editorial/reflection side of things (and whose fine book, Words Out of Silence, collects some of her best poetry and prose); Bernadette Meaden, who does the bulk of our news briefing and offers much-valued commentary (as well as having an excellent new book out with DLT, Illness, Caring and Disability); and not least Bob Carling, our book and web production maestro, who has been an enormous support. Thank you too to our other associates (who include John Gillibrand, Doug Hynd and Savitri Hensman), to our previous web hosting company Netuxo, and to new partners CanMarket

My own role continues to involve handling the policy side of things, a certain amount of media, publishing, and social media.  I have also just co-edited my fourth book on Scottish politics and public life since 2016, Scotland After the Virus (Luath Press) and have more publishing projects on belief, politics and culture in the pipeline. 

In the meantime, we have been emphasising a #MakeChristmasSafeNotSorry message for some time now. So please do keep safe over Christmas and the New Year! Let’s go on showing love and solidarity in tough times.

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© Simon Barrow is the Director of Ekklesia

Keywords:Ekklesia | think tank
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