By Revd Dr Susan Durber
Minister, Taunton United Reformed Church; and Moderator of Faith and Order Commission, WCC
I am used to going to meetings of a few people, often in large rooms, and feeling that the energy has to come from me. So being part of the Citizens Founding Assembly was a real contrast! The room was packed and the energy level was high. After years (honestly, years..) of building up to this moment I was aware of how tired I was, but the meeting was stirring and energising.
There were some disappointments - that the person I most wanted to be there wasn’t there after all (the Operations Director of the Bus Company), that some of the people from my church who had said they would come couldn’t because of illness. But there were almost no seats left anyway! The room was filled with people of all ages, of a whole range of opinions and experiences, all with passion about the things they really care about, and all wanting to make Somerset a truly great place to live, for everyone.
There were some great speeches and some moving moments; the girl who told us she couldn’t find a hairdresser to look after her kind of hair - she offered us a telling picture of Taunton’s limitations and lack of inclusion - , the man who works but still has to live in a tent, the young women who feel threatened to walk out at night. But it was the singing that really got to me - 'Never doubt’ we sang ‘ Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful and committed people can change the world.’ And at the end we sang again and believed everyone there could do something to change the world.
The last thing I need in my life is another set of meetings, but the people I’ve met at Citizens have won me over to a new way of working and I’ve found a broader community to work with - and I’m loving that. I hope the energy of that meeting will be carried into the campaigns we plan and the change we make.