Join us as a faith and religious community
Join us as a faith and religious community
Why do faith and religious communities join?
Many churches, mosques, synagogues, temples and other religious organisations choose to be institutional members of Citizens UK. Their membership is an expression of their faith and their commitment to work with other faith and secular communities for social justice and the common good. In Citizens UK people can put their faith into action with integrity, drawing on the inspiration of their faith’s teaching and traditions.
Case study: Citizens Colchester and women-only swimming
In 2017, when Colchester Citizens initiated its first listening campaign and started to ask what change people wanted to see in their community, Hasina Ali and members from the town’s Bangladeshi Women’s Group knew straightaway: they wanted women-only swimming sessions in the local leisure centre.
Britain’s oldest town is also the UK’s fastest growing, and that includes a significant Muslim population. The town’s demographic was changing, but the town’s services hadn’t caught up – and nowhere was this clearer than in the absence of women-only swimming sessions at the local swimming pool. At a Colchester Citizens training Hasina and her colleagues stood up to share the cultural reasons why they needed women-only swimming.
Reverend Caroline Martin, an Anglican curate, and Sue Wood, from the local Methodist circuit, listened to their stories – and heard that women-only swimming sessions were commonplace in other parts of the UK. As they listened more widely, they discovered many other local people who would value women-only swimming – survivors of domestic violence, new mums, and those self-conscious about their body image. Despite not needing the women-only sessions themselves, Sue and Caroline joined Hasina to make women-only swimming Colchester Citizens’ first campaign.
One year, one dramatic public action, and many negotiations later, 90 women and children turned up for the first women-only swim session – many using the facility for the first time. Hasina, Sue and Caroline had experienced the fruits of their first Community Organising win – turning their listening into action for change that made Colchester a more just place for its citizens. They’d learned new leadership skills, and through the improved relationships between Christians, Muslims, and those of other faiths and none, they had contributed to the common good of their town.
We help faith and religious communities to develop leaders
- The Muslim Council of Wales worked with Cardiff Citizens to train young people to negotiate with senior executives at Nando’s, resulting in the first Halal chain restaurant in the city.
- The Diocese of Southwell & Nottingham worked with Nottingham Citizens to train members of local congregations as Mental Health Champions during the Covid-19 lockdown.
- Membership of Greater Manchester Citizens has allowed Rabbi Robyn Ashworth-Steen of Manchester Reform Synagogue leadership development opportunities in actions engaging the Mayor and the Law Commission.
We help faith and religious communities to strengthen their institutions
- Leeds Muslim Youth Group and the Alul Bayt Cultural Centre used membership of Leeds Citizens to identify and train a new generation of young leaders to become trustees.
- St Mary’s Parish Church in Battersea, London, is integrating Community Organising tools into its day-to-day life to become a more relational church.
- Brighton Progressive Synagogue ran an internal listening campaign which galvanised the congregation into successfully campaigning to re-open toilets near the Jewish cemetery.
We help faith and religious communities to win change
- Membership of Tyne & Wear Citizens has helped Newcastle Central Mosque to campaign against Islamophobic hate crime at local and national level.
- Holy Rosary Roman Catholic Church and Roscoe Methodist Church in Leeds ran a listening campaign and won a campaign to make a road outside their buildings safer for the community.
- One Roof Leicester, a homelessness charity supported by local churches, temples, mosques and synagogues, used their membership of Leicester & Leicestershire Citizens to campaign for permanent funding for a Winter night shelter.