Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Fourth Steering group meeting

The Steering Group met tonight and received progress reports from Roy Thomas and Rebecca Edwards on survey preparation. First thoughts about the conference next March were aired, also publicising the enquiry through the media. Mohammed Jabbar gave a useful overview in a brief paper for the group on Muslim Community life in Cardiff, to be found here.

Meeting minutes here

Monday, 20 August 2007

Meeting local Gweini

Roy and Keith met with Jim Stewart, who works for Gweini nationally liaising with the Welsh Assembly Government, and Pastor Paul Hocking a colleague representing the Cardiff area branch of Gweini. It was mostly an occasion for briefing each other about the projects we are engaged in, and discovering how they complement each other. It seems possible that there are areas of mutual interest in which collaboration is not only necessary but possible, and we look forward to involving local Gweini members especially in the end-of-research conference.

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Shaping the enquiry

Meeting today with our project researcher Rebecca Edwards, to look at questionnaire design, and promotion and publicity. 'Becca produced some interesting background research reading material on the diversity of views and attitudes to be found within different religious communities. Stories which might be the basis of particular case studies are beginning to emerge.

We need to encourage steering group members to contribute stories which illustrate both the social contributions made by religious communities, and which illustrate the positive and negative sides of relations between religious groups and agencies of national and local government.

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Extending our public profile

Today the project acquired a second website address, and another blog address which will we hope help to position the work in the public realm, and help draw attention and debate towards the issues of interest with which we are occupied : and the accompanying blog will be places where stories and reports relevant to the subject will be publicly available, and where eventually the project research findings will be made known.

In the course of setting this up, we came across a big Philadelphia based research project backed by the Templeton Foundation, called 'Spiritual Capital' This is examining, on the macro scale the social and economic contribution made by religious communities to society as a whole, as is the Gweini 'Counting our Communities' project in Wales. There is also a database site called which offers all sorts of resources and information from a New Age perspective, a kind of spirituality supermarket - and a valuable contribution to any examination of the religious dimension of life in modern society, which is by no means confined to historic institutions or communities, whether emergent, established or dying.

At the outset our efforts are related to those of the Philadelphia research. Our concern is 'social inclusion' and 'community relations' - but not primarily relationships between religious communities, but rather the relationship of many different institutions of civil society, largely dominated by a secular a materialist management culture, and religious communities across the board, seeking operate, for better or for worse on a different set of values altogether - hopefully 'spiritual' ones

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Blogging the project

Today this brief diary of the project's unfolding existence goes live to the public, through a link on the website.

The next stage will be for others involved to post their work reports, comments, ideas, responses, hot information, and perhaps add case studies, although we may need a separate location for those, for clarity.