USING THE PASTORAL
CYCLE TO MOBILISE
CHRISTIANS
10th Annual Conference
Bradford
12th April 2013
Outline of workshop
• Biblical reflection on the pastoral cycle
• Overview of the pastoral cycle
• Application of the See-Judge-Act method to housing
justice
• Group discussion
Biblical reflection
• Nehemiah 1
• Reflect on the following elements of Nehemiah’s
movement from information to action:
Social location
Social analysis
Spiritual/faith response
Risk analysis and action
What is the Pastoral Cycle?
• A flexible framework that can be been used for pastoral,
academic or community action purposes.
• Known variously as the pastoral circle, pastoral cycle or
pastoral spiral.
• The moments are known as:
• experience or contact;
• social analysis or simply analysis (including ecclesial);
• theological reflection or reflection;
• and pastoral planning or response.
• Not a closed circle: action leads to a new reality/
experience to the examined.
Four Questions
What is
happening?
How shall
we
respond?
Why is it
happening?
Experience
Analysis
Response
Theological
Reflection
What does it
mean?
Holistic engagement
• This method is holistic, engaging our heads, hearts and
hands . It touches on the cognitive or intellect, as well as
affectivity and the effective or deliberative.
• Experience and analysis help us to achieve better
understanding – using our heads
• Immersion or contact in the experience moment can also
help us get in touch with feelings – using our hearts
• Theological reflection helps us to get in touch with deeper
values – aligning our heads and our hearts with the will of
God
• Planning for improved responses to issues and situations
– using our hands
Experience

Start with the data of
human experience.

Describe the problem:
◦ What is the lived
experience?
◦ What is happening to
people?

Are we listening to the
people most directly
affected?

Can we / do we share
their experience? Do we
need to undertake
exposure / immersion?
New Experience …
Evaluation
Experience
Response
Analysis
Theological
reflection
Analysis
New Experience …

Investigate the reality in a
systematic and analytical way:

What are the causes of the
issue or situation? (These
may be historical; political;
economic; social or cultural)

What are the consequences?

How are these elements
linked?

Who are the key actors?
(subjects; duty bearers;
agents of influence; decision
makers)
Evaluation
Experience
Response
Analysis
Theological
reflection
Response
Draw on reason, human
knowledge and tradition:


What should individuals,
parishes, groups &
agencies, the
diocese/broader Church
do?
New Experience …
Evaluation
Experience
Does our action include:
- Service of the poor or
marginalized
- Education or
awareness raising
- Advocacy &
transformation of
causes
- Faith formation?
Response
Analysis
Theological
reflection
Theological
Reflection



Reflect on the situation or issue
in the light of the Gospel and
Church teaching:
Are Gospel values being upheld
or denied?
How do the Scriptures speak to
this issue or situation?
New Experience
…
Evaluation
Experience

How do the principles of our social
justice teaching speak to this
issue or situation?

What does our theological
tradition have to say about it?
Can the experience of the
Christian community through time
help us to discern this situation or
issue?

Response
Analysis
Theological
reflection
Getting started
• We can start with whatever information is available to us.
• Making modest responses based on what we do know
and understand can help us to avoid ‘analysis paralysis’.
• Our responses can continue to deepen as we evaluate
our actions, gather more knowledge & experience, and
analyse and reflect upon it.
Reflection leading to renewed action
• Our response will never be perfect or complete.
• We need to evaluate our action and critically examine our
methods.
• Has our action led to some change in the situation,
ourselves, or our understanding of the situation?
• What is happening now?
About Housing Justice
National Christian organisation:
• Christian voice on housing and homelessness
• Helping churches help homeless people
• Raising awareness of issues & solutions
• Encouraging partnership &
speaking up for church action
Membership organisation – please join us!
Words from the Holy Father
“A house is much more than a simple roof over
one’s head. The place where a person creates
and lives out his or her life, also serves to
found, in some way, that person’s deepest
identity and his or her relations with others.”
John Paul II Introduction to What Have You Done To Your
Homeless Brother? 1988
Homelessness: who is without a
home?
•2,300 – 7,500 Rough sleepers
•53,000 + Households in Temporary Accommodation
•400,000+ Hidden homeless people
•1.84m Households on Local Authority waiting lists
•655,000 Overcrowded households
•Migrants, asylum seekers & refugees
•Travellers
Headline causes of homelessness
 financial problems
 thrown out
 relationship breakdown (involving domestic
abuse)
 end of shorthold tenancy
 Alienation, mental distress, drugs, alcohol
 Institutions e.g. care, prison, armed forces
 Migration
 Lack of affordable housing – and getting
worse
Street lifestyle?
• Complex needs
• Relationships
• Expression of non-conformity
• Rejection of society, materialistic values
• People find solidarity in shared adversity
• But.. no one starts off in life with the ambition to be
homeless!
Judging
from
Scripture
• Leviticus 25:35
•
•
•
•
If your brother becomes impoverished and cannot support himself in the
community, you will assist him as you would a stranger or guest, so that
he can go on living with you.
Deuteronomy 15:11
Of course there will never cease to be poor people in the country, and
that is why I am giving you this command: always be open handed with
your brother, and with anyone in your country who is in need and poor.
Isaiah 58:6-12
Is not this the sort of fast that pleases me: sharing your food with the
hungry and sheltering the homeless poor;
Matthew 25:31-46
As you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family,
you did it to me.
Matthew 22:1-14
He saw there was a man who had no wedding garment ... and the king
said to the attendants, “Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the
outer darkness...” For many are called, but few are chosen
Tensions..
• Church mission vs. local authority strategy
• Ending rough sleeping
• Funding and Commissioning outcomes
• Tougher enforcement
• Undocumented, No Recourse to Public Funds,
asylum seekers and refugees
• Homeless new CEE citizens e.g. Polish
• Reconnections
Critique of church action..
(from some local authorities and larger
homelessness agencies)
1. Uncoordinated action is ineffective, counter
productive. Soup runs
2. Collusion in unhealthy and anti-social lifestyles
e.g. drugs/alcohol
3. Limited capacity to address real needs e.g.
mental health, addiction, trauma
4. Limited awareness of other services.
Time for action?
• Challenge (and be challenged by) the concepts of
•
•
•
•
deserving and undeserving; cooperative and
uncooperative; vulnerability & boundaries
Be informed
Ease the pain
Increase housing supply
Pray
We’re here to help...
• Support, advice & consultancy to churches and others involved
in action on housing and homelessness
• Newsletters, Events, *Free e-news*
• Forums for Night Shelters, Soup Runs & Christian practitioners
• Training for volunteers & project coordinators
• Toolkits to help you set up a Night Shelter, a Mentoring &
Befriending project or develop housing
• Fundraising through Poverty & Homelessness Action Week
• Brokering relationships with Local Authorities
For reflection and discussion
• How do you currently go about your work for social
justice? Does your way of working touch on the main
elements of the Pastoral Cycle?
• What are the critical elements in determining Christian
action as part of our whole life discipleship in our
communities?
Contact
Alison Gelder
Director
Housing Justice
020 3544 8094
[email protected]
@AmbrozineW