Highlights from 2018

by St Pauls Institute

Posted: 20 Dec 2018

With Christmas and the New Year fast approaching we wanted to spend some time reflecting on some of the highlights of 2018.

This year has been one of significant change for St Paul's Institute as we moved under the leadership of the Canon Pastor and as we bid a fond farewell to Barbara Ridpath after four years as the Institute's Director in May. As part of these changes we have broadened our mission to encompass some of the Cathedral's social justice work, speaking out as a voice for those who are most vulnerable. While we remain committed to the City of London and engaged with the financial community in our locality, we know we can't ignore matters of social injustice wherever and however they present themselves. Our hope is that the Institute continues to be a safe place where all are welcome and all are heard.

Our main focus this year has been our Democracy and the Common Good series, thinking about how a common good approach could help us to shape a society which better reflects the values of the people in it. In March, we published a paper by Adrian Pabst 'Democracy and the Common Good: A Common Good Approach to Free Movement of People and Capital' and launched the project with a public debate under the Dome of St Paul's with Harvard Philosophy professor Michael Sandel. With 90 students from across the country, Sandel helped us to explore ideas of citizenship and the question of 'who is my neighbour?' You can watch this fascinating discussion here or listen to the BBC Radio 4 recording here.

We continued the Democracy and the Common Good series through the summer with a second public event with Sociologist Richard Sennett and the Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees, looking at cities and how we live together in community. In November, we hosted our final event of the year in partnership with Christian Aid and brought together a panel of experts in economics, business, social metrics and theology to discuss ways to track, measure and celebrate human flourishing and ask if GDP is a successful measure of growth around the world. We are looking forward to continuing the Democracy and the Common Good series in to 2019.

In May we published a report looking at Executive Pay as part of the project 'Fair Pay for Fair Work', a report kindly sponsored by Friends Provident Foundation. As part of this research we hosted a number of roundtable discussions and from these conversations developed five clear policy recommendations on how to make executive pay more transparent and more just.

2018 has also seen us working in partnership with Theos think tank on a project 'Forgive us our Debts'. The project seeks to examine debt in the UK at the personal, corporate, and government levels and engage with the main areas of concern within a theologically-informed moral framework. Our research included hosting roundtables with those directly involved in debt at the various levels to ensure we addressed the key issues and interpreted the topic appropriately. Since then we have been working on the report which will be released in the New Year with our launch event taking place on the 30 January at St Paul's Cathedral. You can register for tickets here.

We have also been delighted to work with a number of amazing organisations and host events with Capital Mass, The Canon Collins Trust, The Finance Innovation Lab and Girls Talk London. These events have allowed us to build on important partnerships, working together to make change in our communities.

It has been a fantastic year and we would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support of the Institute. We hope you have a very Happy Christmas and we look forward to seeing you at an event in the New Year.

About this author

St Paul's Institute seeks to foster an informed Christian response to the most urgent ethical and spiritual issues of our times: equality, stewardship, and the meaning of the common good.