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Bridge building

One of the things that we find ourselves increasingly involved with in Glastonbury is the task of bridge building, between a variety of different organisations. At the moment, it's about making connections between the academic communities and the various people and organisations within the town, and between different faith groups. By the end of this week, I (Liz) will have had two meetings with academics from Exeter and Manchester, and a meeting with a vicar from Bath who has taken over the role of regional interfaith co-ordinator.

I have noted this before, but it is worth saying again, that almost all the links we have with the Christian community have come about as a result of approaches from the Christian community. I know that there are serious issues with approaches taken by some members of the Christian faith, particularly in the US (we marvelled over a friend's 'excommunication' letter last week), but these difficulties are by no means representative of the community as a whole. (I also feel that there are members of the pagan community for whom I'd happily sign up for a return to, say, the ducking stool).

Part of my problem with some of the alternative sections of Glastonbury is that I find a lot of people very close minded and there seem to be a lot of people with chips on their shoulders. Anyone who is in business is written off as a 'bread head.' Academics are ridiculed as being out of touch. The locals are derided as middle class, chavs, or fuddy duddies. It's a shame, because people like the local Masonic groups and the Carnival clubs actually do far more for the town, with a lot less fuss, than many folk who pride themselves on being radical. Going out and talking to people, whether via the Chamber of Commerce or the local churches, has made me realise how much we have in common and how far people are willing to listen and take on new ideas. I've met remarkably little prejudice and a lot of support from - on the face of it - some very unlikely sources. I am by no means the only person who is doing this - the Pilgrim Reception Centre, Abbey House, the Glastonbury churches, and the business community, as well as the various trusts like Chalice Well and, byeond the town, the universities, are very engaged with talking to one another and building connections. Long may this last: it's the sign of a healthy and, dare I say it, genuinely communitarian approach.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 27th, 2011 10:46 am (UTC)
I cheerfully own up to being out of touch with The Crazy. Will that do?
Sep. 27th, 2011 10:48 am (UTC)
Sep. 27th, 2011 10:48 am (UTC)
Sep. 27th, 2011 11:10 am (UTC)
For my own part, I am now working on my Master of Research degree on precisely such Bridge Building.

My work will form the backbone of a Community Archaeology Project which will identify 'stakeholders' and their requirements, and hopefully funding sources. This will be a fairly broad brush, but will form the basis of a PhD, where I would expect to start actually setting up educational facilities and programmes.

This will all require a lot of contact with a broad spectrum of the community, who, to date, have been nothing but co-operative and encouraging.

I'm happy that I can be of use beyond a bag of mugwort or some spellwork advice.....

Oct. 2nd, 2011 12:55 am (UTC)
Good for you, and for the others who want to cooperate.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )