Transforming encounters: Relationship, community and power

Chris Hughes, parish priest of St Cuthbert’s & St Joseph’s, North Shields, reflects on his experience of working with two different community organisations.

 Alongside my work as a parish priest, I have been involved with L’Arche UK and Citizens UK. My involvement with these two very different organisations has challenged me to reflect on what we as the Church can learn from their approach to power and relationships.

L’Arche UK

My connection with L’Arche started in the summer of 1995 as an assistant in their ­community in Inverness. For the next thirteen years I had part-time responsibility of being a chaplain to the community, involving three weekly visits a year. Being a university chaplain and then a member of the teaching staff at Ushaw College gave me the flexibility of maintaining this role. Following my return to parish ministry, I became a member of L’Arche UK’s National Reflection Council, which explores theological and pastoral issues at the heart of L’Arche’s identity and mission.

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