The possibility of hope in changing times Powerful forces are reshaping how we live together and at the moment their destructive and divisive potential is very apparent. The banking crisis in 2008 and more recently Brexit and the Election of the new US President have exposed an appetite – perhaps even a desperation – for change, but little clarity on how a better society might emerge, and who might be able to flourish within it. The outlook seems bleak: the economy has not recovered, we are seeing significant rises in hate crime and there is a vague feeling that things are not as they should be, which in turn creates an underlying sense of fear. Maybe, though, as we approach this Advent season, we should try to discern within these changes the possibility for hope. Could it be that what we are actually living through is deep systemic change, a necessary if unsettling step in a journey towards a society and even a world which looks very different –more just, more human, and more equal? WE CAN BE GOOD NEWS IN THESE CHANGING TIMES This is a time when, as well as responding to the voices and needs of the individuals on our doorsteps, we need to be doing what we can to shape the forces that are having such a profound effect on the lives of many of the people we serve. As we reflect on the coming of Christ, perhaps we can take inspiration from the example of freedom, equality, and love that is the life of Jesus, and consider how that might be expressed in our communities creatively at this time. At CUF, we are keen to support and resource you in this. We have this week launched our Common Good Fund which is aimed at offering alternatives to the voices of hate that have become more pronounced in recent months. At CUF, we have been working through our Near Neighbours programme to build connections between different faith communities, encouraging them to work together on local projects aimed at improving life in their neighbourhood. This new programme extends that work across the country, so if you have ideas about activities your church could do to build trust, nurture relationships and work together with others then we would be delighted to hear from you. At CUF we want to support and encourage you so that together we can be Good News in these changing times. It is not words that will lead to the sort of positive change we want to see in our communities but rather action that shows love for neighbour. Please do use us and help us, as we all work together to shape a new future.