The Director's thoughts... From a field

I am writing to you from a field in deepest Somerset.

It has been an incredible 24hrs at this Christian festival. Yesterday I had the privilege of facilitating our chair Jonny Reynolds MP as he took part in a series of seminars with festival-goers and meetings with strategic church and NGO leaders. Then in the evening it was an inspiring thing to see Christians on the Left member and elected mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees making a huge impact on the crowd of 6,500 from the mainstage.
He spoke of how he is partnering with the churches and other faith groups of Bristol to bring transformation to that city. He told a story that crystallised our desire to link policy and lifestyle, sharing how he had welcomed a homeless man into their City Hall, causing eyebrows to be raised by his staff!
It has been a privilege to watch politics and especially the politics of the left making a journey from extra-curricular church activity to more mainstream endeavor. At this crucial time in the history of our nation Christians on the Left is enjoying a higher profile in the church and getting to places it simply never got to before. But there is much further we need to go.
All week we have been training enthusiastic Christians from every age group for political engagement. The political present is precarious but interacting with this group I cannot help but believe the future is bright.
With the jaw-dropping levels of Christian social action occurring there is a large appetite for involvement, yet people need a hefty helping hand to actually get involved. That’s where we come in.
Andy Flannagan, Director CotLI also sit here reflecting on how many emails and letters I have written in my time as Director of Christians on the Left. My unhealthily curved neck and creaking fingers bear testimony to them. With every single one I have been blown away by the response from you as members. Ours is not a passive movement. I am proud that we are a place for conversation and dialogue, as we grapple with how to offer our values as a gift to wider society. 
Last week was a seminal moment for many of us who have made the case for a financial transaction tax for so many years. To be there as John McDonnell endorsed the thinking and plans of Prof Avinash Persaud was a proud moment. It shows that sometimes when you go and on about the right thing for long enough, it just might happen. But again the wider job of persuading the public on our economic arguments is far from done. 
I have never been as motivated and enthused about Christians on the Left as in this last week. The importance of what we do has been underlined to me again - whether in significant one-to–one conversations in parliament with our member MPs, a very positive chat with Jeremy Corbyn, the encouragement of speaking with happy participants on our mentoring scheme, or the enthusiasm of a meeting in Tower Hamlets where many Christians gathered to worship, pray and consider a political calling, to name but a few.
You may be guessing from the tone of this email however that I have also known for some time that for the sake of the health of any organisation, leaders shouldn’t hang around for an inordinate amount of time. I’m in year 9 of my role, and year 11 of this work being the prime driver of my working life. I never thought I would use this phrase, but I strongly suspect that it is time to pass the baton to someone who will be able to take things further and deeper on the next leg. In fact I thought those things back at the start of the year and promised as much to my wife, but a certain Mrs. May called an election, and I didn’t want to leave CotL in the lurch at that point! I am really looking forward to spending more time with my kids, Jesse and Jubilee before they disappear to school.

Andy Flannagan, Director CotLI have loved this job and still love this job, and it has been a huge privilege, so thank you so much for all your kindness and support during this time. There will be plenty more to share in terms of encouragement and reflections, but that will come in due course. I met with Jonny Reynolds to share this news and through communication with the executive’s employment sub-group, already I am confident that they will operate an efficient and timely recruitment process, with which I will gladly help as much as is required. To enable a smoother transition I will be hanging around to make sure that our conference work happens successfully and to bed in the new director. 

And please know that I will not be departing the scene. I will still be helping the cause wherever and whenever I can. This is underlined by the fact that I will hopefully be undertaking some work for Christians in Politics which has always and will hopefully continue to directly benefit our work.

I am stepping down from my role confident in the faith, talent and ability of an excellent executive team and the infectious passion of a new generation of Christians on the Left. Can I ask that we all take some time to pray for wisdom for the employment sub-group and the executive at this time. Let’s also pray for a new season of greater fruitfulness and influence.

As the floor of the central lobby at Westminster cries out, “Unless the Lord builds the house the workers labour in vain.”


With huge thanks,




[To see the job advert, please click here.]

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published this page in News 2017-08-11 12:45:21 +0100