Welcome to CSM Renewal 2007

Welcome to CSM Renewal 2007. This blog is for members of the Christian Socialist Movement who are interested in renewing and changing CSM. In Proverbs it says: "Where there is no vision the people perish" (Prov 29:18). We fear that CSM is perishing from lack of vision, and we need to renew CSM: - Prayerfully restore CSM’s values and objects to the heart of everything it does; - Actively be the prophetic conscience of the Labour Party and a prophetic voice to the churches; - Boldly take a stand against the religious right and campaign to make poverty, social justice and the environment mainstream Christian issues; - Sustainably ensure CSM’s financial security without accepting sponsorship from organisations that compromise our values; - Immediately make CSM fit for purpose and the organisation more democratic, accountable and Christian. Find out more about our new vision for CSM below, and if you like it sign up to CSM Renewal 2007.

Thursday, 18 January 2007

“Where there is no vision the people perish.” [Prov29:18]



CSM in crisis

The Christian Socialist Movement is perishing. Membership is in decline, branches are struggling to recruit members, and the financial situation is bleak. To be sustainable the organisation needs a membership base of at least 2,000 members. The current membership is now less than 1,700. The current officers group and executive committee are aware of this issue and have set a target of recruiting 300 members by the end of 2007.

Despite the best efforts of staff, officers and members, CSM is losing members. In the last eight months 63 new members have been recruited, but 60 have died or left in the same period. On the basis of that trend, it is going to take 66 years to reach the critical target of 2,000 members.

And the membership demographic does not give rise to optimism: almost two-thirds of members are over 50 and half of that proportion is over 70. Many older members are active in CSM, but without a recruitment of younger members CSM will rapidly decline as older members become less active and pass on. Just 8% of members are under 30.

The scale of the task faced by CSM just in order to survive is enormous. For several years CSM has been eating into its reserves to fund its activities, but those reserves are running out and if it continues to do so it will be bankrupt by July 2007. A contingency plan drawn up by the officers group should solve that issue in the short term, but the answer to CSM’s financial problems in the long term is to recruit more members.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

What are you political objects or objectives? Even a movement should hope to bring about historical change in particular people and places.

CSM Renewal said...

Hi - thanks for your comment.

CSM has just undergone a process of reviewing its values and objects.

You can find them here:

Our values

We believe that Christian teaching should be reflected in laws and institutions and that the Kingdom of God finds its political expression in democratic socialist policies.

We believe that all people are created in the image of God. We all have equal worth and deserve equal opportunities to fulfil our God-given potential whilst exercising personal responsibility.

We believe in personal freedom, exercised in community with others and embracing civil, social and economic freedom.

We believe in social justice and that the institutional causes of poverty in, and between, rich and poor countries should be abolished.

We believe all people are called to common stewardship of the Earth, including its natural resources.

Objects

Christian Socialist Movement members pledge themselves to work in prayer and through political action for the following objectives:

A greater understanding between people of different faiths
The unity of all Christian people
Peace and reconciliation between nations and peoples and cultures together with worldwide nuclear and general disarmament
Social justice, equality of opportunity and redistribution economically to close the gap between the rich and the poor, and between rich and poor nations
A classless society based on equal worth and without discrimination
The sustainable use of the Earth’s resources for the benefit of all people, both current and future generations
Co-operation, including the creation of cooperative organisations

The Christian Socialist Movement will:

Promote Christian Socialist values in politics
Encourage Christians to engage in political action to work for a society reflecting our values and objectives
Provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and policies to develop Christian Socialism
Campaign vigorously against all forms of oppression, prejudice and abuse of power
In all our transactions seek to create and sustain a spirit of Christian fellowship and seek the Kingdom of God through deepening knowledge of God.

CSM Renewal and Change Team

Anonymous said...

Christian Socialist Movement - This has got to be the biggest Oxymoron of modern times.

Look at the present government which your organisation has helped to bring about. Implacably opposed to Christianity and seeking to supress it out with a barrage of intolerant legislation.

Given that, it surprises me that any Christian can subscribe to such an organisation. It's no wonder your members are voting with their feet. I look forward to the day when the small number of deluded people who think that Christianity and Socialism are common causes is no more - sounds like it will be quite soon.

CSM Renewal said...

Hi 'anonymous'.

Thanks for your comment (16th Feb 15:24).

Firstly, sorry that you are so angry - CSM has a proud tradition of working for peace in communities and the world, and it sounds like you could do with some peace now to reduce your blood pressure!

In answer to your points, Christian Socialism has a long history of campaigning for the common good and promoting social justice, so in that sense I can see why lots of Christians do, and increasingly will, subscribe to our organisation. Christians have been central to a lot of the major social justice campaigns that CSM and the Labour Government have championed - Make Poverty History being the obvious example.

We in CSM Renewal and Change admit that we have not been as prophetic as we perhaps should have been and are keen to ensure that CSM speaks more boldly, both in support and when appropriate, in opposition to the Labour Government, in line with our values which are rooted in the Gospel.

We would be interested to know which legislation in particular you consider intolerant. What we know is that there are many Christian Socialist MPs and Ministers who are trying to live out Gospel values in politics - and doing their best to bring Kingdom values into reality.

Blessings (and peace!),

CSM Renewal and Change Team.

paul cawthorne said...

How much do people think CSM has been shackled in recent years by the political ambitions of some of its younger office holders leading to a supine understanding of what it means to be a critical friend to those in power?