Society of St. Columban © St. Columban’s Widney Manor Rd, Knowle, Solihull. West Midlands B93 9AB

Tel. 01564






Missionary Challenges in Britain


In reflecting on the situation in Britain today in the light of Gospel values, we highlight the following missionary challenges which are of special interest to us as Columbans:


· Working for a just society in which the poor and the marginalised are given special attention and all experience the life God intends for the human family;

· Promoting respect for and care of the earth as an imperative of our Christian faith;

· Creating a society in which the migrant and the stranger are treated with compassion and respect for their human dignity, culture and rights;

· Encouraging peoples of different faiths to relate in mutual understanding, respect and tolerance and to cooperate as people of faith in God, wanting to respond together to common human needs;

· Building multi-cultural Christian communities in which all have a sense of belonging and which reach out beyond their boundaries as living signs of the Gospel values they proclaim.

Given our present limitations, we Columbans cannot respond to all these missionary challenges in Britain, but we can make a significant contribution.  Hopefully, as people with cross-cultural experience overseas, we are in a position to keep the global dimension of local challenges in view, to raise awareness of issues elsewhere, and to facilitate the exchange of personnel and resources between the Church in Britain and other local Churches.


There are signs in the Church in Britain today of a growing awareness of the need for change in responding to new circumstances.   For instance, a process of downsizing and restructuring is taking place in many dioceses to meet the pastoral needs of people.  But it would be an exaggeration to say that the Church is becoming completely inward-looking.  The Church is witnessing to the values of Jesus Christ in the wider society.  As Columbans with cross-cultural experience overseas, we can help the Church in its missionary outreach within Britain.  Furthermore, we find evidence of a continuing interest in the Church’s universal mission and a willingness to support it.   We can help in keeping alive and developing the missionary spirit in the Church.  We raise awareness and share experiences of Columban mission in other parts of the world and elicit support for our missionary work.