Three Weeks with CSM
As a left-minded, politically interested Christian I had followed the Christian Socialist Movement from a distance for a few years. Last winter I had the thought of combining my long University holidays with some work experience. Spending some time at CSM offered the chance to dip my toe a little further into the realm of politics, specifically the sphere in which Christianity and politics combine. CSM were extremely welcoming of my enquiry and we soon arranged a couple of weeks work experience in the London office, followed by a few days assisting with CSM's fringe events at Labour Party Conference in Manchester.
I left home with some trepidation about whether I would be able to cope with the coal-face of politics, but my fears were quickly eased by everyone at the CSM, who welcomed me straight away. My time in the office was spent doing an array of tasks, from reconciling bank statements to practising public speaking, and praying with other Christians involved in politics to printing and folding hundreds of orders of service for the 50th
anniversary conference church service. It was amazing to be able to get involved with the day-to-day running of a small organisation with such huge, God-given ambitions. While not all the tasks were glamorous, every single one of them was worthwhile, important and along the way I had the chance to meet many fascinating people and find out about their story and their politics.
My overriding thought from my time in London is what a privilege it is for the CSM to be able to work out of Labour Party headquarters. I knew this was the case before I arrived, but it only struck me how incredible this is during my time there. Part of me was expecting to be tucked away in a side room somewhere but that is not the case at all; our space is right in the centre of the office and I feel there’s something really significant in that.
Being involved in Labour Party Conference was fantastic, especially because it came at such an exciting time for the party with the election of the new leader. By the time we arrived in Manchester, I already felt like a valued member of the team, and was able to get stuck into all the CSM events whilst soaking up everything else that was going on in and around central Manchester. It was such a relief to see that the incredible amount of hard work that had gone into the preparations was worth it as lots of people came, engaged in and enjoyed the events. Whilst my Mum’s highlight was hearing me on Radio 4 (after being interviewed at the pilot project of the Labour Neighbours initiative), mine was attending the Future Leaders event, where I was heard a variety of Christians talk about their different political journeys amongst a group of predominantly younger people. It really does seem like there is a movement building of Christians applying their faith in the public sphere, and that was great to see firsthand.
Overall, my time at the CSM was amazingly rewarding from start to finish. It really opened my eyes to politics in a new way and gave me the chance to meet and learn from a rich variety of people whose love for Jesus and heart for politics were fused inseparably together. I would highly recommend anyone else in a similar position to get involved first hand if you can – CSM will welcome you, stretch you and use your gifts to advance a movement to glorify God in and through politics. Don’t miss out!
(Author: Simon Watkinson
Articles in this group
Bring God's Kingdom Here
Rosie writes about what brought her to CSM and what she thinks we're doing now. (Author: Rosie Colthorpe)
Volunteering with the Christian Socialist Movement
Zoe writes about her experience at the Labour Party conference and why she decided to volunteer for the CSM. (Author: Zoe Hart)
A point of view: faith and politics
An article from Christina Grant, a recent volunteer, about what brought her to CSM. (Author: Christina Grant)
The Heartbeat Of A Movement
A summary of Sam's time spent interning with CSM. (Author: Sam Brown)
The Real Politics
Read Charlies' account of volunteering with CSM in 2010 (Author: Charlie Baughen)
Being Thrown in at the Deep End
Read about Esther's time at CSM (Author: Esther Barlow)
Read Tom's thoughts on volunteering with CSM (Author: Tom Warnett)
A Volunteer Blog
Read Grace's account of her time with CSM (Author: Grace Vanstone-Hallam)
Volunteering for CSM (Author: )