‘Everything you are is your community…’

Click the heading to this post to hear the great Scottish human ecologist, author, social activist, campaigner and Quaker, Alastair McIntosh, passionately evoking the essence of KAN’s work in rekindling community. He addressed the packed main tent of the wonderful Keynsham Music Festival in 2014 at the invitation of Keynsham Action Network (KAN) through our sustainability group, Live Simply. The introduction is from the irrepressible Dr Phil Hammond and McIntosh’s wife, Verene Nicolas, also spoke at the event.

Things are as they are now, he suggested, only because we are quiescent and do not demand better and more ethical outputs from the politicians who represent us and from the banks and corporate world which rule so much of our lives.  An engaged and determined community need not accept the status quo, and has every right and indeed responsibility to insist on a fairer, more just and caring environment for all.

On the Saturday afternoon Alastair led a social activism workshop at Chewton Church for a group of those engaged with community and social justice issues in and around the town.  Sharing views, stories and lessons from each other on matters affecting the disadvantaged and excluded in our society proved a powerful and compelling learning experience, which will have a lasting impact on those involved and the work they can do to promote the interests of those in need.

Finally, on Sunday morning, Alastair gave the sermon at Chewton’s Eco-Church service – and it was a sermon that will live long in the memory of those privileged to be there.  Developing the theme of seeking moments of calm in busy, troubled lives, Alastair drew on St Mark’s Gospel and the examples of Jesus’s Temptation in the Desert and the Feeding of the 5000.  Speaking around sub-themes of temptation, obedience and chastity, Alastair was at once both erudite and utterly accessible.  It was an exceptional tour de force at the climax of a quite extraordinary, charismatic and catalytic weekend.

Alastair Singleton

Below is a longer edit of the McIntosh address.