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The Jubilee Group

The Jubilee Group is a loose network of socialist Christians who stand mainly within the Catholic Tradition of Anglicanism, We began in 1974 as a support group for left-wing priests in the East End of London and, over a number of years, grew into a national and international network within the 'Catholic Left'. Historically, our antecedents are groups such as the Guild of St Matthew (1877), the Catholic Crusade (1916), and the League of the Kingdom of God (1922) but, while we look to tradition and the movements of the past for inspiration and nourishment, we seek to relate Catholic social theology to the issues of the 21st century.

We have no membership, simply a mailing list and local groups, and all our literature is 'anti-copyright' that is, anyone is free to reproduce it without permission.Our organization is minimal -- an annual meeting and an executive -- with the maximum amount of freedom and flexibility. We are a tendency rather than an organisation. There is an important anarchist tradition within the network which produces both a chaotic feel and an ability to adapt quickly. It also leads on occasion to exaggerated claims by others; thus a briefing to Mrs Thatcher on movements of subversion within the churches in 1980 described us as 'the best-known and probably the most influential of these groups'.

We see that the centre of gravity in the Christian world has shifted and that neither the divisions nor the areas of convergence/alliance between Christians any longer run along the old confessional lines. Thus we have found that on many issues we have more in common with the liberation thinkers in the Roman Church or with Mennonites or with the evangelical radicals from Sojourners -- or with non-Christians -- than we have with other Anglo-Catholics. So we are strongly committed to alliances including those with non-Christian socialists. We are uneasy at the 'churchy' aspects of much radical Christianity and are committed to our work outside the church structures. At the same time we feel that a deeply rooted Catholic theology and spirituality is essential to us for the sustenance and nourishment of radical action, and are highly critical of liberalism and of the theological reductionism in many 'liberal' Christian circles. We have a strong sacramental thrust and are very strongly socialist, so 'sacramental socialists' would be a good description of our position.

The history and current thinking of the group is contained in Who Will Sound the Trumpet? The Jubilee Group and the Future of the Left (1994, £ 4).

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