New centre building roads between culture and faith



CALGARY - The Centre for Cultural Renewal has existed for two decades with a mission to explain faith to culture and culture to faith. But this year, it joined with think-tank Cardus to become the Cardus Centre for Cultural Renewal.

"Essentially, what (the centre) does is look at issues of faith broadly defined. It's not a denominational organization. It's certainly not an evangelizing organization," said centre director Peter Stockland.

"But it tries to look at the way people's faiths and beliefs impact their ability to function as full and effective citizens."

Stockland was in Calgary on Thursday for the Calgary launch of the centre with Cardus. The centre has a publication called LexView. It also holds an annual Parliament Hill lecture in Ottawa.

"We share so many commonalities with (Cardus) and we take such a similar approach in terms of the need to look at issues of faith in the public square," said Stockland.

Peter Menzies, a senior fellow with Cardus, said Cardus studies "social architecture."

"We're not left. We're not right. We're actually not all that interested in those sorts of definitions," he said.

"We basically work to study and support public intellectuals who are interested in the study of society's key institutions."

Menzies said the organization is "unapologetic" about the fact its intellectual capacities are founded in 2,000 years of Christian thinking. "We don't evangelize in that sense ... We provide a venue for people with an intellectual foundation in Christian thought to participate in public square discussions."

Its website describes Cardus as a think-tank -- an ideas lab for social innovation.

"We build intellectual capacity, social networks and policy alternatives to sustain a wide range of cultural entrepreneurs for the renewal of North American social architecture."

Team members are throughout Canada and the United States, with a home base in Hamilton, Ont.

"The Cardus was a kind of marketplace or public square that took the form of a public street," says the organization's website. "It was the north-south road that connected people in Roman cities to their major public spaces.

"We face a growing gap. Our institutions and cities are connected by high speed networks that move people, products and information with increasing speed. This acceleration has important cultural implications. Cardus conducts research that explores how these changes will redefine our moral and political horizons."


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