Our book of the month for September is The Moral Heart of Public Service which has been edited by the Director of the Westminster Abbey Institute, Claire Foster-Gilbert. The book is a collection of essays debating the ethical challenges facing those working in politics, public service and religion and exploring the urgency and practicalities of keeping the moral heart of public service alive. 

The Westminster Abbey Institute was established in 2013 to nurture and revitalise moral and spiritual values in public life, inspire the vocation to public service in those working in Westminster and Whitehall, identify and defend what is morally healthy in their institutions and promote wider understanding of public service.  The Institute draws on Westminster Abbey’s resources of spirituality and scholarship, rooted in its Christian tradition and long history as a place of quiet reflection on Parliament Square.

 As part of this remit, the Institute runs Autumn and Spring programmes which include lectures, dialogues and symposiums on topical and contemporary themes (a number of which are featured in the book “The Moral Heart of Public Service”), a yearly Fellows’ Programme for public servants, and Public Service Seminars which are tailored seminars with Government Departments and other public service institutions.

 The book has many contributors including key members of the Abbey Community such as the Dean of Westminster, The Very Reverend Dr John Hall, the Receiver General, Sir Stephen Lamport, and our Canon Theologian, Canon Vernon White. The book contains seven sections which explore the following topics: Humanizing Hell: Our Restless Conscience and the Search for Peace, Strengthening Moral Courage in Public Life, Building Communities, Idealism and Compromise, The Staying Power of Benedict in Parliament Square, Benedictine Values in Public Life, Reflections: Timeliness and Timelessness.

 The Moral Heart of Public Service is available to purchase online.