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The Heimat Project

Heimat project aims to foster an exchange between English and German speakers on questions of belonging and citizenship. It involves academics in theology and ecology, practitioners in regeneration and landscape architecture and those with commitments to place among communities of the faithful in the Christian churches in the UK and Germany.

This is a project inspired by research on sustainability and belonging carried out by Professor John Rodwell for the MB Reckitt Trust. It is based at the Lincoln Theological Institute at Manchester University where he is an Honorary Research Fellow.

The first meeting of the Heimat project was held at the Lincoln Theological Institute on 6 February 2009 and preparations are now in hand for a conference in 2010. Updates on the project will appear on www.manchester.ac.uk/heimat.


A renewed interest in the theology of place has moved away from narrower preoccupations with sacred space to a wider engagement with ideas of how people of faith belong in the world, and what the particularities of geography have to do with redemption. In such a light, belonging is about mutual entanglements of necessity and freedom that are negotiated by people in place.

Meanwhile, research by landscape ecologists has shown how difficult it is for current planning processes in the UK to incorporate multifunctional notions of place that integrate social and economic concerns with wider understandings of environment and culture. In particular, interpretations of place and belonging in the regeneration of post-industrial landscapes are very material and shallow. ‘Securing the Future’ (as the UK government calls sustainability) takes little account of the often contested histories of places, and the price people have paid to live their lives there.

Similar concerns about regeneration and sustainability have been raised in Germany where the term that expresses ‘belonging’ is Heimat. The original meaning of this is ‘home ground’ but over a millennium the idea has acquired a rich variety of resonances. After its suborning by National Socialist ideology, Heimat is now attracting new interest, in the environmental realm as well as in film, theatre and literature.

Heimat is fundamentally about a place where you know who you are and that you belong. There is often an implied measure of reciprocal gift and acceptance between person and place and in a more dynamic perspective, Heimat can be permanently appropriated in a way that articulates social change. This circle of thinking has recently been completed by theological reflection on Beheimatung as an essential process in social construction, the planning process and the salvation of built environments.

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Welcome to the MB Reckitt Trust

THE MB Reckitt Trust (formerly the Christendom Trust) is

  • a UK registered charity (No. 262394)
  • a grant-giving trust that funds projects concerned with Christian social thought and action
  • an organization that takes initiatives and holds consultations on topics of Christian and social concern.

The aim of the Trust is to promote researches and activities that evaluate and develop social structures, processes and attitudes in order to release energies for change, from the perspective of Christianity.

Trustees are currently wanting to encourage work that supports the following outcome:

Being and building communities that are diverse and cohesive, in order to bring about a stronger society

Within this theme the Trust will prioritize applications focused on:

  1. Constructive communication and understanding between Christianity and the other principal faith traditions;
  2. People of faith engaging in social and political issues;
  3. Shared social action in plural settings;

The Trust will continue to focus its support on thoughtful/qualitative action research that can release energies for change, i.e. producing application and understanding that goes beyond the people or the project involved.

Since its funds are small, the Trust does not fund core activities, nor buildings, bursaries, but seeks to support work that has an element of research and innovation, with the likelihood of wider dissemination, replication or policy change.

With increasing competition for scarcer funds, the Trustees' strategy is to support work where their funding will make the largest difference. Grants rarely fall outside the £500-£10,000 range. The total number of grants will therefore be few, and predominantly awarded within the UK and Ireland. Grants may be given in association with other charities, if this is a means of achieving the Trust’s aims. The Trust prefers not to collaborate in quasi-governmental action research.

Applications for Funding

PLEASE NOTE! Due to the Coronavirus emergency, the Trustees will not be allocating grants in 2020.

As soon as the situation is clearer, we will post future plans here.

We apologise sincerely to all potential applicants, and wish them, and all current beneficiaries, well in these difficult times.

Trust Accounts

The latest published accounts for the trust can be viewed here.