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Monday, 9 February 2015

Church in Action: National Survey

Last October I provided information to the Church in Action survey about the social issues in the parish of St John's Seven Kings and the ways in which the church is supporting people in the community.

Today, the final report of this survey is being launched with findings which are impressive in showing the scale of Anglican churches' involvement in their local communities, from food banks and parent toddler groups to night shelters and lunch clubs.

'Social action is not an optional side project for the Church; it is core to its heart and mission. The commitment to this calling can be clearly seen in the scale and diversity of activities offered by local churches, ranging from food banks and debt advice, to lunch clubs and fitness classes. Not only do churches offer services that meet specific needs, they also create spaces for people to connect with and get to know others, helping to build stronger and more resilient communities. Over the last few years, there has been renewed recognition of the vital contribution churches make to our society and to the common good. Their presence within communities enables churches to offer holistic and relational support to people who are struggling with different aspects of poverty: a lack of resources, an absence of strong and supportive relationships and/or a poor sense of self-worth. This report reveals the scale and nature of Anglican social action in England. It does not capture the extensive and vital work being done by churches of other denominations. In sharing the results of our recent survey, we are able to highlight and celebrate the contribution that churches are already making to their local communities.

The key findings are:
  • 95% of church leaders believe that tackling poverty in their local area is a vital activity for a healthy church – 59% agree strongly, up from 44% in 2011. Furthermore, the proportion of leaders saying this is a fundamental part of the mission of their church has increased from 44% to 53% in the last three years. 
  • Loneliness is seen as the most significant social problem in local communities – cited by 64% of church leaders – followed by family breakdown, debt, lack of self-esteem and low income. 
  • 87% of churches support people who are experiencing loneliness, either by providing organised activities (46%) or informal help (41%). On average, churches are addressing seven social issues, and a third are tackling nine or more. 
  • The scale of church-based social action is impressive: 76% of churches run activities in local schools, 66% help to run food banks, 60% offer parent and toddler groups and 53% organise lunch clubs or drop-ins.
  • The number of churches involved in running food banks has doubled in the last three years. A fifth of churches are also involved in helping credit unions in some way, a strong show of support for the Archbishop of Canterbury’s initiative.'
The full report and the summary can be downloaded at:


Mavis Staples - In Christ There Is No East Or West.

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