Social Action is a core part of the ministry of the Church, as has been the case for millenia. There needs to be integration between our words about God’s love and the way we express this and pass this on in attitudes and actions towards the people and world around us. If we understand that God’s love is for all people and all creation then this needs to be expressed practically.
We find our inspiration in the person of Jesus, both his life and his teaching. Particularly of note is the value he gave to each individual person: his actions and words show that he understood that all have worth and value whether insiders and elite or for various reasons on the margins of society. Christian social action seeks to follow this example.
For churches, a significant expression of this work is often focused on local communities. Many of our churches are already listening to their communities to discern how they can work in partnership with other groups and individuals for the wellbeing of their community. Others are beginning to ask the question about how they can engage more fully with their communities. A particular challenge is to consider how we can ‘be with’ our community in order to do things together, rather than seeking to ‘do things for’ our communities. The former approach takes longer in the planning but has a more lasting impact on a community due to the deep foundations and relationship building. In the following link, Revd Dr Sam Wells advocates ‘being with’ as best practice in community engagement as he explores Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan. Lecture notes.
We are working in close collaboration with the Barnwood Trust’s ‘You’re Welcome’ campaign. This seeks to support anyone, including churches, wanting to become involved in building inclusive community in their local area. They offer a variety of training events which are extremely helpful for churches seeking to reach out in this kind of way and are willing to be invited into conversations with a church wanting to prioritise this area of work. Likewise Cate Williams is also more than happy to visit churches.
In the background of our community engagement are broader societal trends and the socio-political backdrop. Social action at times needs to engage with this broader picture and take action at a national or international level around underlying concerns.
Use the images to explore a particular section and find links to a variety of local support agencies and charities.
How2Help is a Church of England initiative, bringing together as a catalyst current best practice in providing Christian care in local communities with the resources and knowledge needed to multiply those good works across the country over the coming years.