Holistic Mission: Social action and the Church of England
New ResPublica report argues that the Church must become an enabling institution focussed on holistic, interpersonal and local social action.
Local government and churches should
work together to fight deep-seated poverty and social dysfunction, urges a new report from ResPublica.
· The Church promotes social
of Anglican congregations formally volunteer compared with only 49% of the
general public. 90% of church congregations informally volunteer compared to
54% of the general public.
· The Church is hyper-local: 90% of Anglican
volunteers are participating in social action within 2 miles of their home –
and 88% travel under 2 miles to attend church.
· Belief drives volunteering,
but volunteers don’t proselytise: 61% of Anglican volunteers
strongly agreed they were motivated by their faith - but 88% are comfortable
helping those with different beliefs or values.
· But the Church can’t do it alone: 89% of volunteers agreed that their work was needed to compensate for poor government services.
"Institutions are crucial to
brokering the future of a country. Without both enabling and mediating institutions
that leverage people into education, skills and shared prosperity, a nation
Based on these powerful revelations about the Church’s role in civil society the report makes a series of powerful recommendations for both Church and Government:
· The Cabinet Office should
create a Unit to help involve the church in public service delivery, and to
help explore alternative models of delivery.
· The Cabinet Office should
bring forward a new White Paper to investigate a holistic and personalised
vision of public service.
· The Church should
set up a Social Action Unit to co-ordinate social action across dioceses and
between Church and government.
· This Social Action
Unit should in turn oversee the creation of diocesan Social Action
Teams to work with community groups and local government to tackle local
problems and deliver services.
· The Church
Commissioners, Church of England Pensions Board and CCLA should
set aside a certain percentage of the returns on their investment to invest
in church-based social ventures.
· Local Churches should make use of the ‘community right to buy’ and the Public Services (Social Value) Act to help communities retain and expand their assets.
The report highlights innovative
examples of new and expanding church-based social ventures and the emerging
social investors taking up the opportunity to create great social impact
Tom Jackson, Chief Executive of Resurgo Social Ventures, said:
"Local churches are distinctive in their geographic spread across the country, their commitment to social service and their ability to catalyse a local network of volunteers. Churches therefore provide a critical platform for deep social transformation and could generate even greater social impact with bolder vision, resourcing and leadership."
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