04 December 2012
Faith minister praises inspiring Christians
Faith minister Baroness Warsi has praised the work of Christians working for good in their communities.
She was congratulating winners of the Inspire Awards 2012, organised by Inspire magazine in collaboration with the Evangelical Alliance.
The awards are an annual celebration of the work of individual Christians, projects and churches that don't normally find themselves in the limelight but nevertheless provide invaluable services in their communities across the UK.
Baroness Warsi said: "Faith communities make a vital contribution to national life - guiding the moral outlook of many, inspiring great numbers of people to public service and providing support to those in need.
"The participants at these awards are driven by their desire to care for the vulnerable, which is why it is so wonderful that ceremonies like this honour the unsung heroes around the country who make a difference in their communities.
"I know the Christian community holds service to the vulnerable at its core so I am pleased to congratulate all participants at the Inspire Awards 2012."
The judges shortlisted nine entries from the three award categories of Inspiring Individual, Inspiring Project, and Children's and Youth Initiative. Each of these candidates was invited to the reception hosted by Christian MPs in the Houses of Parliament on 29 November.
Mike Hulcoop from Aylesbury won the Inspiring Individual Award for the money management centre he runs from his local church.
He said: "Never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd be standing here in the Houses of Parliament winning an award for helping people with their money problems and I'm really honoured. But this award is also a tribute to our all those who make a brave step when they bring their debt problems to our door and begin that journey of unburdening themselves."
Hope into Action from Northampton won the Inspiring Project Award for its work helping vulnerable adults be integrated back into their communities.
Ed Walker, its founder and director, said: "Standing alongside our tenants, who were formerly homeless, as they rebuild their lives is a humbling, exciting, inspiring and sometimes difficult experience but this award gives us great encouragement that we are doing the right thing.
"It's also a testament to those who've supported our vision of getting the local church to bring its unique gifts to help give a home to some of the most vulnerable people in society."
Martin Dickson collected the Children's and Youth Initiative Award on behalf of Wirral YFC for the work they do to publically affirm 'young heroes' who have been an inspiration to their peers.
He said: "Too few young people get recognised for the amazing things they do in their communities because it too easy to focus on the negatives. This award helps us in our mission to reverse that trend and publically affirm the young people who are an inspiration to the Wirral."
Steve Clifford, general director of the Evangelical Alliance, added: "I am overwhelmed and heartened by hearing how Christian individuals and organisations are doing amazing work in their local communities.
"It was once again an honour to celebrate the community transformation we are so passionate about as Christians."