26 August 2010
Churches unveil Big Society benefits
Christians have been taking 'Big Society' stories of community transformation to Downing Street this week, with the message that Churches are already forming an integral part of Government plans to see lasting change in Britain, despite cut-backs.
A letter was delivered to the Prime Minister this Tuesday unveiling the Evangelical Alliance's Square Mile initiative, a resource which has been equipping churches to demonstrate care and support for those who are struggling in their square mile radius.
The letter was delivered by Director of the Evangelical Alliance, Steve Clifford, Mandy Ogunmokun from Transform Network of Churches, Tim Bissett, CEO of the Church Urban Fund and Sarah Richards, Director of The Gap Project at Cornerstone Church in Swansea, along with a copy of a Square Mile DVD.
Square Mile shows the work organisations such as The Gap in Swansea are doing by offering opportunities to young people by helping them find work. The Square Mile DVD features an interview with Craig, who shares his story of being involved in social disturbance, anti-social behaviour and truanting before achieving good qualifications and a new attitude to life during a 9-month course at The Gap. He attributes his new life to the intervention of the project, "they saved me basically" he says.
Sarah Richards, Director of The Gap Project at Swansea's Cornerstone Church said: "The Gap has won several awards including The Lord Mayors Community Regeneration Award for most outstanding contribution to community regeneration in the City & County of Swansea."
Mandy Ogunmokun from Transform Network of Churches was a long-term heroin addict before a fellow drug addict became a Christian and took her to Church. After adopting a Christian faith Mandy gave up drug addiction. She now works with vulnerable women in prison and for a charity; 'Treasures out of Darkness,' finding half-way houses for vulnerable women. Mandy said: "There's no high like the Most High. I got hooked to Jesus and my greatest desire now is to draw close to him."
Steve Clifford, General Director of The Evangelical Alliance said: "The Square Mile initiative encourages Christians to let their faith impact all of their lives - including caring for those around them. It highlights the work the churches are already doing on the ground, serving their communities and making a positive impact, particularly for those who might fall through the cracks in society.
"We are thrilled that the Government has recognised the good work of local churches and organisations and would hope that the Square Mile resources would re-energise their work."
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Notes to Editors
The Evangelical Alliance
We are the largest and oldest body representing the UK’s two million evangelical Christians. For more than 165 years, we have been bringing Christians together and helping them listen to, and be heard by, the government, media and society. We’re here to connect people for a shared mission, whether it’s celebrating the Bible, making a difference in our communities or lobbying the government for a better society. From Skye to Southampton, from Coleraine to Cardiff, we work across 79 denominations, 3,500 churches, 750 organisations and thousands of individual members. And we're not just uniting Christians within the UK – we are a founding member of the World Evangelical Alliance, a global network of more than 600 million evangelical Christians. For more information, go to www.eauk.org.