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20 June 2013

Christians gather at Holyrood to promote ‘Good News for the Poor’

Christians gather at Holyrood to promote ‘Good News for the Poor’

Last week was a big week for Christian social action in Scotland as around 40 church leaders, organisations, local councillors and MSPs met in Holyrood to discuss how government can more effectively partner with the church in deprived communities across Scotland.

The event, organised by Evangelical Alliance Scotland, was a wonderful opportunity to showcase the transformational work churches are already engaged in and give those attending the chance to hear from two inspiring speakers in this field, Andy Hawthorne of the Message Trust and Peter Crory from YMCA Scotland. Both provided an incredible insight into the power of the gospel at work in UK cities.

The event also gave the platform for the Scottish launch of Faith in the Community, with Danny Webster from the Evangelical Alliance's advocacy team bringing together the partnership theme for the MSPs and local authority representatives present. The report in particular has created a real buzz in Scotland with senior government figures requesting copies and local authority officials wishing to discuss the contents in more detail.

This event is part of wider work on poverty and welfare in Scotland, work that will we be developing in the coming months along with partner organisations. It is an area that we believe God is working in at this time in Scotland as churches work to proclaim the gospel in word and action and to see transformation in our neediest communities; and it stems from three core convictions.

Our first conviction is that the gospel compels us to follow Jesus's example; that is perhaps best summed up in Luke 4:18-19. The power of the gospel is for transformation of the whole person meeting spiritual, physical and emotional needs, and in Jesus's ministry we see that as he feeds the hungry, heals the sick and restores the broken, alongside preaching the good news of forgiveness.

Secondly, we believe that Scotland as a nation will be transformed by local churches transforming local communities. We want to encourage each other to meet the needs of those we see around us, emotional and physical, as well as spiritual. To partner with other churches and, where appropriate, other community groups and government, to see lives and communities truly transformed.

And thirdly, there is a massive need. In communities across Scotland broken lives and broken families are leading to broken communities. In an age of austerity, the Church is doing (and must do) what it always does, picking up the pieces and supporting the most vulnerable, as food banks, debt advice services and a host of other support services testify. There has never been a greater time for the church to be the solution to some of Scotland's biggest social problems, and in doing so point people to the one who is truly the answer to their deepest needs.

Notes

For a copy of Faith in the Community report please click here - www.eauk.org/faithinthecommunity

We are currently collating a map of community projects being run by Christians across Scotland.  Please contact us with details of your project at n.slevin@eauk.org or call the Evangelical Alliance Scotland office on 0141 548 1555.