12 June 2013
Work together to help our local areas flourish, says Sentamu
The Faith in the Community report launched by Christians in Parliament and the Evangelical Alliance on Monday, 10 June, shows the value of churches and other faith groups to local communities across Great Britain. Based on a survey of 155 local authorities, the report reveals the contribution faith groups make, as well as the barriers to engagement.
In his foreword to the report Dr John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, commends faith groups for their unique role in building stronger communities, and encourages local authorities to work together with them rather than just 'tolerating'. The full foreword is available to read below:
"I welcome this report by Christians in Parliament and the Evangelical Alliance looking at strengthening the relationship that our local authorities have with religious communities.
Churches and other religious institutions have a unique role to play in building and developing stronger communities. The Church of England, for example, has a grassroots connection in every community in our country, serving all but especially those in need.
You can tell how healthy a society is by how it treats the most vulnerable. We all have an interest in maintaining and promoting the common good. That attitude should flow out in every area of society, including in our engagement and interaction with the political process.
Too often we forget that those who stand for public office are human just like us. They are members of our community, with an intention to do their best to help our society develop – regardless of which political party they belong to. This is not a 'Them and Us' concept, but a process where we should all work together to help our local area flourish.
Building strong working relationships between local authorities and religious communities should not be based on mere 'tolerance'. It should be about talking, listening, and growing together. Together, working in unity of spirit, we are stronger than when we try to do things in isolation.
I recently had the privilege of being Sponsor of a Fairness Commission in York, during their budget setting considerations, giving independent and informed advice to our local council on how to protect services for those most in need. This was a good example of how those who are motivated by a spiritual care for their neighbour can engage with the political process and work with those democratically elected to give leadership across a city.
I hope that while reading this report you will renew your own personal commitment to encourage and pray for your local authorities, and support the work that is being undertaken to make our country a better, more hopeful, place to live".
Dr John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York
-You can also buy a printed copy of the report. (£5)