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13 December 2010

Black and minority ethnic Christians discuss Big Society

Black and minority ethnic Christians discuss Big Society

Minority Ethnic Christian Affairs ( MECA ) hosted the inaugural meeting of the Big Society Forum on Thursday, 9 December, at the London offices of Churches Together in England. 

The Forum was attended by representatives of Black-led Churches and Minority Ethnic communities in England. 

The guest speaker at the event was Rudi Page, CEO, of international development agency RAFFA and member of the Cinnamon Network - a group of executives from Christian organisations involved in community services development and delivery.  The Cinnamon Network recently carried out research that showed that Churches are delivering an estimated 72 million hours of volunteering for social initiatives at over £250 millions of direct funding per annum.

MECA Executive Secretary Bishop Dr Joe Aldred said: "Faith communities in general and Black-led churches and Minority Ethnic Christian communities in particular do 'Big Society' as a way of life.  Social responsibility has long been a core Christian virtue.  And it is vitally important that as the Government encourages local communities to take on more responsibility that minority communities are able to critique the new proposals and collaborate where possible, but always in the interest of the poor, disadvantaged, marginalised and what the Bible calls 'the least of these'."

The Big Society Forum will meet three times during 2011 to raise awareness and promote understanding about the Government's flagship Big Society programme with a particular remit to encourage approaches that reduce inequalities in public and community services. Senior political, civic and religious leaders will be invited to hear from a diverse range of independent and national Black-led Churches and Minority Ethnic Christian communities.

Rudi Page said: "The Big Society Forum has been invited to contribute to a Community Leadership & Empowerment survey that will highlight and measure the impact of Black-Led Churches which through social action are inspiring peaceful, caring and enterprising neighbourhoods."