A NEW report and website examining the work of more than 40 community projects run by churches has been launched, in the hope that they will provide ideas for churches looking to carry out community work.
The report, Resourcing Christian Community Action, by Professor Hilary Russell of Liverpool John Moores University, and the website (www.how2help.net) were introduced by the Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, at an event held during the General Synod meeting last week.
The report and website were commissioned after Gavin Oldham, a member of the General Synod and a Church Commissioner, brought a following motion during a Synod debate on the Big Society in 2010, asking the Archbishops’ Council to undertake a feasibility study to build a “best-practice database” of community work that was already taking place (News, 26 November 2010).
Dr Sentamu said that the report was “a good example of the Church of England using its national profile to develop resources for the local church to use in ways only locally based Christians can define and decide”. He said that the Church’s “calling is to build community and neighbourliness with the whole people of the nation”.
Mr Oldham said that the report would be “a mine of information to help local leaders and social entrepreneurs make their initiatives successful. It includes a wide range of support services, access to funding, and help with organising volunteers and administration: all based on a thorough investigation by Professor Hilary Russell over the past year.”
The examples of community projects featured in the report include St Luke the Physician Church and Neighbourhood Centre in Longsight, Manchester. It provides “informal day care . . . for people suffering from stress and living with long-term mental health needs”.
The material also features The Feast in Birmingham, a project that helps young people to meet those from other faiths, in order to foster understanding.
Another project examined in the report is the Kairos Partnership in Hereford, a charity supported by the diocese of Hereford that “works with local faith groups to start and develop projects to help their communities to reduce deprivation”.