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Cameron affirms partnership with Church

Paul Handley

by Paul Handley

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 @ 01:48

Crown Copyright

Click to enlarge

Ministerial group: the Prime Minister with (left to right) the Ven. Dr Jane Hedges, the Rt Revd Kay Goldsworthy, and the Ven. Christine Hardman last week

Credit: Crown Copyright

Ministerial group: the Prime Minister with (left to right) the Ven. Dr Jane Hedges, the Rt Revd Kay Goldsworthy, and the Ven. Christine Hardman last week

A CONFIDENT Church is a "vital partner" in the care of the nation, the Prime Minister writes in this week's Church Times.

In a remarkably candid article, David Cameron defends his Government's welfare record: "I sometimes feel not enough is made of our efforts to tackle poverty." At the same time, he praises the charitable work done by the Church and other faith-based groups:

"I welcome the efforts of all those who help to feed, clothe, and house the poorest in our society. For generations, much of this work has been done by Christians, and I am proud to support the continuation of this great philanthropic heritage in our society today."

Mr Cameron notes that faith has been "the driving force behind some of the most inspiring social-action projects in our country". Referring to the recently announced grants of £20 million for cathedrals, and £8 million for the Near Neighbours project, he writes: "In being confident about our Christianity, we should also be ambitious in supporting faith-based organisations to do even more."

For the Government's part, he writes, "it is through the dignity of work, the reforms to welfare that make work pay, and our efforts to deliver the best schools and skills for young people, that our long-term economic plan can best help people to a more secure future."

Echoing his address to church leaders and Christian activists in Downing Street last week, Mr Cameron gives a robust defence of Christianity against the complaints of secularists. "Some people feel that in this ever more secular age we shouldn't talk about these things. I completely disagree.

"I believe we should be more confident about our status as a Christian country, more ambitious about expanding the role of faith-based organisations, and, frankly, more evangelical about a faith that compels us to get out there and make a difference to people's lives."

It is a deeply personal piece. Mr Cameron writes that the Church of England, of which he is a member, "really" matters to him. "I like its openness, I deeply respect its national role, and I appreciate its liturgy, and the architecture and cultural heritage of its churches."

Referring obliquely to the death of his son Ivan, he writes: "I have felt at first hand the healing power of the Church's pastoral care." And he talks of the "countless hours" spent by his parents supporting and maintaining the village church next to which he grew up.

Read the Prime Minister's comment 

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