MPs last night paid tribute to the selfless service of Christians in their local communities across the UK.
Speaking at a ceremony to honour some of the best Christian social action projects, MP for Cardiff South and Penarth Alun Michael said people motivated by their faith to serve were “absolutely crucial” for their communities and the “bedrock” of the voluntary sector.
“That chain from faith to values, from values to social action has been absolutely essential to the health of the nation over many, many years and I would go further in saying that from social action to politics is also a very necessary step as well,” he said.
Stephen Timms, Labour Vice Chair for Faith Groups, praised the award winners and the “rich profusion” of initiatives tackling social issues that are motivated by a faith in Christ.
He said: “This I think is a very important social movement, one whose significance hasn’t really been understood, but which is really one of the most hopeful developments of our time.
“It is the beauty and profound truth of Christian service that those who serve others find true meaning and purpose and are blessed themselves.”
He added: “Faith is a great starting point for serving your community. It causes you to act in selfless, creative ways for others and we need more of that in Britain today.”
The Faithworks Awards, now in their sixth year, honoured grassroots Christian projects in the areas of youth and children, community inclusion, and health. Scooping top prizes were the Farsley Youth Development Project in West Yorkshire, the East Belfast-based Oasis Caring in Action, and MRBC Parish Nursing.
The awards were hosted by Steve Chalke, Chair of Faithworks, who called on Christians to engage in politics.
He said: “There is a necessary step from faith to social engagement and from social engagement to social justice and from social justice to politics. These things are always linked. What never fits together is faith and apathy.”
Chalke went on to describe real faith as the “Viagra” of the people and praised the award winners as well as those shortlisted for putting their faith into sacrificial action.
He told them: “Thank you for the incredible work you are doing year in year out. It is your faith that pushes you to get out of bed, to make another phone call, to send another email, to constantly give up free time, luxury and leisure to serve other people. It is your faith that pushes you into action.”
MPs celebrate faith in action
Published 09 June 2009 | Maria Mackay