Church says Councils Ignore their Good Work

Today, the Church of England will deliver a report accusing the local government of ignoring the contributions made by faith communities to the cultural life of the country.

At a time when the Government at national level is advocating stronger partnerships between regional authorities and faith communities, the report claims the contribution of Christians has played a major role in promoting voluntary work in Britain’s culture life, and that even the charity culture of the nation would collapse without them. The rate of church attendance in the UK has dropped to 10 percent which has been a great worry to a major Christian country and a burden to many church ministers. However, research has shown that these named “Christians?are twice as likely to do voluntary work as non-churchgoers.

The Right Rev Colin Fletcher, Bishop of Dorchester, a suffragan in the Oxford Diocese says it is not surprising that churches are ignored as they often fail to tell their stories beyond the congregations. However, he stressed, “yet the fact remains that we, as faith communities, are the largest family of voluntary organisations in the Thames Valley, and our involvement in a wide spectrum of cultural activities is second to none.?

He continues, “New bodies in charge of developing cultural and creative industries in the regions have not acknowledged the cultural significance of churches and other faith communities. They pay little regard to national government policy on the issue.?

Earlier in this month, the British Government decided to ask various religious communities for their opinions on local and national policies. A report entitled "Working Together: Cooperation Between Government and Faith Groups" was drawn up at the request of Prime Minister Tony Blair. "Conversations with faith groups will now become a much more normal part of doing business in Britain, just as normal as consultation with businesses or Trade Unions," it claims.

The Very Rev Nicholas Coulton, Sub-Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, says in the report, “Any truthful representation of heritage needs to acknowledge the role of faith in sponsoring and inspiring the building of churches and cathedrals . . . and its flowing out into the community in social work, in education and in hospitals.?

“The part played today by a great army of volunteers deserves to be recognised. A disproportionate number of them come from the churches.?

As a Christian country, the UK is famous for its contribution in charity worldwide. It is the home to many large international Christian organisations such as the YMCA, Salvation Army, the Boys?Brigade, etc.