Rev Canon Dr Ellen Loudon, Director of Social Justice is looking to change that. She tells us,
“One of our priorities over the next few years is to find ways to ensure that the remarkable individual and church community ‘bigger difference’ stories from right across our area are told. Then people will see the way we are changing the world for the better through our actions.
We want to understand the positive impact churches are having on their communities and the amazing work each of you does to bring God’s justice to the world.”
Over the next couple of months, the Church of England and Church Urban Fund will be asking for information. The first of these surveys is the ‘Church in Action’ survey.
If you are an incumbent you should have received an invitation to participate, please would you complete this survey. If you haven’t received an invitation please let Ellen know.
The information gathered will not only help us understand the work you’re doing but also will enable us to make informed decisions about resourcing and supporting this work. The deadline for survey completion is October 13th, 2017.
The reason why this information is so important is highlighted in a major research project undertaken by Ecclesiastical earlier this year. They asked whether people knew about the work churches are doing in their area and found that much of this work goes on under the radar.
The vital role of churches in tackling some of society’s biggest issues like food poverty and supporting people with dementia is largely invisible, according to this research . For example in the North West, 80% of adults cannot name any of the activities that took place in their local church outside of religious services.
When presented with a list of services offered by churches around the country such as food banks, elderly support groups, parish nursing and dementia support, the research found that more than half (58%) of those surveyed were unaware of the services their own local church provided. This increased to 60% in the over 55s and 65% of 18 to 25-year-olds, two groups that benefit most from the support on offer.
Michael Angell, Church Operations Director at Ecclesiastical, said:
“With pressure on community services, our nation’s churches are leading the way in providing vital support to the elderly, the underprivileged and the community as a whole.Particularly in areas where community resources have been stretched to the limit, the activities and services run by churches provide a lifeline to those in need, so it is important that we continue to champion the work our nation’s churches continue to deliver locally on a national scale.”
If you are interested in taking part in a social justice ‘bigger difference’ focus group to help develop the ways we encourage and evaluate our impact please get in touch with Ellen Loudon.
You should also get in touch with Ellen and the Communications Team with your stories of those projects you run which have a positive social impact and enhance your missional focus.
 Research conducted by One Poll on behalf of Ecclesiastical Insurance Group, February 2017.
Survey of 4,500 adults across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. In the North West, 410 adults were surveyed across counties Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Merseyside.