Bishop issues social action challenge in Norwich
By Keith Morris
churches and Christian organisations have been challenged by Bishop Stephen Lowe
to grasp the opportunities which the economic crisis will present with the government looking to the third sector to help provide vital welfare services.
Rt Revd Stephen Lowe, Bishop of Urban Life and Faith, was in Norwich to address Christian leaders at a civic reception in The Forum. The reception followed on from a Church Community Action Fair (pictured right) organised by Transforming Norwich at which 16 local Christian social action organisations were showing what they do to hundreds of members of the general public.
Bishop Stephen said: “We are here to share in the whole vision for the future of Norwich and to witness to the fact that the Christian church’s contribution to this community around the city is very substantial indeed. Not only in terms of traditional church life but also in service in all sorts of ways, such as drug addictions to work with prostitutes, Street Pastors, people working with bikers and big organisations like the YMCA and the Salvation Army.
“This event demonstrates in all sorts of ways the variety of work that is being done to help meet the needs of people in different aspects of their lives.
“The action is changing big time over the next year or two. We are facing a major economic and financial crisis and whoever is in power politically in a year’s time there will be major cuts in public expenditure.
“All three main political parties are committed to making sure that a lot of welfare services are provided in the third sector, which includes the churches, rather than by statutory agencies. So there is an immense challenge to us: what do we do to make ourselves better equipped to do that or indeed should we.
“You have to work with local authorities and identify needs and see how you as a church can respond effectively to those needs.”
Exhibitors at the Action Fair on June 11 and 12 included: All Saints; All Hallows; YMCA Norfolk; Salvation Army; Christian Aid; Pregnancy Crisis; Call to Prayer; Christian Motor Cyclist Assn.; FGBMFI; NYFC; CAN; The Matthew Project; Magdalen Group; Norfolk Street Pastors; NCRC the HTB Marriage Course and Network Norfolk.
To hear Bishop Stephen speak click on the picture above or below.