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Blog: Reacting with Hope
By Daniel Singleton
Never before can I remember a time when the question ‘What is the world coming to?’ seemed more appropriate than the last couple of weeks. Yesterday came the news of the killing of a Catholic priest in Normandy, the latest in a string of attacks. Some of these had been attributed to extremists, but yet others seemingly had no connection to organised terror; rather they were acts of individuals with an extreme agenda of their own. Japan. Germany. Nice. Normandy. Dallas. I often hear people say that religion is the cause of most wars. I don’t agree. There is a lengthy explanation needed of what we mean by ‘religion’ anyway; like most language, it means different things to different people. Some see ‘religion’ as a set of rituals that we employ to win the favour of a deity, while others say that ‘religion’ is synonymous with ‘faith’, a belief that leads us to live life in a particular way, often denying our own selfish desires. But this was not my point. Religion or faith is not the problem. It is not the answer either. It is people who are both the problem and the solution. It is far too convenient…
Government launches new community sponsorship scheme for refugees
As part of its commitment to resettle vulnerable refugees, the government has launched a new sponsorship scheme which allows community organisations, including charities and faith groups, to be responsible for helping refugee families resettle in the UK. Organisations taking part in the scheme will assist refugees with the resettlement process - such as finding housing, applying for benefits, and registering with a GP. Accompanying the scheme is a new online service that allows members of the public to easily contribute to the support of refugees in their local area. The service is currently being trialled in a limited number of areas, but allows local authorities to list precisely what areas of support it currently requires - from donations of clothing or furniture, to people will to befriend and show refugees around the area. Launching the scheme alongside the Archbishop of Canterbury, Home Secretary Amber Rudd said, The response of the British public to the refugee crisis has been one of overwhelming generosity and many have been moved to make kind offers of assistance. This is a ground-breaking new development for resettlement in the UK and I wholeheartedly encourage organisations that can help to offer their support. I hope that this…
Untapped potential: What role can faith organisations play in responding to austerity?
In an environment where financial exclusion is increasing, the contribution of faith organisations from across faith traditions in ‘plugging the gap’ is often overlooked according to new research by the Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship at the University of Bristol, Public Faith and Finance: Faith responses to the financial crisis’. The report found that a cross section of faith organisations are mobilising to provide welfare advice and resources such as food aid, grants and providing or signposting to debt advice and ethical lending services. Others are working to raise awareness of the impact of welfare cuts, or leading campaigns to reform financial services. A recent report by New Philanthropy Capital (NPC) documented more than 43,000 faith-based registered charities in Great Britain including multi-faith, Sikh, Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Quaker and Buddhist charities. It goes without saying that the reach and capacity of these groups to engage in social justice varies hugely, a factor also explored by the University of Bristol report, which surveyed the work of a cross section of 90 faith organisations and carried out thirteen case studies of faith-based initiatives. It found that faith organisations were assisting those suffering from financial hardship, engaging in campaigning and…
By Felicity Smith
If you follow me on Twitter, you will see a few retweets about Kate Granger, a woman who is terminally ill with cancer – but this isn’t what is going to define her. Kate is behind the #hellomynameis campaign, which has completely redefined what ‘care’ in hospital is, particularly for people who have terminal illness. Kate and her husband Chris started the #hellomynameis campaign as after a hospital stay, Kate realised that the staff looking after her (although doing well with their jobs I’m guessing) didn’t introduce themselves before delivering her care. A simple pleasantry had somehow gone amiss, and in Kate’s words: ‘I firmly believe it is not just about common courtesy, but it runs much deeper. Introductions are about making a human connection between one human being who is suffering and vulnerable, and another human being who wishes to help. They begin therapeutic relationships and can instantly build trust in difficult circumstances. In my mind #hellomynameis is the first rung on the ladder to providing truly person-centred, compassionate care.’ Since the launch of the campaign in 2013, which was mainly done on social media, the concept of just saying ‘hello my name is’ before beginning treatment has spread…
Statement of Hope
The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Faith and Society, for which FaithAction is the secretariat, has released a Statement of Hope. For more information, please visit the APPG's website. In the summer of 2016, we find ourselves in difficult times as a nation. The reverberating context of the economic crash of 2008 and the growth of terrorism, crisis and wars in recent years have resulted in a great movement of people, which has led to distant problems rippling into our local settings. The European Referendum campaign and its aftermath have served as a lightning rod, and the result is great concern about uncertainty and intolerance. The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Faith and Society was formed to support and promote the work of faith organisations in the United Kingdom. Faith groups are often the very glue of society; they provide a place for people to come together, they seek out solutions, and they provide hope. We want to affirm these values of community and hope for the United Kingdom today. Today, we need to draw on this legacy for the whole of the United Kingdom. We, the undersigned, agree… That the United Kingdom has been and will continue to be a place…