Loud and Proud: Faith’s achievements and why I won’t stay silent
When we talk about being proud of something, we all too often mistake it with an arrogant pride. C. S. Lewis describes pride as the ‘central sin’ and warns against it. But I want to encourage faith groups that it is time to be proud, or at least a bit chuffed. You are achieving some awesome thing.
I’ve just started work at FaithAction, I’ve been here just a couples of weeks, and I am blown away by the level of work they do. Or should I now proudly say ‘we do’? Faith groups across the UK are working below the surface in ways you wouldn’t have guessed, but they are often not good enough at telling people what they are up to.
Now I’m not saying we should get all ‘rooftop shouty’ about these things. No one likes someone that constantly tells you how great they are. But I do think that we should start to make a noise and to re-balance the debate about the role faith plays in society.
Before I got here, I knew about FaithAction, I thought I knew a lot about what they do, but it turns out that they do so much more than I could imagine.
Throughout the last 2 years FaithAction have been distributing grants, through a programme called Together in Service. £160,000 was given to nearly 60 projects across the UK and across faiths and projects included everything from films, exhibitions, conservation, and tributes to fallen heroes. It was a fantastically diverse programme that saw faith communities reach places that no one else can. Over 500 organisations engaged in the network and you can only imagine the scope of how many were helped. This is just the start of what faith does!
There is a Creative English programme that has seen over 2000 learners, through drama and role play, grow confidence in their use of English. Costing just a fraction of conventional approaches. They gain experience of using English in everyday scenarios, helping them to deal with landlords, doctors, councils. In some cases they are even getting together and creating clothes and accessories to sell. This isn’t just about speaking better English. This is faith reaching communities otherwise left untouched, this is faith reaching parts others couldn’t.
I could go on about what we do here, I wouldn’t cover half of it and I still have a lot to learn.
My point is this.
Faith is doing incredible things, and it is going about them unnoticed. Faith groups don’t need the praise of society, but it would sure surprise people to find out what they are up to.
The Cinnamon Network’s Faith Action Audit, May 2015, revealed over 3.4m people benefited from faith led projects, with close to 150,000 volunteers across the country. This is going to just be the tip of what is going on.
Let’s get that going. Let’s get talking about the work that our mosques, churches and temples do. Let’s share examples of best practice and get more efficient.
Most importantly, let’s continue reaching the parts that others can’t.
Remember, we’d love to hear about your achievements! You don’t have to have changed the world; just let us know about the difference that your work is making and we’ll help spread the word. Get in touch with us via [email protected] or through our website!