Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Church work ‘can’t replace public sector’, bishop warns

English Bishop reflects on the role of the church as a social agency.

Churches and voluntary agencies are not a “backstop for the public sector,” the Anglican Bishop of Chelmsford has told the Government.

Bishop John Gladwin raised the issue during a debate he initiated in the House of Lords on the role the Government envisages for churches and faith communities in delivering welfare services.

He told peers: “The strength of the churches and, indeed, of other voluntary agencies is in their being local and offering a faith that motivates people to action.

“They have historically been the stimulators of prophetic and innovative action in the field of neighbourly care.”

He said debate should focus not on “filling gaps in state provision but on the positive role that these communities can play in meeting the needs of our society”.

Bishop Gladwin said: “The 20th century, with the development of the welfare state, saw the growing marginalisation and privatisation of religion and the increasing dependency of people on the state for social provision.

“You and I live in a double bind as a result of that experience. On the one hand, religion is viewed as a private and personal matter rather than something primarily of public concern. Religion is a hobby, a leisure-time pursuit outside the framework of public life.

More here-

No comments: