Basingstoke churches unite on caring initiative
A major Christian initiative has launched in Hampshire, with churches working together to listen to the needs of local people and offer compassion and hope ...
Who Cares? is bringing together 58 churches around Basingstoke of varying traditions, who are going out into the community to find out what matters most to people – and to demonstrate God’s care and compassion in action.
Many people feel like no-one cares about their problems. The aim of Who Cares? is for churches to understand themselves and their communities and, as a result, be able to respond more fully and sensitively, demonstrating that they do indeed care for those around them.
This initiative has two parts. Firstly to listen to the community, and then to respond to local people’s needs. The initial listening phase takes place during June and July, when church members will be asking friends, neighbours and their local community to answer a single survey question anonymously.
The Who Cares? survey asks one simple question: ‘What hurts you the most?’ Church members will be conducting the survey with sensitivity, whilst respecting the dignity and confidentiality of every respondent.
Each church will take what they have learned from the listening phase to help them respond to the needs of the community. Every church will tailor their response in the light of the survey results during the subsequent responding phase from September onwards.
Welcoming the initiative, the Right Reverend David Williams, Bishop of Basingstoke, said: "I am delighted to be involved in Who Cares? I am compelled and inspired by the person of Jesus, who was both inclusive and embracing of the people that he encountered.
"He often seemed to know what was going on in people's lives – his response was always gracious and life giving – inviting those he met to consider the next step in their own journey."
• WhoCares? is an ecumenical initiative in which churches work together to listen to the needs of local people and offer compassion and hope. For more information, go to www.whocareshampshire.org or www.facebook.com/whocareshampshire
• WhoCares? Hampshire is made up of 58 churches of varying traditions, who are working together to bring God’s hope to our communities
• WhoCares? Hampshire commissioned the churches/church members involved at the Pentecost ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ Beacon event at Winchester Cathedral on Sunday 4 June
MAIN PHOTO: Archbishop Justin Welby at the Thy Kingdom Come Beacon event and commissioning service in Winchester Cathedral