Faith organisations aim to be central to pandemic recovery says Faith Minister
Faith Minister Kemi Badenoch MP addressed the ChurchWorks Commission for Covid Recovery Summit this week, outlining the Government’s hope that faith-based organisations will be at the centre of the country’s recovery from the pandemic.
The online summit brought together leaders from all of the major national church denominations and networks for strategic conversations with the Government about opportunities for collaboration.
The Minister thanked faith groups for their vital role throughout the pandemic: “I will be your torchbearer in government, recognising the challenges you all face, and championing your work and the inexhaustible attitude you all showed throughout this most turbulent period in our history.
“We want faith-based organisations to be among the centrepieces of our recovery from this pandemic in the years ahead. But we recognise that will only be possible if we as a government deliver what we are calling a Faith New Deal. A deal to reset how the public sector engages with our faith organisations. Through the Faith New Deal pilots, we will be backing a number of projects with investment that will help blaze a trail for how the public sector and faith groups can work together towards specific goals.”
Stephen Timms MP brought a similar message of encouragement from the Leader of the Opposition, Sir Keir Starmer: “Having played a vital role in our response to the crisis, we know your services and support will be essential to our national recovery. The willingness of the mainline denominations to work together as part of the ChurchWorks Commission for Covid Recovery is a further sign of the strategic role that churches play in our national life, and the commitment of churches in our local communities.”
Chaired by the Bishop of Durham, Paul Butler, the online summit on 11 January also included theological reflection by the Revd Dr Sam Wells as well as smaller group discussions on how the Church and government can collaborate on COVID recovery.
The ChurchWorks Commission is a project of YourNeighbour – a UK-wide church response to Covid-19 working with local churches across the UK to restore hope, renew community and tackle injustice in the wake of the pandemic, with over 40 denominations and partners who have come together to help the UK respond and recover to Covid-19.