Big Society and Church
An extract by Alan Hargrave from the Ely Diocesan Board For Church In Society Winter 2010 Newsletter:
"I have now listened to several talks and read various articles on the ‘Big Society’. Like many, I confess to still being unclear as to what it actually means. There are, however, a number of strands which seem to be emerging:
- The government is convinced that ‘Big Government’ is a bad thing. They want to devolve responsibility for care & welfare to local communities, non-statutory groups and volunteers
- Apart from the ideology behind this, there is clearly a huge cost-cutting agenda as well
- The church is well placed to be a key player in this process – indeed it already is a key player in countless communities across the land
- Much will depend on our ability, locally and nationally, to form partnerships with others in working for the Common Good
- There is already evidence that poorer communities who have the least resources, not just in terms of finance but of personnel with time, resources and skills, will be worst affected by this process
- The church needs to be both a supportive partner to government but also a prophetic voice on behalf of those unable to articulate their own distress
Over the coming months the shape of ‘BIG SOCIETY’ will become clearer. We cannot afford to stand on the sidelines & watch it happen. We may well wish to criticise some of it. If so, our criticism needs to come from our engagement, as creators and sustainers of community, as partners in promoting the common good, as the Church, not ‘in’ England but ‘of’ England, represented in, and representing, every parish in the land."
Alan Hargrave, December 2010
For more info see: www.navca.org.uk/stratwork/bigsociety and follow the other links.
Download talk by Robert Beard of NAVCA(National Soc for Voluntary and Community Action)
Briefing paper " 'The Big Society' and the Church of England" discussed at Nov 2010 General Synod. Written by Malcolm Brown, Director of Mission and Public Affairs for the Archbishops' Council.