Christianity: practices – ROLE OF THE CHURCH IN THE LOCAL COMMUNITY

The role of the Church in the local community

 

Christians have always been involved in projects designed to make communities better places to live.

The core Christian teaching “Love thy neighbour” highlights how Christians should always try to care for others. Jesus was born into poverty and supported the weak and the vulnerable. Jesus stated that ‘It is not the well who need a doctor but the sick’ emphasising how the needy should be supported. The parable of the Sheep and the Goats may also encourage Christians to support those in need. (See notes on judgment)

 

What does the Church do?

 

Food Banks

Founded in 1997 by Christians Carol and Paddy Henderson, the Trussell Trust food banks provide emergency food, help and support to people in crisis. Based on core teachings such as ‘Love thy neighbour’ the aim is to bring people together and work towards ending poverty and hunger in the UK. Churches, supermarkets, schools and businesses etc donate food. Care professionals such as doctors and health visitors identify those in need and issue food vouchers. In return for their food voucher they are issued with three days of nutritionally balanced food. They also run courses on how to eat well and spend less. There are around 420 Trussell food banks in the UK.

 

Street Pastors

Reverend Les Isaacs set up the network of Christian Street Pastors in Brixton, south London, in 2003 with 18 volunteers. They do not have any power to enforce the law but provide a presence in the local community. Their main aim was to challenge gang culture and the use of knives and guns in London. They also started to respond to drunkenness, anti social behaviour and fear of crime. Over 270 towns now have street pastors.

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