Growing Good - the church in action!
During the pandemic, we know that churches have increased their provision of practical, emotional, financial and digital support.
The Church in Action Survey 2020/21 from CUF and the Church of England highlighted the role of local churches in communities. Anglican churches contribute to approximately 35,000 projects that directly support their local communities, and 37% of churches are doing even more now to support people in their parish than before the pandemic.
The survey reports that the range and severity of issues that churches are responding to have increased. For example, in the last Church in Action survey in 2017, loneliness and mental health were already the most commonly cited issues experienced by people in their parish. This latest survey reveals that the pandemic has exacerbated both these problems.
Other economic-related problems, such as food poverty, unemployment, low income, and debt, have also become more prevalent as a result of the pandemic – with unemployment and food poverty, in particular, being flagged more frequently than in previous surveys. And there is evidence that the social and economic effects of the pandemic are being
experienced unequally, with the most acute effects being felt in the most deprived areas.
Despite all the obstacles to community provision, churches have shown enduring commitment and creativity in response to the pandemic. Nearly a quarter of churches have started a completely new activity during the pandemic, and more than half have adapted two or more of their existing community activities in order to continue meeting the needs of their local community.
But we understand that behind these impressive impact numbers are thousands of clergy, lay leaders and volunteers who are exhausted, over-worked, and struggling to find the resources to meet this rising need.
The Church in Action Survey also heard about the difficulties clergy and church communities are currently facing:
“We are really struggling to cover the cost of our parish share and the day-to-day running costs...We would like more freedom to respond to the needs within the wider community.”
The Growing Good Toolkit recognises the perseverance and faithfulness of local churches, even when times are difficult, and provides ideas and tools to help.
The pandemic has reminded us that we need each other. As Christians, one of the ways we can stay connected and look out for each other is through prayer.
If you would like to join us in praying for all the clergy, volunteers and church communities that are Growing Good, please use our pocket Prayer Companion.