A recent U.K.-based study has revealed the mostly unacknowledged positive contributions that churches and Christian activists have made in the fight against poverty.
These efforts, the study says, must be taken into consideration when politicians and policymakers strategize ways to tackle the “root causes” of poverty across the nation.
Coventry University’s Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations found that churches and other faith-based organizations do not work only with other Christians, as has been previously assumed. The organizations reach a broad community especially with the relationships built by their outreach efforts with “disadvantaged groups.”
Dr. Chris Shannahan, one of the key researchers of the project, said, “We have found that churches and Christian action groups have relationships with excluded and disadvantaged communities that politicians might not be able to reach.
“This is not about Christians working with Christians, but Christians working with everyone, across the whole of society, and we want policymakers to try and partner with these groups when it comes to issues relating to poverty, because the churches and groups are on the ground, trusted and have track records of helping,” Shannahan said.
The study was launched in the early 2000s, to analyze the “nature, scope and impact of Christian engagement with urban poverty in the UK in the context of austerity since the 2008 financial crisis,” according to the study findings.
The researchers of “Life on the Breadline” completed case studies Birmingham, London and Manchester to showcase how faith groups “tackle the structural issues” of poverty as well as the spiritual needs of their congregations.
Shannahan told Premier Christian News that faith communities are a largely untapped resource for government leaders to pull from, as their positive presence in communities build relational bridges politicians rarely can. Shannahan said the church “remains a major force in the U.K.,” despite claims otherwise.
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SOURCE: Charisma News