From God and Politics UK
[...] “If we were to fully cost volunteer time (some of which is quite specialist) and paid staff time at average wage of £500 per week or £12.50 per hour then the cost would be £1.925bn. Once you add in the use of facilities and direct financial contribution, one can see that the total contribution to social initiatives is probably above £2.5bn per annum.” said Geoff Knott, author of the report.
There are a few important points to be drawn from all of this. One is that anyone who thinks that Christians should be keeping their faith to themselves and stay out of public life, as the National Secularist Society advocate, has no idea how big a gaping hole in community work this would leave nationally. To even suggest such a foolish idea displays a high level of ignorance and intolerance that really does not deserve any respect.
Instead, the increase in provision by churches over the last couple of years strongly suggests that their desire to serve the communities they are grounded in is driven by compassion and awareness of local needs. Whereas most charities are seeing their incomes fall, giving by Christians to their own church social projects has increased substantially. Christians are filling the gaps, as Andrew Brown reports, that welfare cuts are creating. I would like to suggest that one of the consequences of the economic downturn is that churches are becoming more socially aware and that the challenge of meeting the needs of people on their doorstep is creating a renewed movement in Christian circles as the Church once again explores what its role in society should be.
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