Capturing faith communities’ ‘monumental contributions’ during the pandemic
A national campaign to reflect on and record the contributions of the faith community during the COVID-19 crisis – and to inform and renew our sense of mission – has been launched by Spurgeon’s College
The #FaithInCommunity campaign seeks to collate faith communities’ pandemic stories which will be submitted in book form to the British Library as an official record - creating a piece of history for future generations.
From food bank support to community leadership and volunteering, churches and faith organisations across the country provided much needed support to their local areas throughout the crisis.
‘The pandemic was a moment in time when faith communities mobilised themselves in a way not seen for generations,’ explained the College’s chief operating manager, Baptist minister the Revd Helen Stockley, who initiated the campaign.
‘We wanted to create something that captured how they responded in a such a monumental way.
‘The campaign forms an exciting opportunity for the faith community to come together to document the valuable contributions made during the crisis for future generations to remember and reflect on.
‘It will also help to remind people of the relationships built in that time and the local connections made. It’s important to keep that momentum. There is a sense that the response in the pandemic was just the beginning. It’s going to be interesting to see how this story develops.
‘So we’d encourage people across all denominations to share their stories.’
The stories can be shared using an online form hosted by Spurgeon’s College.
Principal of Spurgeon’s College, Philip McCormack noted the campaign, which has already received interest from the BBC, serves a number of purposes.
‘As we work to recover from the pandemic, now is the time to take a moment and reflect on the essential contributions made by faith communities over the past two years.’
‘Faith communities went beyond what was expected. They were motivated by their love of God to truly demonstrate what loving their neighbour meant at a time of national crisis.
‘By recording these efforts, we will be creating history for future generations to learn about.’
As well as future generations, it will help churches today, he added.
‘Here at Spurgeon’s we encourage ministers to engage in theological reflection. This is a similar approach.
‘I’m conscious many ministers are weary. They rose to the challenge. Two years on, this is a good time for reflection, which will feed into a new, renewed sense of mission and outreach.’
The campaign is supported by partners from across the country and different faiths – including the Faith and Society All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), the Baptist Union, Leo Baeck College and the Islamic Medical Association – and comes as the country continues the work of recovery from the pandemic and seeks to recover from the societal and economic impacts of COVID-19. Other organisations looking to get involved with the campaign and record their stories can submit an entry here.
Stephen Timms MP, chair of the Faith and Society APPG said, 'The All-party Group for Faith and Society welcomes Spurgeon College’s #FaithInCommunity campaign. It aims to highlight the outstanding contributions to our communities of religious faith organisations during the pandemic.
'This support has included, among other things, providing food banks, clothes, shelter, hot meals, workshops and medical advice to those most in need.
'The campaign builds on the APPG’s work to develop the Faith Covenant and strengthen the relationships between faith organisations and their local authorities. It is vital that the work of these organisations during the pandemic is recognised.'
Stories large and small are welcomed - they can be submitted at faithincommunity.org.uk
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