Church Notes: Can faith be a force for good in Waveney?

Ben Parish of Lowestoft Community Church with the results of the Cinnamon Faith Action Audit.

Ben Parish of Lowestoft Community Church with the results of the Cinnamon Faith Action Audit. - Credit: Archant

How do you view churches and faith groups?

A survey a few years ago of 18 to 24 year olds found that only 14 per cent felt that religion was a force for good in the world.

This conclusion probably shouldn't surprise us, as our news reports are often filled with actions done in the name of religion that cause harm and pain to many people.

But is this the real story? Does having faith mean that you automatically develop a 'them and us' mindset which then leads to tribal behaviour? Can faith ever be a force for good?

In March of this year we as churches and faith groups in Waveney took part in an audit which had the aim of finding out the level of social and economic impact that we have on our local community.

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The audit uncovered the extent of community work that is undertaken by churches and faith-based organisations, which was calculated to be of over £2.1million worth of value.

Across Waveney, on a weekly basis, hundreds of people whose life and values are shaped by their faith, are volunteering their time to run projects and groups which serve the people around us. These volunteer hours were calculated to total at least 194,000 per year.

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No matter what your personal beliefs are, I am sure that everyone would acknowledge that that number of volunteer hours is a significant contribution.

So, can faith ever be a force for good?

I would argue that throughout history many Christians have pioneered organisations and causes that have positively shaped our society.

And that shaping is still going on today in our town on a weekly basis, by people who have been changed by Jesus and who are looking to follow his teachings to impact our world in a positive way.

Maybe you should investigate Jesus for yourself and find out more of this man who lived 2,000 years ago and is still changing lives today?

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