There are innumerable ways you can show loving service to the world. As you discern the needs either in your community or the wider world and the gifts within your community to address them, there are plenty of people and resources who can help – starting with the diocese’s Social Responsibility Panel, chaired by the Archdeacon of Leicester.
Bishop Martyn's Social Policy Advisor can also be contacted (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any questions about engaging your community on social or political issues.
This page presents a number of issues which you may feel called to respond to, with examples from around the diocese and resources to get you started.
Asylum Seekers and Refugees
Leicester and Leicestershire are home to many people seeking asylum in the UK after experiencing conflict, persecution and violence in their home-country. Without the ability to work while awaiting a decision to be made on their asylum application, many live in poverty, in unsafe, unhealthy and isolated environments. Many churches and schools feel called to show compassion and radical hospitality to people seeking asylum - like Roots' Art and Soul project for refugee and asylum-seeking women and children and the diocese's support of the Homes for Ukraine project. If there are refugees or asylum-seekers in your community whom you would like to signpost to nearby services, this list is a good place to start.
As a diocese, we are seeking to reach Net Zero by 2030 and dozens of our churches are on a journey to become Eco Churches. You can check out our Eco Communities page to see how this fits into our strategic priorities and stories of how different churches are engaging with creation with creativity and care. For more information, get in touch with Andrew Quigley, the diocese’s Environment Officer at email@example.com
Disability and Deaf Inclusion
We want our churches to be safe and welcoming for everyone, whatever their physical abilities or speech, language and communication needs. Karen Sly (firstname.lastname@example.org) is our Deaf Development Worker, and provides chaplaincy to the Deaf Centre in Leicester. Emily Williams, our Disability Advisor, has also produced resources to help churches be inclusive of people with disabilities. You can contact her on Emily.Williams@leicestercofe.org
Debt can have a huge effect on people’s lives their mental health and their relationships. To bring hope to people in this situation, some of our churches offer a Community Money Advice service, like Hope67 in Coalville. For advice on setting up a similar initiative, contact Alison.Adams@leicestercofe.org.
Dementia is caused by a number of diseases, including Alzheimer's, and describes a set of symptoms that may include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language.
As John Mcfadden, author and retired UCC pastor, beautifully explains:
“As Christians we have a different story to tell about what gives our lives worth, value and meaning. Personhood is not defined solely by our corporal bodies or our cognitive abilities, but rather by our relationships with others. And we are creatures created in the divine image not because we physically or intellectually resemble the Almighty One, but because God remains in faithful relationship with us in all circumstances and conditions. God’s goodness can be experienced within the reality of cognitive loss….
Some question whether persons with dementia can continue to live their faith if they are no longer able to remember God. They can, because faith is not dependent upon individual memories or cognitive ability. If we should forget God, God will not forget us. And if we forget God, our community of faith can remember us to God and bring God’s presence into our lives through means that do not require us to grasp that presence cognitively.”
For churches seeking to become Dementia Friendly communities, these resources may be of help:
- Livability's My Faith Matters and Travelling Together: a Dementia Inclusive Church Guide
- Growing Dementia Friendly Churches: A Practical Guide
- Guidance for Leading Services in Care Homes
- Is Your Space Dementia-Inclusive Checklist
From the food pantry at All Saints Belgrave to the Growing Hub at Thurnby Lodge, churches all over the diocese are doing what they can to help people experiencing food insecurity.
The Social Responsibility Panel hosted a webinar From Foodbanks to Good Food for All: Responding locally to the cost of living crisis which offers a guide through the different options.
For churches who want to show loving service to their global neighbours, this list of mission organisations and charities operating internationally which the Diocese has supported may be a useful starting point.
Mental Health and Wellbeing
The Social Responsibility Panel’s webinar, How Can Churches Be a Bridge to Good Mental Health? Looked at the connection between mental health and spiritual care, and different ways in which congregations can support people’s mental health. This included coffee mornings and wellbeing cafes, social prescribing, and supporting community-members with experience of in-patient services. You can also find an accompanying list of resources and local organisations here.
Housing and Homelessness
The Diocese of Leicester established and continues to manager Leicester’s Homelessness Charter, which brings together different organisations in the city which are seeking to reduce homelessness and support those who are unhoused. To find out more, please contact Rebecca.Pawley@TogetherLeicester.org.uk
Modern Day Slavery
Christians in Leicester and Leicestershire Against Modern Slavery are a group who long to see modern slavery eradicated from our communities. They authored the Diocese’s Modern Slavery Statement and have run several campaigns to raise awareness of the exploitation that exists around us. You can find out more about them via their Facebook page or contact Margaret Rouse on email@example.com.
These resources may also be useful for individuals and churches who want to tackle modern slavery.
One of the acts of service which Jesus called us to was visiting those in prison. These resources may be useful for how churches seeking to support those who are in the criminal justice system or those leaving prison so they can integrate back into their communities.