This report from the UK think tank Demos looks at building church-secular partnerships for social good.
‘Holy Alliances’ shows that due to austerity, more churches are partnering with non-faith voluntary organisations to tackle local issues such as poverty, mental health and loneliness. This report, based on a survey of 120 church leaders, 10 expert interviews and 12 case study interviews, reveals that churches are almost four times as likely to partner with non-faith voluntary organisations (23%) than businesses (6%) to tackle these challenges. Research shows that partnership working has led to a number of benefits including unlocking resources and funding, boosting impact, administrative support and assistance in targeting the right group.
Whilst there are a number of positive outcomes from church-secular partnerships, the report also highlights some difficulties, including a fear of the religious motivation of church volunteers from secular partners, which could lead to a lack of trust. The report calls for local authorities to seek to address any practical barriers to partnership working between churches and non-Christian groups, such as making funding for social action projects more accessible to churches. ‘Holy Alliances’ has also made a number of other recommendations, including the discouragement of blanket policies against working with faith groups, and for local authorities to build on the good work of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Faith and Society and adopt their own version of the Faith Covenant.Read Full Report