Faith in Social Action: Where Next? Updates and documents
A day conference for faith based practitioners, third sector leaders, researchers and policy makers
Hosted by Faith-based Regeneration Network, Third Sector Research Centre, University of Birmingham, and the Edward Cadbury Centre for the Public Understanding of Religion
The full conference report and all associated documents are available for download below.
Faith based social action faces a number of critical challenges in terms of both policy and practice. Faith organisations may have finite resources in terms of finances and time, but are confronted with increasing demands for services. They are, politically, expected to do more – but say less; to deliver on integration and cohesion agendas; to enhance community health and well-being and deliver asset based neighbourhood development.
These expectations, from within faith groups and beyond, raise a number of important questions for the future of faith based social action. What is the role of faith as the welfare state is ‘rolled back’? Can responses to community needs be sustained in the context of long term austerity measures? Can they deliver social justice – or simply fill the welfare gap? Can they deliver on integration in increasingly super-diverse localities?
Short keynote presentations included
- what have we learned from "Belief in Social Action; exploring faith groups' responses to local needs" a unique qualitative study to be launched at the conference.
- a view from the wider voluntary and community sector - Angus McCabe (University of Birmingham), one of the convenors of the recent "Future of Community Work" conference.
- a view from the wider faiths sector - Professor Adam Dinham (Goldsmiths, University of London) is the country's leading specialist on faith, religion and society.
- perspectives from activists drawn from several faith traditions.
This was an active participatory event with an emphasis on group discussion. Discussions included
- themed discussions - responding to welfare reform/austerity, issues of capacity in faith groups, the changing face of multi-faith working, conflicted faith.
- future challenges and strategies