Much is already being done to respond to the injustices of poverty and inequality. God is at work through more than a thousand churches, chaplaincies and schools in this diocese, and also through each of us as individual disciples. But it is clear that people continue to struggle in myriad ways, and opportunities are not equally available to all. The Covid-19 pandemic, the national economic impact and rise in the cost of living have only exacerbated this.
Here are three steps that churches can and should be taking. Click each title to see more information. You might also like to browse through this section of the site thematically - you'll find links on the left-hand side (desktop) and below (mobile).
Our diocese covers a huge area with huge amounts of variety in affluence, environments, and ways of living. That means poverty and inequality are experienced differently in each context.
To help discern you and your church’s role in addressing poverty and inequality, get to know your context better and explore the issues facing your community.
Get to know your area better:
- Find out about poverty in your parish using Church Urban Fund’s Look Up tool;
- Understand children’s lives in your area with Children’s Society’s reports;
- If you’re into data and mapping, view the Arc GIS of left-behind wards and wards for levelling up investment;
- Read Addressing Poverty and Inequality: Supporting churches to love and serve their communities during COVID-19 and beyond, published by the Diocese of Oxford, tells the story of poverty and inequality in a wide range of community and church contexts across the Thames Valley region;
- If you're ready to get into more detail, grab a cuppa and download For Richer, For Poorer.
Already know what the issues are in your area?
Find out more about what they actually mean.
See our themed pages to learn more about types of inequality.
You might also be interested in exploring more widely:
Know your stuff? Time to engage. Click the Engage box below to move on.
So you’re aware of some of the issues of poverty and inequality in your area, or globally, and you want to start doing something to make a difference.
Here are some ways you and your church can engage:
- Follow in the examples of others - read social justice stories from across the diocese;
- Find an existing campaign or petition relating to your issue and see how you and your church can join in. We recommend End Child Food Poverty with Marcus Rashford and Reset the Debt, helping families struggling financially following the pandemic;
- Pray! Each of our themed pages has a prayer prompt - why not share them with your church or small group and commit to praying every day?
- See how the Parish Planning Tool can help you consider and plan the way forward in your local context.
Want to do more? Think about your next steps and let's act. Click the Act box below to read on.
So you know the issues of poverty and inequality people in your area, you may have engaged with prayer and campaigns, but now you want to take action.
Great resources to guide your first steps
- How to... A series of instructional videos following local examples;
- Get involved in community organising with help from Citizens UK;
- Browse our cost-of-living pages to find our recommended guidance and support for both individuals and churches.
Don’t underestimate the power of partnering with others (charities, other churches, community groups) or of starting small.
Put your vision and learning into action! Get in touch with the diocesean Social Justice Adviser Hannah Ling to talk plans over or seek advice, or scroll down to the bottom of this page for ideas and inspiration from other parishes.
Our common vision
We have listened with God to the big questions, the challenges, and opportunities we have as a diocese. Addressing Poverty and Inequality is one of our five areas of focus.
Guidance for churches looking to support their community and resources and support for congregations and clergy.
Churches across the diocese are seeking to alleviate poverty, including income poverty, food poverty, and digital poverty.
Homelessness & housing
Homelessness and housing is particularly an issue due to the high cost of and demand for housing in the diocese.
Refugees & asylum
Get inspired and equipped to support your church's work with survivors of human trafficking, refugees and asylum seekers.
Isolation & mental health
The church as a community is excellently placed to support people struggling with loneliness and mental ill-health.
Enabling churches to alleviate the root causes of poverty and inequality through our partnership with Citizens UK.
How the diocese are highlighting the issue of modern slavery and where to find out more.
Everyday advice for living well in God's world.
“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.”