God is already at work through more than a thousand churches, chaplaincies and schools in this diocese and also through each of us as individual disciples.
Much is already being done to respond to the injustices of poverty and inequality. As part of our common vision for a more Christ-like Church, we seek to address specific questions of poverty and inequality. The COVID-19 pandemic and the likely recession that will follow will only exacerbate existing inequalities.
People struggling to pay their bills, skipping meals, and unable to afford essentials are not isolated cases but part of a pattern of intensifying poverty that has been in evidence for years. We've collated guidance for churches looking to campaign and support their community, as well as resources and support networks for both congregations and clergy.
Addressing Poverty and Inequality
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.
In this series, churches give practical advice on recognising and responding to poverty and inequality in your local area.
Just a few years ago, a group from Wendover noticed an unmet need in their area. The Monday Club Cafe is faith in action - laughter, support and community for people with dementia and their carers.
Feel inspired. Start small. Enjoy the journey.
The Diocese of Oxford has always prioritised issues of poverty and inequality through its social justice work. A Poverty and Inequality Steering Group, formed in October 2020, seeks to address specific questions of poverty and inequality as part of our common vision for a more Christ-like Church. This group includes external representation from the Children's Society, Christians Against Poverty and Citizens Advice.
We seek to support churches and church members to live out their calling to address poverty and inequality. Be inspired to take action or discover resources to support your work with different social issues:
Churches across the diocese are seeking to alleviate poverty, including income poverty, food poverty, and digital poverty.
Homelessness and housing is particularly an issue across the diocese due to the high cost of and demand for housing in the area.
Be inspired to take action or find resources to support your church's work to support survivors of human trafficking, refugees, and asylum seekers.
The church as a community is excellently placed to support people struggling with loneliness and mental ill-health.
Enabling more churches across the diocese 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
If you can't find what you're looking for or would like to talk to someone about addressing poverty and inequality in your church, please contact the Social Justice Adviser, Hannah Ling.
What can you do?
"The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love." - Psalm 33:5
As Christians we follow a God of justice. Jesus wasn't quiet or inactive when it came to poverty and inequality, and we shouldn't be either. As you seek to make this world a better place, you put your love in to action and usher in His kingdom. It's easy to become overwhelmed or unsure how to act to alleviate poverty and inequality, so here's three steps on how to start...
Explore the social justice issues pages of the website - read the reports and find out more.
Consider these questions: What social issues resonate with your context? What forms of poverty and inequality make you particularly angry or upset? How might your church seek to address these things?
Take action! This doesn't mean you have to start an entirely new initiative; it might mean partnering with an existing charity, raising awareness of issues, or campaigning for change. The best way to take action is with others, so find people who can join you on the journey and learn from those who've gone before you.
Social Justice Adviser
01865 208 213
What's already happening?
The Christmas Toy Shop
Churches in Bicester came together to support a special Christmas toy shop at the local Food Bank, providing brand new gifts for more than 150 local children living in poverty this Christmas. Read more from St Edburg's Church, Bicester.
Community Garden in East Reading
St Luke’s Church in east Reading has partnered with Food 4 Families to turn the parish hall garden into a community allotment for local people to share and learn skills, and build community among all ages and backgrounds. Find out more.
Meals from Marlow
The congregation of All Saints Marlow have played a key role in supplying food to NHS staff during lockdown. Read the full story and get in touch with Revd Dave Bull for advice on how you can do the same.
Feeding Milton Keynes
St Mark’s Meals is a food box service for families struggling with food poverty in Milton Keynes. Find out more about St Mark's Meals.
Cutteslowe Community Larder
The Cutteslowe Community Larder supports families in need whilst reducing food waste. Read more from the Revd Tom Murray, curate at St Andrew’s Church Oxford.
A team from St Mary's, Chipping Norton, have been providing meals, craft bags and connection to their town since a week before the first lockdown hit. Read their inspiring story in full.
The Cornerstone social action project in Charlbury with Shorthampton was recently awarded a grant from the Diocese of Oxford Development Fund. Marjorie Glasgow speaks to BBC Radio Oxford: