Wednesday, 25 July 2012

More than Bricks and Mortar?

Many in our churches believe that their faith calls them to be public-spirited, socially aware and outward-facing. The mission of the Church involves constantly seeking to engage with the world outside, and work tirelessly to perform acts of mercy and justice. So what do the people of a church do when demand for housing outstrips the supply; when the cost of housing rises faster than the average pay packet; and when the need for housing pushes more and more people into unsustainable debt?

                 Churches have a long and proud history of engagement in housing problems. They have set up almshouses, housing associations, rent deposit schemes and supported housing networks. They run day centres, night shelters, housing advice offices and much else. All this – often voluntary – work is driven by the conviction that secure and affordable housing is essential for the flourishing communities and abundant living of which we so often speak.   Cleary Christians should have plenty to say about the current housing crisis. But what?

The new Joint Public Issues Team resource More than Bricks and Mortar aims to encourage and assist church discussions on this important matter.  How should we make the ethical and theological case for housing? Should the Government create much more housing or control spiralling housing costs, and how can individuals get involved with housing issues locally? And equally importantly, it considers whether Churches are called to do more to provide affordable housing at this critical time.

This resource was produced after lengthy discussions with experts involved with housing.  It summarises key facts and figures, and sets out some of the practical, political and theological dimensions of the housing crisis and offers up some questions for discussion.

Please read this resource, and debate and discuss it with other interested individuals.  And then let us know what you think and if your church is acting to tackle housing problems in your area. We would be particularly interested to hear from you if your church has already been called to provide affordable housing, or you think there is an opportunity in your neighbourhood.

Read More than Bricks and Mortar here and contact James North with your comments and questions