Serious Work To Be Done For Church Restoration, York University Report Says
Rising needs mean churches will have even more work to do when they reopen, according to a report, Churches, Covid-19 and communities, published Monday by the University of York.
Over 5,000 people, including non-church members, congregations, and church leaders, participated in surveys and interviews that contributed to the research. It provides testimony and field data on the human cost of the pandemic, when places of worship were closed and unable to perform their usual role of centers of crisis and places of comfort in times of national need and anxiety. .
The report reveals how churches and other places of worship are not seen as just for the faithful, and suggests that existing church networks will be key to building future resilience.
It shows how churches have demonstrated their presence through food banks and other practical aids, including, more recently, working with the NHS as vaccination and testing centers.
Research team leader Dr Dee Dyas said Monday that non-church members have sent a clear message that they are vital to the community, especially in times of crisis.
âNormally, churches act as a ‘national welfare service’,â she said. âThey are vital community centers, offering cradle-to-grave activities accessible to all, and are generally key places of comfort and refuge in times of crisis. “
The report found that 75 percent of non-church members surveyed saw access to churches as a key issue in their community. The same percentage of non-church members valued access to churches as places of quiet reflection and comfort; 87 percent of churches had regularly contacted isolated people; and 91 percent had offered online engagement.
The report draws on evidence from experts in key areas such as bereavement and public health. Historic England Places of Worship Strategy Diana Evans said the report “gives voice to the pain people felt when places of worship were not open during the pandemic, leaving individuals and communities without access to spaces where they felt safe to cry, find respite in beauty and seek peace.
âIt also shows the potential of local places of worship for people of all faiths and none as the country moves towards recovery, acting as symbols of the long-term survival of their community while serving as local hubs for them. social care, practical support and companionship. . “
The Minister of State for Digital and Culture, Caroline Dinenage, described as âstaggering the work of places of worship under difficult conditions. . . It made clear to everyone the continuing value of the faith and these unique buildings in our national life. “
The report refers to the conclusion of the report of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Faith and Society, Keep the faith, that religious communities were an integral part of the immediate civil society response to the pandemic. Local authorities have recognized a new appreciation for the agility, flexibility and professionalism of faith groups in their responses to the pandemic.
As the country faces an epidemic of unresolved and unsupported grief and loss, specialist support and a return to normal society will be essential to help people move forward, concludes the University of York report.
Dr Dyas pointed out: âOur places of worship have enormous potential to be at the heart of national recovery, but you cannot do community care without a roof.
“This national network of community health centers needs and will reward investments to play its part in these important goals.”
To read the report, visit churchandcovid.org