Social issues group wins recognition

WORK RECOGNISED: Father Jonathan Sibley, of Social Issues in South Lincolnshire. Photo: SG020911-116NG
WORK RECOGNISED: Father Jonathan Sibley, of Social Issues in South Lincolnshire. Photo: SG020911-116NG

Pioneering work launched in Long Sutton on combating social problems is recognised in a major report for the Church of England.

Father Jonathan Sibley, who coordinates Social Issues in South Lincolnshire, was invited to report’s launch at Lambeth Palace, the official residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.

A project that started in the market town of Long Sutton – and then stretched to South Holland and the Borough of Boston – is cited by report authors Res Publica as a good example of how churches can work with partners in transforming society.

Father Jonathan says of the report: “It puts forward the key message that each parish church can play a key role in transforming society especially at this time of recession and social difficulty.

“The project which I coordinate, Social Issues in South Lincolnshire, had been focusing on this in South Holland and Boston areas.”

He says only 20 per cent of district councils seek to partner with their local churches in specific areas such as food banks, but his group has found councils and other partners are very keen to join with the churches to provide benefits to those in need and to tackle specific issues.

“Holistic Mission: Social Action and the Church of England” makes 14 key recommendations to the Government and Church leaders, which Father Jonathan says would “benefit every community and parish” if put into action.