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Cost of living crisis: how churches can respond

The cost of living is rising for everyone, but it is rising fastest for the least well-off. The coming weeks and months are likely to be very difficult for many people. While the URC and many church members have been active in calling on the government to provide additional financial support for the poorest and address the root causes of poverty, there are also many ways in which churches may be able to offer practical support within their local communities.

This list is a starting-point of sources of helpful advice and resources about how churches could be supporting people in their local communities through this crisis. It will be regularly updated and added to.

Please email [email protected] with your suggestions and let us know what your church is doing.

Responding to a deepening crisis

This new resource from Jubilee Plus makes simple suggestions for how to respond to the challenge of rising needs in your church, and in your community, as well as how to engage with those in positions of power who can make a difference: https://www.jubilee-plus.org/docs/Responding-to-a-Deepening-Crisis.pdf

Warm spaces

Even with energy prices capped, many people will be unable to afford to heat their homes this winter. One emergency response is to set up community spaces where people can come for a time in order to stay warm. For churches that are thinking of doing this:

  • Talk to others locally to coordinate your plans – this will help reduce the risk of duplicating provision and enable wider provision through the week. You might also be able to identify the most appropriate and energy-efficient buildings to open and heat.
  • Register with the Warm Welcome initiative, which has been set up to provide advice and support for churches, other faith organisations and community groups in creating warm spaces that are free, warm, welcoming and safe: warmwelcome.uk
  • If you are setting up a warm space, consider how you can use it to nurture community, participation and wellbeing. This blog makes some helpful suggestions: Fuelling the problems? – by Corin Pilling – Grace + Truth

Support foodbanks

Foodbanks provide a lifeline for thousands of people a week who would otherwise face hunger. Many foodbanks are reporting increased demand and also a reduction in donated and surplus stock. Could you make additional donations or collections of foods for your local foodbank?

Campaign for change

As a Church we have said that it is the urgent, moral responsibility of the government to ensure that people on the lowest incomes have enough to live in the months ahead. Increases in poverty and destitution because of this crisis are not inevitable, if government, business and civil society recognise that this is an emergency and act now.

Read the latest information from the Joint Public Issues Team of the Methodist, Baptist and United Reformed Churches, and see how you can be part of calling for changes, locally and nationally, which begin to tackle the injustice of poverty at its roots.

October 2022

United Reformed Church