Friday, 25 May 2007

Gweini on the case

Met with John Martin Evans today, working for the Evangelical Alliance's council for voluntary service in Wales (aka Gweini). He is researching the social contribution of Christian voluntary organisations across the Principality, under the heading 'Counting our Communities'.

His brief is similar to ours in that it seeks to assess the contribution of religious bodies (in the economic sense) to civil society, but it's much broader in covering all of Wales. He is about to put out a questionnaire to a thousand religious organisations in Wales (Christian and other faith). He's been preparing for a year, and also has FCCBF funding.

There may be ways in which we can collaborate at a later stage, as we are covering one of the denser areas of religious enterprise, roughly a quarter of the contact list for the whole of Wales.

It's interesting the impulse to ask questions about religious bodies and society is stimulating such a response amongst evangelical communities and the historic mainstream churches at the same time. It's a little disconcerting that CDF made no effort to guide these initiatives towards each other and challenge their advocates to work together.

But it's interesting to see how reluctant civil society is to challenge religious bodies to work at reconciling and harmonising their contribution the society. Meanwhile individual secularising campaigners to make their attempts to discredit religious communities and exclude their participation in public life. It's left to religious bodies to assert their own value to society, if not defend themselves from disinformation and downright abuse.

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