IN his fortnightly column, JOHN GUEST, the rector of St Margaret’s, Stanford-le-Hope, takes a look at local issues and muses on the lessons we might learn for life. 

Thurrock to have Faith in Action Audit

My friends Tim and Andy (local church leaders) are doing a “Faith in Action Audit” in the community to find out whether the local church is having much impact on caring.

Chances are if you’ve been helped out by the Food Bank or a toddler group in your area, it may well have been connected to the faith community.

Fifty local authority areas are taking part in this audit in partnership with a national charity called Cinnamon Trust.

It aims to find out what provision there is and how it can connect with other complementary services. Using an online survey, and with the support of

Transformation Thurrock and Thurrock Faith Matters, Tim and Andy will help the church (and other faith groups) recognise their potential.

On May 20, these findings will be presented to the Archbishop of Canterbury and give a clearer picture of what faith is doing to help people like you and me in a whole variety of ways. It has been said that if the church stopped its work in the community, the whole voluntary sector would close down overnight!

The faith sector’s long-term presence, strong motivation for social action, volunteering record, and provision of informal care in friendship settings has long been recognised and encompassed by the term “social capital”.
“Church” is not just about stained-glass windows, bells, hymn singing and funny costumes, faith can make a real practical difference in the neighbourhood and it has been doing that in Thurrock for generations.

It would be nice to think that this special survey might generate not only increased interest in the provision of genuine care but a real partnership across religious, political and socio-economic boundaries to build a better and kinder place to live.