Thurrock goes to Faith Action Audit launch

by Tim Harrold

CFAA 1A group of local representatives joined 400 delegates at the Emmanuel Centre in Marsham Street, Westminster, for the launch of Cinnamon Network’s Faith Action Audit for 2015 on Wednesday 20 May 2015.

Andy Blakey, the Faith Action Audit Champion for Thurrock, attended meetings during the day.

In the evening he was joined by Rev John Guest as Chair of Thurrock Faith Matters and Tim Harrold of Transformation Thurrock – these bodies partnered in sponsoring the Faith Action Audit locally.

They were also joined by Rev John Wraw, Bishop of Bradwell; Natalie Warren who is Community & Diversity Manager at Thurrock Council; and Pastor Alan Field of Aveley Christian Centre.

The evening included presentations by Cinnamon’s Matt BirdJustin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury; a panel that included a Muslim, a Christian journalist, a police chief, and a BMC pastor; and Lloyd Cooke of Saltbox in Stoke.

Matt shared that the Audits taken together show:

  • Local faith groups serve some 48 million beneficiaries in the UK
  • Local faith groups mobilise 125,000 paid staff
  • Local faith groups give 95.8 million paid staff hours
  • Local faith groups mobilise 2 million volunteers
  • Local faith groups give over 288 million volunteer hours
  • Collectively, local faith groups give over £3 billion worth of social support

There was a short promotional film shown of Cinnamon-sponsored activities which included three separate shots of the Thurrock Lunch Club in action.

Quotes and notes from the event

Justin Welby

  • CFAA 5The work is done because people are constrained to love
  • Albert Einstein said: “It’s extraordinary what people can do when they don’t care if they get the credit”
  • In 2008, the idols of wealth and materialism were toppled – only the eternal things are left standing
  • the Cross on the horizon has not toppled
  • Faith communities have risen to the challenge
  • Provision wrapped up in love means that human dignity is preserved and that faith is lifted up
  • The report brings hope – there is a future
  • This is not just do-goodery, but best practice
  • Shane Claiborne says: “The poor always have names”
  • Emmanuel – God WITH us – dignity restored
  • Change requires people, not just structures and policies
  • Over the next few years, faith communities can continue to demonstrate faith is a power for good in our society

Pastor Agu Irukwu of Jesus House

  • Read Matthew 5:13-16 using The Message as a summary of what this is about:
    • “Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavours of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage. Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colours in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.”
  • We are to be the God-flavours and God-colours
  • £100k per faith group per year is on average our real worth
  • Take advantage of what is already there, not to take credit, but to partner with
  • Be cheeky – ask for more than what you need

Justin Welby

  • CFAA 6Usually only those within a faith understand the difference between religion and faith
  • It’s about the Incarnation – of what it is to show God
  • Don’t be distracted
  • Don’t let worry about whether something’s sustainable or not stop you from action – do it anyway
  • Just because you can’t do everything, don’t do nothing at all

Lord Tariq Ahmad, Conservative Peer

  • Social action – darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can; hatred cannot drive out hatred, only love can
  • Being proud of your faith – it’s is part and parcel of what makes us

Deputy Chief Constable Michael Banks

  • There has never been a better opportunity
  • Church provision predates the welfare state
  • Contact your local police for volunteering opportunities

For a full report from Cinnamon, see

Copies of Thurrock’s Faith Action Audit results will be made available just as soon as they have been dllivered to Andy Blakey. The aim is for local church leaders, councillors, and change agency representatives to receive these in these.

Top picture: Natalie, Andy, John G., John W., & Alan in the auditorium
Middle picture: Bishop John Wraw’s selfie! Taken at the reception beforehand
Lower picture: Revs Bob Love & Andy Higgs giving thanks for the Audit results at Thurday morning’s TLP at the High House Artists’ Studios in Purfleet