The UK Government’s Independent Faith Engagement Advisor, Colin Bloom, has published his report, Does government ‘Do God?’, examining how government should engage with faith groups in England. Responses to the review are now coming in, including one from the Methodist Church in Britain.
The report considers UK government’s engagement across a broad range of themes — including faith literacy across public services, faith in education, prisons and the probation service, the UK Armed Forces, faith-based extremism, financial and social exploitation, and forced marriage. More than 21,000 people responded to the public consultation and the review sets out 22 recommendations for government to consider.
In response to the report, the Methodist Church in Britain has issued a statement saying: “The Bloom Review report rightly recognises the significant contribution of faith groups to community life across the UK in numerous ways, and the impact of faith on every aspect of society.
“It also identifies that government departments lack confidence in engaging with people of faith and faith-based providers, sometimes limiting the potential of this impact.
“We welcome the report’s commitment to improve this in a number of ways, including the recommendation for an ‘Independent Faith Champion’ to act as a resource to the Faith Minister and government departments.
“Methodists are passionately committed to building more resilient, equitable and caring communities, often working with a wide range of faith and secular groups to do so.
“It is notable that Bloom Report was published on the same day that the Trussell Trust announced the distribution of a record number of emergency food parcels, including one million provided for children in the UK.
“While the report recognises the contribution of churches and other faith groups in the provision of food banks and other community services, it is silent on the work of the same faith groups to addresses the structural causes of poverty and injustice.
“Yet justice is a core aspect of the basic tenets of all faith traditions. Our calling to speak truth to power is informed by our engagement with the day to day realities of those at the sharp end of inequality and poverty.
“We welcome the report’s recommendation to establish regular roundtables with senior faith leaders, and encourage these to explore issues related to the whole life of communities, not just issues that affect places of worship.
“We welcome the recommendations of the Bloom Review and look forward to working with Government in their implementation. We hope that the report may deepen the dialogue of national government and faith communities and enable the insights of faith representatives to inform the construction of policy.”
* Read: Does government ‘do God?’ An independent review into how government engages with faith here.
* Source: Methodist Church