Ministers Letter – August 2012

Dear Friends,

Rowan Williams’ comment that the Big Society is ‘aspirational waffle’ set me thinking about our motives for community involvement. The Big Society asks us to take part in our local communities and help to make a difference. However, in asking us to fend for ourselves, we can perhaps miss the people who need most help.

In the church we are no strangers to volunteering and charitable donations and maybe you’ve been on the giving or receiving end of some of that generosity whether in the usual coffee mornings or maybe even in some form of debt counselling. Maybe you’ve taken advantage of a church school, normally set up to provide education for poor children. Most likely you’ve been helped by the welfare state, an idea of Archbishop William Temple to help protect the vulnerable in society. When we give, we do it out of a compassion for the needy, and out of gratitude to God who has given us all things. We do not do it expecting anything in return. Recently I read in an article that ‘At its best, the church is present through its members in places they would rather not be by choice’. Christians and the church should be serving others and not themselves with their involvement.

So with that in mind, I’d like to share with you some of the statistics I discovered:

  • Tadcaster is in the top quarter of least deprived parishes in the country (2698/12706)
  • 9% of children and 10% of pensioners in the parish are in poverty
  • The more deprived you are the less likely you are to be involved in civic activity
  • The more deprived an area the fewer local charities it will have
  • Many of the most deprived areas of the country are in Yorkshire
  • I hope and pray that in Tadcaster we will really grow together as a community but will not forget those whose voice is not heard. Maybe these statistics will help us to know where to put our efforts.