Jump to: Poster & prayer cards | Support for individuals | Support for churches | Support for clergy | Warm spaces | More info
People struggling to pay their bills, skipping meals, and unable to afford essentials are not isolated cases but part of a pattern of intensifying poverty that has been in evidence for years (as this JRF report reveals). War in Ukraine and rising energy prices have now contributed to a cost-of-living crisis.
Real-term income has been falling too so, unlike previous recessions, we are more frequently seeing those who are in jobs struggling financially, not just those who are unemployed.
There is a shameful number of people experiencing destution (when they cannot afford to meet their most basic physical needs to stay warm, dry, clean, and fed) in the UK, and this level is rsing. This report from JRF finds around 3.8 million people experienced destitution in the UK in 2022.
The Church's role
Part of the church’s mission (see the Five Marks of Mission) is to respond to human need by loving service, and to transform unjust structures of society. As Christians we must take the action indicated in Micah 6:8:
Print our cost-of-living crisis poster to display outside your church or on a community noticeboard to remind people they are not alone, that help is available, and the church can support them too.
You can also order cost-of-living prayer cards by emailing email@example.com. Please state in the email how many cards you'd like and provide a full postal address.
You can preview both the prayer and the card by clicking Pray + below.
our anxious eyes look ahead and see rising prices, striking workers and energy shortages.
In the midst of our worries help us find security in your unceasing love for us.
We ask for protection for the weakest, courage for the vulnerable, and hope for the frightened.
Do not let our worst fears come to pass, but flood the hearts of those who make decisions with generosity, compassion and justice.
And so may your children be glad to be alive and turn to you with grateful praise.
Signpost to resources or start an initiative?
This will depend on your context and the issue(s) you are seeking to address. However you choose to respond, building relationships is crucial to walking alongside others.
For more difficult scenarios, an accredited adviser or experienced organisation is needed. Equally we don’t want to be duplicating fantastic work that already exists. In these cases, signposting or referring is therefore hugely important. You’ll find many organisations or information to point people to under the Support for Individuals heading.
You may also consider starting an initiative where there is a growing need that isn’t being met by existing organisations. This could be through partnering with other local charities or groups. It’s worth remembering that some needed support is not particularly complicated. Your church could provide basic support and advice to help people to navigate complicated language, forms, or systems. You’ll find more information in the pages below, and under Support for Churches you’ll find resources for your church to set up specific initiatives.
Whatever steps your church takes, remember to communicate what support is available to your communities.
In this section...
Where to go to get help with debt and money, resources for finding a job and wage queries, and guidance on bills.
Guidance for churches looking to start their own initiatives or campaigning to encourage advocacy in their congregations.
Advice on grants and funds to assist clergy in the Diocese of Oxford and their families.
Things to consider for churches looking to offer a warm space this winter and resources to help.
The church has sometimes been accused of thinking we have the answers without involving those who are experiencing the problems we are aiming to solve. Citizens UK’s community organising iron rule is;
“Don’t do for others what they can do for themselves.”
This means listening to those struggling to find out what it really is that they need, not assuming we know best. It also means involving people and empowering them to do things for themselves.
We also need to consider whether assistance is a temporary fix (and, of course, urgent practical action is needed right now) and whether there is an underlying issue that can also be addressed to make a longer-term impact.
If you’d like more information or to discuss issues related to the cost-of-living crisis, please contact Hannah Ling, our Social Justice Adviser.