Faith - too significant to ignore17 Dec 2014
Faith - too significant to ignore - Daniel Singleton, FaithAction
Sonia says :
All too often we see faith in a negative light, whether it be around radicalisation or separation from wider society.
But this is not the faith I know. For me faith holds the values that makes and binds a harmonious society. It is expressed through kindness, good deeds and taking responsibility.
At Jewish Care this is played out by over 3,000 people each year who give their time as volunteers to help in our management, day services, social work, care homes and much more. It is about services that bring together young and old, people with impairments and the able bodied, people of all faiths working and volunteering to provide support and connection to people of a specific faith.
It is also about history and tradition that on one hand has been turbulent and the other is rich in culture, aspirations and deeds.
Faith is about family and community. For those with no family it means that you know you have a community with a shared history who can become your family. It means that if you live alone or move from one place to another you can easily find a home in a community of people who have similar beliefs, backgrounds and history and who just get you without too much explanation.
Just seeing so many faith based organisations at the recent FaithAction conference in London and hearing about the innovative and caring responses to issues so many people face demonstrates that faith, in its pure form, with its essence of ethics and responsibility is truly awe-inspiring. Such manifestations of cannot be ignored without losing the fabric of a caring society.
And FaithAction, apart from being made up of an incredible team of professionals who I call my friends, is continuing to play the role of raising the head of faith above the parapet and celebrating its role in society. There are many interfaith organisations, but that is not the role of Faith Action. This is an organisation that helps all of us in faith based provision of service, feel proud of what we do and recognise that the faith element, which often is not about religious practice, or even G-d, is the driver for what we do.
In a changing world where everything is being narrowed down into universal services, without faith based organisaations we could lose the uniqueness of understanding how people need to connect, especially when times are tough, with others who will understand their essence and not just their needs.
Sonia Douek is Head of volunteering and community development at Jewish Care and has developed a strategy for the organisation that has seen the growth of volunteers in the organisation reach 3,000 people.