“You are the glue of our communities,” Andy Burnham tells religious leaders

Andy Burnham speaking to the Recovery Movement

Labor Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham told a group of religious leaders that “faith can reach areas politicians can never reach” to help communities recover from the Covid crisis.

Mr Burnham was speaking to the National Assembly of the Movement for Recovery (MfR) on Tuesday via a pre-recorded Zoom interview.

Led by Reverend Roger Sutton, co-chair of the Trafford Borough Strategic Partnership, the MfR was launched in June last year after a Zoom appeal with Mr Burnham attended by around 130 religious leaders.

Mr Burnham told the MfR assembly: “Recovery is going to be difficult. The academic side of educational recovery is going to be funded – guardians for some – but the social and emotional side of children’s recovery after all of this does not appear. be funded.

“The people on this call are in some ways better positioned to deal with the spiritual and emotional side of things than public agencies ever will be.

“So we’re going to have to take a whole-of-society approach to this.”

Mr Burnham, who served as Health Secretary from 2009-2010 in the Labor government led by Gordon Brown, added: ‘A reflection of when I was a minister in government – that was how the national government was reluctant to work with the religious community … because they thought it would cause division.

“But you are the glue of our communities, the foundation, and the resource that you potentially offer us is enormous if we can figure out how to mobilize it.

“As a country we have never really done that. We have never mobilized our religious communities together and the unity part of that is really important.

“It might be a challenge for some of you on this call, in terms of local relationships with different organizations. But the power comes from togetherness.

“Faith can reach areas that politicians can never reach.”

Bristol Labor Mayor Marvin Rees also addressed the assembly. He described the national government as “a bottleneck” that cannot evolve with the “pace and momentum” needed to enable the recovery of Covid.

“The government has to make room for other people, other talents, other energies to come forward,” said Mr. Rees, a practicing Christian who began his professional life with the Evangelical Agency of international development Tearfund.

“Churches must lead by example. If we are to come and ask politicians to chart a path to reconciliation across race and class lines and to care for the poor, it is not a prophetic act to demand that of politicians and show why the the world sucks. Show us how we do it. Be the living example. “

Mr Burnham said he would contact his fellow Metropolitan Mayors to brief them on MfR and the potential of churches in the network to help with post-Covid social action locally.

Including Mr Burnham, there are 10 Underground Mayors or ‘Combined Authorities’ in England serving Greater London, the Liverpool City area, the West Midlands, Tees Valley, the West of England, which includes Bristol, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, West Yorkshire, the Sheffield city region and North Tyne.

According to the Institute for Government, “Including Greater London, 41% of the English population (accounting for 43% of economic output but only 14% of the land area) now lives in areas with some form of decentralization agreement. mayors.

Reverend Sutton, a former Baptist minister, said the MfR grew out of the Gather national network of 120 Christian unity movements in British cities. He said churches in the Gather Network, which started 10 years ago, were primarily evangelical, Pentecostal and charismatic, but the movement now included Roman Catholic churches.

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