A new report from the Evangelical Alliance in Scotland has revealed just how much churches have stepped up to help others during the pandemic.
The report entitled “Stories of Hope” assessed what churches all over the nation did between May and July this year.
It found that there were 212,214 individual acts of support at 181 locations. It also showed that 3,212 volunteers and staff helped out, and there were 89 different community projects. The amount of people that received help from churches totalled to 55,671.
Fred Drummond from the Evangelical Alliance in Scotland said churches were creative in how they responded to the coronavirus crisis.
“We saw churches involved in all sorts of things, from giving food out to people, to opening their buildings up to be used by councils, from checking on the vulnerable, to having a phone line for people with mental health issues.
“And one of the amazing things is the way in which the Church, from the borders of Scotland up to the Highlands, we're starting to find creative partnerships, with councils, with other churches, with the voluntary sector, even with supermarkets. They saw a need and then in the love of God, actually got involved where they were of most use.”
The report highlights several stories from people who have been helped in some way by a church during the pandemic.
One of them is of a young mother named Marie who lives with her partner and four children in a two bedroom flat in a tower block in Aberdeen.
She first connected with Seaton Community Church through the mums and toddlers group. The report said she faced financial hardship when lockdown happened, so she turned to the church’s packed lunch project for help. The church provided daily meals and also supported with mental, emotional and spiritual support.
The report added: “This lifted a huge financial and emotional pressure off her shoulders and she has now become part of the wider church community, watching church online as well building deeper friendships with others locally.”
Drummond said he was elated learning how much of an impact Christians have made in Scotland this year.
“I'm incredibly humbled when I've been reading the stories… of the way in which God has been at work touching hearts and lives.
“It’s such a great story of the difference that church, in the heart of a community reaching out in the love of God, can make.”
The report will be presented to Holyrood.