UK Politicians Recognise Easter as a Source of Hope and Motivation for Social Action

Jessamin Birdsall

This past Easter weekend, Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn, and Sadiq Khan all shared holiday greetings and reflected on the meaning of Easter for British society.

Though these three leaders differ in political ideology, they all agreed that Easter – the most significant event in the Christian calendar – inspires hope and motivates love of neighbour.

Theresa May commented that in the face of adversity, ‘the Easter story contains an inspiring promise of new life and the triumph of hope.’ The crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus demonstrate God’s power over the forces of suffering and darkness and offer hope for all people to experience healing and abundant life.

As Christians, we are called not only to embrace the hope of the resurrection for ourselves, but to be ambassadors of that hope in our communities. Experiencing God’s compassion in our own lives motivates us to extend compassion to our neighbours through acts of generosity and sacrificial love.

In his Easter remarks, Sadiq Khan observed that Christians are doing exactly this:

‘As Mayor I have witnessed first-hand the incredible contribution London’s Christian communities make to our city. Whether it’s providing shelter to homeless or aid to refugees, I’ve been humbled by your acts of kindness, charity and extraordinary generosity.’

Jeremy Corbyn similarly observed:

‘Churches throughout our country supported by Christian volunteers are providing soup kitchens, food banks and shelter for those most in need, to people of all faiths and none.’

Sadiq Khan and Jeremy Corbyn’s observations about churches find support in the Church in Action research report.

Across the UK, 70% of Anglican churches run three or more organised activities for the benefit of their local communities. These include English courses for refugees, lunch clubs for isolated elderly people, and football clubs for marginalised youth. 93% of churches support food banks, by running them directly and/or by providing space, donations, volunteers, or pastoral support. In formal or informal ways, 83% of churches are involved in supporting people with mental health problems, 90% with food poverty, and 94% with loneliness.[1]

Through these acts of compassion towards our neighbours, Christians participate in God’s work of extending hope to all people created in his image.

While the church is doing a lot, there is still much more to be done. We live in a world where family breakdown, social fragmentation, economic inequality, racism, and conflict continue to restrict human freedom and fruitfulness. This is why we at the Church Urban Fund are committed to equipping the church to live out the Easter message of hope through social action that promotes the flourishing of all individuals and communities.  

To learn more about how churches are engaging in social action, see our Church in Action report.

[1] Church in Action: A National Survey, CUF and the Church of England, 2018.