Social Action: Reading and Guidance

We are pleased to list below some short and insightful introductions to topical issues around faith-based social action in England and Wales (and further afield), published by other organisations.  These are in the public domain – copyright and the views expressed belong to the authors.

We welcome suggestions of other similar resources – send an email to

[Note to Readers: If you are looking for CSAN publications, please see this page.]


General Introductions

Introduction to Catholic Social Teaching – including reflections from charities and individuals in England and Wales.

Calling People of Goodwill – pocket-sized booklet exploring the common good in the Bible. ‘A real treasure… A great resource’ – Cardinal Nichols.  Produced by Together for the Common Good.  Buy from Bible Society

Keeping the Faith: A Short Guide for Faith-Based Organisations (pdf, 5.7mb) – Theos and Centre for Theology and Community. Practical guidance on sharing faith in the context of serving communities.

The Social Mission of the Church – Thomas Storck, in ‘Distributist Review’ (USA).  A challenge to Catholics, to engage fully in contributing to what Pope St. John Paul called, ‘a civilisation of love‘.

Faith and Action  – Caritas Europa’s contribution to the theology of charity and Catholic social thought.


Parish/Community Development

Love in Action – produced by Caritas Westminster (CSAN member). This programme is designed to introduce parish groups to Catholic Social Teaching, and give them the tools to start their own social outreach projects.

Starting your own project – Church Urban Fund (CUF).  A resource designed for use in conjunction with CUF’s Near Neighbours programme, which aims to foster initiatives that bring together local people of varied religions and racial backgrounds, but transferable to other settings.

Caritas in Action – produced by Caritas Salford (CSAN member). This is an educational and formation programme for schools on Catholic Social Teaching.

Faithful Citizens: A Practical Guide to Catholic Social Teaching and Community Organising, Austen Ivereigh, 2010.  Book to buy – Foyles

Women and Poverty toolkit  (pdf, 2mb) – The National Board of Catholic Women (CSAN member) produced this toolkit to empower women to challenge the system and structures that fail to address poverty, get involved and make a difference.

Positive Faith – Produced by Catholics for AIDS Prevention and Support (CAPS – CSAN member).  This resource encourages and supports Christians struggling with a diagnosis of HIV; explains why faith is important to many people with HIV, and supports parishes on welcoming and involving people with HIV.

Engaging with your Local Authority and Other Partners (pdf, 5mb) – produced by Commission



The Calix Society – for Catholics recovering from alcoholism; includes guidance on setting up groups in parishes.

Cenacolo UK – residential community for young people overcoming drug use and other addictions.

Integrity Restored – US site for Catholics who regularly view pornography.


Food, Agriculture and Rural Issues

Vocation of the Agricultural Leader – Catholic Rural Life (USA, with international collaboration) – This reflection applies Catholic social thought to contemporary farming and food systems.  It shows how careful formation of agricultural and food system leaders is vital if, in their business practices, they are to serve the common good, promote the dignity of farm workers, and care for the earth.


Housing and Homelessness

‘Homelessness: Are We Really Helping?’ – Together Middlesbrough and Cleveland, July 2015 (pdf, 0.3mb) – an excellent interpretation of the tensions between voluntary and professional support to people who are homeless, re-framed in terms of grace and truth.  Produced with support from Church Urban Fund.

‘Churches can help provide affordable housing’ – Joint Public Issues Team (Baptists, Church of Scotland, Methodists, URC), 2014.  A useful practical guide for churches on converting their buildings and land into truly affordable housing.  Provides pointers to further contacts.

Hosting Toolkit – No Accommodation Network (NACCOM), July 2017.  Some households offer a spare room free to someone who would otherwise be homeless.  This toolkit shows how to set up a voluntary hosting scheme, and includes case studies.


Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery

Victims of Human Trafficking – 8-minute film (not suitable for younger viewers) in which people talk about their experience.  Through the Santa Marta Group, the Catholic Church is working with international law enforcement agencies on how to help victims.

The Clewer Initiative – training and resources for parish-based action, offered by the Church of England.



Connecting Communities: The Impact of Loneliness and Opportunities for Churches to Respond (pdf, 0.4mb), Church Urban Fund, July 2016.  Churches are uniquely placed to support the lonely people in our communities. Their local presence and existing community life make churches a welcoming place for people of all ages and stages of life.  This paper provides guidance for church activities based on the latest research; it details how we should understand loneliness and how to work most effectively alongside those who feel lonely.


Mental Health and Dementia

Catholic Mental Health Project – offers support, practice resources and small grants to local Catholic communities.  An initiative of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.

Dementia and spirituality online toolkit – produced by Welcome Me As I Am and Caritas Social Action Network, this resource reflects on how to accompany those whose lives have been touched by dementia in their spiritual journey – how to understand and nurture the God-given ‘ME’, and so enable deepened practice of our faith.

Tips for a more welcoming and supportive faith community – produced by Faith Action.

Older People

Growing Old Gracefully – A guide for parishes on learning from and caring for older people, which originated from the Catholic Diocese of Leeds.

Linking Lives supports churches to set up schemes for befriending older people, including some initial grant funding.

The Leveson Centre for the study of Ageing, Spirituality and Social Policy offers many practical publications at low cost on how churches can improve quality of life for older people.


Refugees and Migrants

Clergy Hosting – London-based scheme to offer ‘spare rooms’, not only in clergy houses, to people whose asylum/immigration cases are being considered by the Home Office.  Organised by Capital Mass – a partnership of the Anglican Diocese of London and Church Urban Fund.



Safeguarding guidelines of the Roman Catholic Church, produced by Catholic Safeguarding Advisory Services (CSAS), a member of CSAN.


Work and Faith

Work Matters – Being ‘whole-life disciples’.  The London Institute for Contemporary Christianity has published many resources for individuals and group work, including a ‘Transforming Work‘ programme to support self-organising church/parish groups of up to 12 people.  They also offer a programme for mid-senior level executives. ‘The primary action of the Church in the world is the action of its members in their daily work.’ (Lesslie Newbigin).



The Art of Dying Well – website produced by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.