What does it mean to be a poor church, for the poor?

This is a question which Church Action on Poverty has wrestled with for more than 30 years, but one which we are now pursuing with renewed vigour through our  ‘Church on the Margins’ programme launched in summer 2016.

Our core mission is to help build a powerful movement within the churches based on genuine solidarity with people struggling to make ends meet. Our programmes and campaigns all work towards this goal.

But beyond this, what would it truly mean for the church to become, in the words of Pope Francis, “a poor Church, for the poor”? Pope Francis has certainly sought to model this in his own life, and his attempts to inspire the Roman Catholic Church to think and act differently. But the challenge applies equally to churches of all denominations.

  • We are building communities of praxis – local networks to help churches on the margins reflect on their mission and learn from one another
  • We are exploring how churches allocate their resources to communities on the margins
  • We are calling on the UK’s churches to prioritise the poorest communities in their mission and use of resources

if you want to get involved or know more, or if you know of a church that is leading by example, then contact our Research and Information Officer Sarah Purcell.

Or click on the links below for resources that will help you explore the ideas in your own church.

The header image was created by Beth Waters for the ESRC-funded ‘Life on the Breadline’ research project based at the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations, and is used with the permission of the project team.


Past reflections


Past reflections

See videos and reflections from previous online discussions
Catch up here

Church of the Poor?

Prayers and worship ideas on the theme of 'Church on the Margins'
Download resource

Exploring a Church of the Poor with children

Children's activities to support our 'Church on the Margins' programme
Download resource