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The community services of First United Church : a case-study of the relation of the ministry of the church, social work, and neighborhood rehabilitation Morrow, Henry McFarlane

Abstract

The Protestant Church has a tradition of active participation in the life of the community. This tradition comes from a conviction that the church has a responsibility to work for the well-being of society. The United Church of Canada is active in the field of social action. It has also assumed responsibility for the operation of some social services. During the past twenty-five years the profession of social work has made tremendous strides and is now taking its place as one of the major professions. Many services, formerly offered by the church, are now included in distinctive social work agencies. The relationship between the church and these social work agencies is one that interests the writer. There are some within the church who would advocate a Protestant bloc of social services in the community, others feel the church's contribution must be indirect through the participation of its leaders and members in the work of the social agencies, and a few would restrict the church to a centre for worship and religious teaching. The secularism of the modern age has impelled many to consider the Protestant Church's relationship to education and social welfare. One of the principal home mission agencies of the Protestant church is the institutional church, a centre for a religious and social service ministry. These churches are situated in deteriorated parts of the city. Some would advocate an extension of this programme into the transitional areas of the city. This thesis has sought to examine the place of the church in social welfare programmes and to relate this to the study of an institutional church. First United Church is located on the periphery of a deteriorated area and is also adjacent to a transitional area in the city. Its programme has been studied in the light of its service to these specific areas. Finally, the Demonstration Housing Survey of the University of British Columbia is recommending that the Strathcona district be replanned and that a low-rent housing project be erected in this section of the city. Consideration has been given to the possible modification of services which would be indicated and the new opportunities for community service which would be presented if this project proceeds.

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