Church and Social Responsibility Committee

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Most Baptist Union of Wales committees are forums for integrating Assembly activities, and this was true of the committee which now meets as the Citizenship Committee of the Baptist Union of Wales. Since the early 20th century, the Committee has been involved in churches’ concerns regarding specific topics. Alcoholism was a major concern in the late 19th century, and a committee was established under the title of Temperance and Mores. A campaign was put in motion to obtain the signatures of ministers and church officials, confirming that they renounced alcohol – the Pledge. The Committee barely argued against war, although many ministers were conscientious objectors. During the twenties and thirties of the 20th century, the churches became more aware of poverty concerns in the wake of periods of recession. By this time, the likes of Lewis Valentine were providing a strong leadership for peace, and the cause of Free Wales was gaining prominence.  

During the second half of the 20th century, other leaders emerged and the emphasis shifted towards making statements on various topics, for example peace, Welsh-language rights and homelessness, and expressing concerns regarding refugees in the wake of the Second World War. As organizations such as Christian Aid and the Fellowship of Reconciliation attracted support, churches lobbied politicians and released press statements, contributing to a wider debate.

Another development that promoted greater interest and understanding was the Free Church Council of Wales and the Council of Churches for Wales. This was an organization that later evolved and become known as CYTÛN. This denominational body had three working groups, one of which was the Wales and the World Working Group. With the coming of the Assembly (Senedd Cymru), churches now had the means to communicate with Welsh politics, and rightly so. Other bodies, such as the Council on Alcohol, were included to report to this committee, and the debate and nature of the concern for justice widened. Focus on the environment and ethnic minority rights, the rights of black people and women’s rights also developed. Part of this Committee’s work ethos is Jesus’ basic command to love God and our fellow men. It is claimed that neither can be practised without the other.