Glasgow church leaders and politicians sign historic accord

 One of the late Cardinal Winning's dreams became a reality yesterday, as church leaders, council officials and politicians signed a declaration, pledging to work together to form the Glasgow Churches Social Action Alliance. The alliance will offer public bodies a 'one-stop-shop' where they can find out about the services offered by churches. It will also enable private and public organisations to link up with dozens of multi-denominational church related groups across the city. Through the scheme they will be able to access research undertaken by church groups on a host of subjects including health, poverty, social inclusion, drug addiction and education. The declaration was signed at Glasgow City Chambers by the Scottish Executive minister for social justice Jackie Baillie, Lord Provost Alex Mosson, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland the Rt Rev John Miller and Administrator of the Archdiocese of Glasgow, Mgr John Gilmartin. Cardinal Winning helped pioneer the initiative. Rev John Matthews, a Church of Scotland minister from Ruchill and one of the initiative's organisers, said: "We want to create a new era of partnership between the churches and the civil authorities. "A lot of people think help from the churches comes with a sermon and prayer, but every night in Glasgow, scores of devoted workers from Christian groups work quietly and diligently helping the city's needy. "We need to pull together to improve this and our relationship with the public agencies, as well as each other. So far we have been greatly heartened by the enthusiasm shown by both the Executive and the city council." Ms Baillie said: "I recognise that the efforts of government agencies alone will not be enough in reaching those who are most in need of help and support. This launch underlines the important role which the churches play in helping to tackle poverty and social exclusion."

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