Why do we need ROC?
I was watching the news recently and heard the startling fact that 1.7 million children in the UK are living below the poverty line. Our major cities are all affected and London has the biggest proportion of children living in severe poverty. We read in the newspapers each day about violent acts of crime, and the fear of crime is an ever present threat. We have some major challenges; in some places teen age pregnancy rates are increasing, anti-social behaviours affects many communities, 80% of crimes are fuelled by drugs and alcohol, many communities face issues affected by poverty and broken homes.
Sometimes the need we see around us is overwhelming and we may even feel that our contribution could make little difference. However, as Edmund Burke said “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing” and this is why we want to redeem communities across the UK.
In 1994 as I reflected on the needs of the city of my birth I wrote these words:
“In our dreams and visions we see crime rates dropping, violence decreasing, drug dealers disappearing, prostitution declining and apathy diminishing. We see business booming, housing improving, schools flourishing and hope rising. “
We have seen all these things in some measure and the work we do has spread across the UK, but there is still so much more we can do together to build safer, kinder communities for the sake of the next generation.
Debra Green OBE, Executive Director
Redeeming Our Communities (ROC) was launched in the North West in September 2004. Debra Green had been coordinating inter-church meetings across the Greater Manchester region for a number of years, and had also been developing links with members of the police force. In 1998 a meeting was gathered to thank the members of Greater Manchester Police and ‘Thank You’ posters were placed in every police station across Greater Manchester.
The fruit of this meeting was significant- relationships between the church and police in the city began to develop in a new way. The story of these developments can be read in Debra and Frank Green’s book, City Changing Prayer. Following Festival Manchester in 2003, which saw 500 churches from all denominations working on community projects, many people began to consult with Debra on how they could learn from the experience in Manchester and Redeeming Our Communities initiative was launched in 2004.