Faith Communities

We humbly suggest:

  • Faith communities provide much more than just religious programs for their own adherents.
  • Faith communities in Canada are active contributors to the common good, to the development of individual and group meaning, conscience, and ethics, and to inclusive communal bonds.
  • Faith communities provide social, recreational and artistic programs and services to everyone in the surrounding community, either directly or by supporting other organizations.

 

Diakonia Project

The Cardus Religious Freedom Institute’s Diakonia Project presents a series of eight different faith-based initiatives from different regions of the country meeting different social and economic challenges. The Greek word diakonia means the act of being called to serve. These initiatives show how Canadians of faith serve others and in so doing help to restore, sustain, and build Canadian communities.

These Canadians, our neighbours, do not undertake this work for the good of their own faith group, but for the good and the life of all. In most cases they are volunteers engaged in efforts that receive little to no government or corporate funding. When asked why he is involved in one such initiative, a volunteer said “because my deep faith calls me to do so.”

Through the Diakonia Project the impactful work of these eight initiatives is revealed through profiles authored by people directly involved and through more in-depth case studies by Cardus writers. Together they reveal what these initiatives are, who is involved in them, and why do they do what they do.

Often religious freedom is confused in our present day with the freedom to worship. While the ability to worship in peace and security is a core element of religious freedom fully lived it is not the only one. The Diakonia Project highlights that religious freedom is also the freedom to live out one’s deepest held beliefs through concrete actions that promote the common good.

Supporting Research

Valuing Toronto's Faith Congregations
Start Here
Mike Wood Daly
June 16, 2016
Churches and faith communities of various traditions have a great deal to offer to society and to the common good. Typically, these contributions have focused on qualitative contributions that congregations make to the cultural, spiritual, and social well-being of the communities that surround them. Few studies, however, have assessed these contributions in quantitative monetary terms. Even fewer, qualitative or quantitative, have begun to explore how these realities might create a space for faith communities at the social policy table. Welcome to the Halo Project.
A Good Fit
Catherine Pakaluk , Nicholas Swanson
December 13, 2021
In this report we describe the first study that has assessed the value of a religious “good fit” in education. Using US data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 (NLSY97), the study estimated a religious match effect, which is the difference in standardized test scores for students paired to schools of their same religion, after controlling for other variables.
Summary: Who We Will Become: A Survey of Children’s Public Lives in Christian Thought
Peter Jon Mitchell
December 8, 2021
A Cardus Research Brief

Explorations

Exit COVID: Toward What Matters Most (Two Night Virtual Event)
June 22, 2021
Join us as we Exit COVID: Toward what matters most.
Religion and Refugee Resettlement in Canada
May 20, 2021
A conversation based on Geoff Cameron's recently published a book on how the US and Canada have led the world in refugee resettlement, and how faith-based organizations played an essential role in this key aspect of global refugee protection.
A COVID Cold Shoulder for Churches
Convivium
Peter Stockland
March 25, 2021
Peter Stockland reports on a group of B.C. Canadian Reformed Churches going to court to be allowed to come in out of the rain and worship together.

Media Coverage

Billions engage with religion on social media
Voice of Islam
December 24, 2021
Ray Pennings, Executive Vice-President and Co-Founder of Cardus, joins The Breakfast Show podcast on Voice of Islam Radio in the United Kingdom to discuss the intersection of religious faith with social media and the growth of secularism.
Pandemic takes toll on charitable giving
The Catholic Register
November 6, 2021
“One of the largest influences on whether or not somebody gives, and gives regularly, is their religious commitment,” Cardus Vice-President of External Affairs Brian Dijkema tells The Catholic Register in this story about declining charitable giving in Canada. Photo by Katt Yukawa on Unsplash
Managers shouldn't decide if employee vaccine views are valid: federal unions
Ottawa Citizen
October 29, 2021
“Typically, even the courts themselves have been pretty hesitant to decide what’s religiously valid or invalid according to somebody’s belief,” says Cardus Vice-President of External Affairs Brian Dijkema in this Canadian Press story about vaccine mandates and exemptions, religious or otherwise. Photo by Spencer Davis on Unsplash

What else are we working toward?

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Strong Family Projects Human Dignity Projects Religious Freedom Projects Healthy Community Projects Formative Education Projects Recent Projects
Strong Family Projects Human Dignity Projects Religious Freedom Projects Healthy Community Projects Formative Education Projects Recent Projects
Strong Family Projects Human Dignity Projects Religious Freedom Projects Healthy Community Projects Formative Education Projects Recent Projects
Strong Family Projects Human Dignity Projects Religious Freedom Projects Healthy Community Projects Formative Education Projects Recent Projects
Strong Family Projects Human Dignity Projects Religious Freedom Projects Healthy Community Projects Formative Education Projects Recent Projects
Recent Research
Recent Media Coverage