Following the Publication of the Integrated Communities Strategy, the Church of England's Mission and Public Affairs Council has issued the following statement:
"We welcome this Green Paper as a very positive step towards a national debate and programme of action to make our communities places where everyone - whatever their background – can live, work, learn and socialise together, based on shared rights, responsibilities and opportunities.
"This aim is entirely at one our vision for the nation, committed to the common good, recognising all as made in the image of God.
"We also warmly welcome the importance accorded in this document to the place of faith institutions in building integration.
"We are confident that faith communities will respond to the positive challenges here and we will seek to name and challenge any abuse which we find – in all communities - and seek the paths of change, reconciliation and healing.
"And we welcome the recognition given to the importance of speaking a common language and draw attention to the vital work being carried out already by and in many Church of England parishes and schools.
"We are concerned, however, that valuable projects already promoting integration through the Near Neighbours programme may have to come to an end as a result of a reduction in overall funding indicated in this Green Paper. We have already sought reassurances from the Government on this matter.
"The Church of England will, together with individual dioceses, individuals and groups, will be making a formal response to the Consultation in due course."