CARE has its roots in the 1971 Nationwide Festival of Light which took place in Trafalgar Square on 25 September 1971. The crowd in Trafalgar Square heard proclamations to the Government, the media and church leaders on issues of concern. Then they marched to Hyde Park. By early evening, 60,000 were present.
The need for ongoing work, research, guidance and campaigning was realised. Peter Hill and Steve Stevens laid the foundation for an expanding Christian witness. Colonel Orde Dobbie was the first Chairman, the Reverend Don Irving and the Reverend Eddie Stride followed. Christians in the arts, church, industry, media, trade unions and Parliament gave their support through a Council of Reference.
From March to September 1972 Land Aflame rallies were held across the country. A Nationwide Petition for Public Decency was organised. There were open-air Gospel music festivals. The London Festival for Jesus offered a Christian lifestyle teach-in with Gospel outreach and music.
In 1983 the Executive Committee took the decision to change the name of NFOL to CARE (Christian Action Research and Education). Raymond Johnston became Director of CARE Campaigns and Consultant to CARE Trust. Sadly he did not live to see the development of a national network of caring and campaigning. He died in the autumn of 1985.
In 1988 CARE moved to 53 Romney Street in Westminster, nearer to the Houses of Parliament, and began to develop into the form in which it is found today. During the next few decades new departments such as CARE for Education, CareConfidential, Caring Services, Care for the Family, long term and remand Fostering and evaluate all became part of CARE. This was as a recognition of the importance that Christians should be able to show active care alongside campaigning for moral standards in our society.
However, with the exception of evaluate – CARE’s sex and relationships education initiative – all these areas of the work have now either become independent of CARE (Care for the Family, CareConfidential) or ceased to exist (Caring Services, Care for Education, Fostering). However, CARE works closely alongside other organisations – CareConfidential, Care for the Family, Beyond the Streets and others.
Since 1992 about 220 graduates have passed through this education programme. They are placed with MPs, MSPs or in Christian NGOs for four days a week and spend Fridays at Romney Street. The present cohort has 13 graduates.