Christian activists challenge economic orthodoxy with anti-poverty resources

By staff writers
20 Jan 2010

Insisting that “there is enough for all”, three church organisations have challenged their supporters to share, exchange and re-use, in order to combat the hardships of the economic downturn.

The call comes ahead of Poverty and Homelessness Action Week, due to begin on Saturday 30 January.

“We have had enough of an economic system built on greed and selfishness. There is another way” says the Action Week manifesto.

The three groups – Church Action on Poverty, Housing Justice and Scottish Churches’ Housing Action – made their appeal for a changed approach as they published 12 Baskets, a booklet which “provides ideas for individuals and communities to respond to the recession by living more simply and sharing what we have”.

They described it as an alternative to the approach represented by bankers who “count their bonuses in hundreds of thousands”.

Other resource materials available on www.actionweek.org.uk include worship guides and material for work with children and young people. The website also includes a map of all the events being planned in churches and communities across the UK.

Perhaps most importantly, 12 Baskets contains examples of practical ways in which people already share hospitality, food, transport and lifestyles. They include schemes such as Nightstop, which provides emergency accommodation in hosts’ own homes, alongside ethical banking projects, food co-operatives and furniture recycling.

The title 12 Baskets is taken from the New Testament account of Jesus’ feeing of the 5,000, when all the people “ate and were filled. When they collected the leftover pieces, there were 12 baskets” (Luke 9,17).

“The gap between rich and poor is growing” said Liam Purcell of Church Action on Poverty, “But everyone can help to close it by operating outside the cash economy – through the basics of helping each other, sharing our insights and our skills, and showing that there are other ways of living our life.”

To view the resources, visit www.actionweek.org.uk.

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