Micah Challenge UK urges anti-poverty action pledges

By staff writers
24 Aug 2010

Micah Challenge UK is encouraging Christians in Britian to get on board with an anti-poverty action pledge, following the example of public figures.

The Archbishop of York has promised to launch a global charity for those in need, the Chief Executive of aid agency Tearfund has promised to inspire his children afresh about world poverty and Andy Flannagan, songwriter and Director of the Christian Socialist Movement, has promised to be part of changing the global economic system.

These are just a few of the promises being made at the request of Micah Challenge to help end world poverty and "to remind our leaders that, ten years into a fifteen year commitment to halve global poverty, it’s time to act," says the campaign.

‘What’s Your Promise?’ is part of the Micah 2010 campaign being mobilised by Micah Challenge around the world. The promises of Christians, around the globe, will be brought together on Sunday 10th October (10.10.10) when over 100 million people worldwide will stand united in prayer and commitment to a life that remembers those in poverty.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has spoken out strongly in support of the Micah 2010 campaign.

He declared: “When God tells us to remember the poor he is not simply asking us to give them a thought from time to time. Remembrance in the Bible is a very real and active thing… So in this crucial year when the Millennium Development Goals are very much on our minds, when we need to think and pray harder than ever to see what can be achieved by 2015, our remembrance must be a renewal of relationship.”

The UK Director of Micah Challenge, Andy Clasper, said, “We are asking people to make a promise to live in a way that remembers those in poverty and to start by making a promise in one area of their life. I have been encouraged that even those who have been involved with these issues for many years are thinking and living differently as a result of making their promise.”

So far hundreds of people have promised to waste less, to shop with the poor in mind, to campaign and speak out, to educate and influence others, to give more of their time and their money, to reduce their carbon footprint and to pray diligently for those in need.

Christians in the public eye have made their own very personal promises as part of the campaign and to set the ball rolling. The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, has promised to make a difference to those in poverty by launching his charity ACTS435 around the world. He said, “It is important churches help those in need in practical ways.”

The Anglican Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Rev John Pritchard, has promised to keep the Millennium Development Goals as the touchstone of his concern for those trapped in poverty. He said, “I hope many in the Diocese of Oxford will join me in making this promise and then keeping it.”

Andy Flannagan has made the bold promise to be part of changing the global economic system. He commented, “I feel it is easy to just hand over cash to mend what is broken, but what is more important is tracking back to improve the structures so that new victims don’t go on being made.”

Matthew Frost, Chief Executive of Christian relief and development agency Tearfund, has promised to encourage his children, as they grow up, to have a greater hunger to act justly and love mercy in the context of world poverty.

Many Christians are already seeing their lives changed as a result of their promise, says Micah Challenge UK. Caroline Williams promised to alter the way she shops so that she now always asks the question, “Does this item help or hurt the poor?” The 40-year-old from St Albans commented, “I’ve started to put this into action. During a cycle ride from Whitehaven to Tynemouth in July I bought fair-trade coffee and orange juice along the way. I celebrated in Tynemouth with a bar of Cadbury’s fair-trade chocolate and then bought a fair-trade latte from Starbucks at Newcastle station.”

The campaign has been welcomed by Stephen Timms, MP for East Ham and Labour’s Vice Chair for Faith Groups. He commented: “ UK churches have consistently – and successfully – campaigned for Britain to be at the forefront of tackling poverty around the world. Government has been profoundly influenced – in fact, Britain ’s whole political culture has been uplifted because so many individual Christians have gone out of their way to take part in campaigning.”

Micah Challenge is a global movement reminding political leaders of 189 nations about the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) crucial promises made to halve extreme poverty by 2015.

More information at: www.micahchallenge.org.uk

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