Poverty Truth Commission challenges 'template mentality', says church leader

By staff writers
June 1, 2011

Dr Alison Elliot, the first woman in history to be moderator of the Church of Scotland's General Assembly in 2004, has given a ringing endorsement to the work of the Poverty Truth Commission.

Speaking to the 2011 Assembly last week, seven years after her own elevation, Dr Eliot, who was a commissioner herself with the PTC, held it up as an example of good practice in seeking solutions to poverty from the ground-up rather than the top down.

Policy and practice to challenge poverty needs to utilise "the gifts of the people themselves, who know far more about poverty than those who look on from the sidelines," she declared to the packed Assembly - the Presbyterian denomination's national governing body, which meets annually.

The Poverty Truth Commission (http://www.povertytruthcommission.org/) has come up with fresh, significant ideas in areas like kinship care, violence reduction (in cooperation with Strathclyde police) and families in need, Dr Eliot added.

Encouraging the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, the Scottish Government and the Westminster Government to pay heed to the PTC's process, style and findings, the former moderator said that it's strength was listening to and involving "ordinary people bossed around by people in power".

The Poverty Truth Commission's approach also challenges the "template mentality" to policy-making of "those who think they know best but don't", she declared.

The 'People in Poverty' report on the Poverty Truth Commission was warmly received by the Kirk's General Assembly, which also gave an ovation to the Rev Martin Johnstone, the Church's urban adviser, who is secretary to the PTC as well as CEO of Faith in Community Scotland.

* Poverty Truth Commission latest news: http://povertytruthcommission.blogspot.com/

* Faith in Community Scotland: http://faithincommunityscotland.org/

* More from Ekklesia on the Kirk General Assembly: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/kirkgeneralassembly


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