Church Action on Poverty marks its continuing quest for justice in the UK

By staff writers
June 21, 2007

This month and next month the campaigning group Church Action on Poverty (CAP) will mark 25 years of action for social justice alongside those at the bottom of the economic, social and political pile in modern Britain.

In recognition of its Mancunian roots, the organisation - which has backers from all denominations and traditions, as well as links with secular NGOs - is holding a service and reception at Manchester Cathedral to celebrate the occasion on Friday 13 July 2007.

The celebration is to be lead by the Dean of Manchester, the Very Rev Rogers Govender. There will also be an address by Deacon Lewis Rose, Church Action on Poverty chairperson and co-ordinator of Scottish Churches Industrial Mission.

Among the others taking part will be Paul Goggins, Labour MP for Wythenshawe & Sale East, CAP’s second National Co-ordinator. The first was John Battle, the Leeds MP who became Tony Blair's 'faith czar' and is also an ex-government minister.

Mr Goggins was appointed Minister in the Northern Ireland Office with responsibility for Health, Security and Prisons, following the Cabinet reshuffle in May 2006.

He is also the co-founder of the All Party Parliamentary Friends of CAFOD (Catholic Fund for Overseas Development) group and is Secretary of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Poverty.

A separate parliamentary reception, hosted by John Battle MP is taking place next Tuesday, 26 June 2007. Speakers will include Baroness the Rev Kathleen Richardson, a Methodist working peer, and the Anglican Bishop of Ripon, the Rt Rev John Packer - who has been outspoken on social justice, migration and asylum issues.

Church Action on Poverty was launched in 1982 as an ecumenical Christian response to the re-emergence of poverty as a major issue of public concern in the UK.

It rapidly grew into a widely respected and effective campaigning organisation within the churches, working in partnership with people in poverty and a wide range of other partners across the United Kingdom.

"Over the past quarter of a century, we have appreciated the support we have received from a wide range of organisations and individuals," said a CAP spokesperson of the anniversary.

"As well as celebrating the past, we hope to use the occasion of our quarter century to share some of our hopes and plans for the future."

Church Action on Poverty has largely succeeded in 'mainlining' its concerns within the churches, building on the earlier wor og pioneers like the late Anglican Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Rev David Sheppard, whose book 'Bias to the Poor' established poverty as a key biblical concern for many Christians.

Another landmark was the publication of the Church of England 'Faith in the City' report in 1985, dubbed by some Conservative MPs 'Marxist', but subsequently seen to be rather moderate in its approach.

CAP has support across the political and religious spectrum, and has also drawn on the more radical traditions of Christian political theology.

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