ALMOST 100 churches and individuals have signed up to a new course entitled Act on Poverty, aimed at encouraging people to put their faith into action in the run up to a General Election.
International development agency Christian Aid has joined forces on the initiative with partner organisations – including the Baptist Union, Methodist Church, United Reformed Church, Church Action on Poverty, and the Trussell Trust.
Over six weeks, those taking part will find out more about the reality of poverty both in their communities and around the world, through activities designed to inspire them to take actions such as engaging with MPs.
The series of resource packs contain guidance for short Bible studies; recordings of conversations with activists; questions and prompts for group discussions; videos about taking practical action; and a guide to steps churches can take to advocate for change.
Christian Aid Campaigns and Activism Officer Katrine Musgrave explained: “We have hope for a world where there is justice for all and we believe our relationships and communities can be restored and transformed. With a General Election approaching, we have an opportunity to unite our churches with a compelling message for our next Government: it is time to act on poverty.
“We hope churches around the country will sign up to Act on Poverty and we look forward to seeing the results of their actions.”
Chief Executive of Christian Aid Patrick Watt said working in partnership is a core principle of Christian Aid, adding: “This course demonstrates the power of people coming together in faith. Every prayer, every gift, every action helps transform lives and I look forward to seeing church communities taking part in this initiative and putting into practice what they have discovered to tackle the injustice of poverty and its effects, both locally and globally.”
Church leaders around the country are supporting the initiative.
The Bishop of Durham, the Rt Rev Paul Butler, said: “Poverty is not a new problem and its effects are widespread, impacting people’s lives and futures. We see it in our neighbourhoods and we see it in vulnerable communities around the world.”
The Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt Rev Dr Guli Francis-Dehqani, added: “Loving our neighbours means living out our faith on a local and global scale. This course offers valuable resources to help us make a difference by speaking out and engaging decision makers.”
And the Rev Gill Newton, President of the Methodist Conference, said: “If as a church or a small group within a church, you are wondering what to do next in your stand against injustice or in your endeavours to play your part by being a justice-seeking church, why not take a look at the Act For Poverty resource?
“This inspired new resource created by JPIT (Joint Public Issues Team of the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church), in partnership with Christian Aid and others, provides a wonderful opportunity for both learning together and being stirred into action as the General Election draws closer. We serve a God of justice – this resource can help us all to use our voices and our votes to help make tackling poverty a priority.”
* Sign up for the course here.
* Source: Christian Aid