***ACTION OF THE WEEK***
CAAT - STOP THE ARMS FAIR
Week of Action 6th to 16th September 2021
Every two years, the global arms trade comes to London. DSEI, one of the world’s largest arms fairs, returns to London’s Docklands this September.
This is where those who profit from war, repression and injustice do business. This is where we can stop them.
1,700+ arms companies plan to set up shop, marketing their lethal wares to an expected 36,000+ attendees from around the world. This year they will be joined by companies selling surveillance equipment, drones and other tools of repression to police and state agencies, as Counter Terror Expo takes place alongside DSEI.
Arms fair organisers Clarion hope that DSEI will mark the arms industry’s “commitment to a return to live events”. A full programme of resistance is planned!
Each day of the week of action will be themed, with talks, music, art, workshops, actions and more. Current plans include days on Palestine Solidarity, Climate Justice, Migration and Borders and a Festival of Resistance. There will be food, welfare support and a space to pop your tent – as well as actions that you can take locally or from home – so get involved and join the week of action to #StopDSEI from 6th to 16th September 2021!
The full list of events is available here.
NEWS AND COMMENT
1. COP26 and Climate (includes Actions)
Bishop of Salford sends climate message to world leaders
On Friday the Right Reverend John Arnold, Bishop of Salford, streamed a special Service from Salford Cathedral, in which they unfurled a large green 'Eyes of the World' banner. It was created was to send a message to the UK government that there are high expectations for the outcomes of the climate talks (COP26) in Glasgow, in November, to tackle the climate crisis.
To read more about the Service and Bishop John's words, go to ICN.
Climate Pilgrims Blessed at St. Chad's, Birmingham
Pilgrims from the Young Christian Climate Network spent four days in Birmingham before being given a moving send-off on Friday 27th August to continue their Relay to COP26 in November. For details of their time in Birmingham, read the ICN article here.
Their next City stopovers will be in Manchester, York, Newcastle and Edinburgh, before finishing in Glasgow around the 30th October according to the YCCN website.
Please take time to check out the details of their Relay, and see whether you can join in at any of the events they have planned en route.
Pope Francis will not celebrate Mass in Glasgow
Pope Francis is planning on attending COP26 in Glasgow, but it has been confirmed that he will not be celebrating Mass as, according to the Catholic Church in Scotland, his schedule is too tight. I am sure that many Catholics in the UK will be disappointed that his visit will not include the celebration of Mass.
The BBC covers the article about him attending this meeting of World leaders. Also, The Glasgow Times covers the story, and at the end of the article, Pope Francis talks about the success of COP21 in Paris and the fact that everyone became more globally aware, but then after that a 'fear set in' and in subsequent meetings they took backward steps. His hope is that with Glasgow the sights will be set higher and everyone will be more in line.
Ask your MP to get behind Climate Justice - includes and Action
Fairtrade Foundation say: - Join us for Great Big Green Week. Wherever you live in the UK, this will be the perfect chance to speak up for farmers and workers facing the worst effects of the climate crisis every day. And just before a major UN climate summit - COP 26 - comes to Glasgow.
Ask your MP to back a fair climate promise for farmers and workers here. For more information on Great Big Green Week go to the Fairtrade Foundation website.
Focus or it's Game Over: a response to the climate emergency
Andy Atkins has written a good piece for The Tablet about what we should be doing to help with the climate emergency. As a first off, what about changing your energy suppliers to a green energy plan...Well worth a read.
New Coal Mine in Cumbria - includes an Action
Friends of the Earth write: - On the 7th September a public inquiry to decide the fate of the proposed new Whitehaven coal mine begins.
If given the final go-ahead by the government, these plans would have disastrous climate impacts – worsening a crisis that’s already devastating the lives and livelihoods of people across the world.
In the wake of scientists’ starkest warnings yet on the climate emergency it’s astonishing that projects like this one are even on the table.
Please sign the petition asking the Government to stop this climate-wrecking coal mine.
Refugees in Uganda plant 'Laudato Si' Garden'
ACI Africa writes: - Students at the Don Bosco Palabek Refugee Services in Uganda have launched a tree planting drive aimed at ending deforestation in the country by planting thousands of trees at their facility.
The Director of the refugee service in Uganda’s Gulu Archdiocese, Fr. Lazar Arasu, says that the East African country that once boasted of richness in tree cover has started experiencing severe effects of deforestation, adding that young people at the refugee facility have taken a lead in protecting the country’s environment.
According to Fr. Lazar, deforestation has led to losing some valuable resources, such as medicinal plants and trees, depletion of timber, fish, animals, flora and fauna. Read the full details here.
Bangladesh: Catholics plant a million trees
Again, another group of people, this time in Bangladesh, have planted around a million trees in groups and parishes in the various Catholic Dioceses. I loved this paragraph from the article in ICN: - Sujon Haldar received a mango seedling from the Bangladesh Christian Association as an example and planted it in the garden of his house: "These trees will give me shade, fruit and wood in the future. Trees are friends forever", he says, appreciating the initiative of the Catholic Church.
Work towards Pro-Poor Climate Change Policies
Trocaire Malawi have produced a good article by Philip Nyasulu, their Climate Disaster and Risk Reduction Officer, stating 'Without sufficient global leadership and financing, the problems created by climate change here in Malawi cannot be solved. As a landlocked country in southern Africa where more than 80 percent of the population reside in rural areas, the vast majority of Malawi’s 19 million inhabitants still depend on agriculture for their livelihood. The impacts of climate change threaten the production of staple foods that families rely on and are putting lives at risk. The fact that agricultural production is largely rainfed with little irrigation farming and therefore more susceptible to the vagaries of the unreliable rains and extreme weather only serves to heighten this risk. Climate change impacts other sectors such as fisheries and forestry – all which provide food and income to rural communities throughout Malawi.' He believes that COP26 is the best chance we have to address climate change before it becomes irreversible.
The full article is available to read here.
Video from the Pope: An Environmentally Sustainable Lifestyle
The Pope's video from September reflects on having an environmentally sustainable lifestyle. It is well worth a watch through Mill Hill Missionaries.
2. Refugees and the Situation in Afghanistan
Report on Afghan Refugees in Calais
Phil Kerton and Ben Bano of Seeking Sanctuary have provided an update on the situation concerning the Afghan refugees still in Calais, along with what has been done in the past, and what is being done now by Care4Humanity. You can read it through ICN.
Phil and Ben finish with: - Sunday 26 September is a World Day of Prayer for Migrants and Refugees. Bishop Paul McAleenan, the lead Catholic bishop on migration issues in England and Wales, is visiting Dover on Saturday 25 September - the eve of that Day - to lead prayers at noon by the memorial plaques on the Dover seafront near the entrance to the Ferry Terminal. Anyone who shares our concerns is welcome to attend.
UNICEF: - Children in Afghanistan in desperate need of humanitarian aid
The UN's children's agency highlights the urgent needs of the children in Afghanistan where insecurity and conflict following the Taliban takeover of the country has made it “one of the worst places on earth to be a child.”
Herve Ludovic De Lys, UNICEF’s Afghanistan representative, spoke of unsettling reports of unaccompanied children across the country, many exposed to grave violations, including some being recruited by armed groups. You can read the full report through Vatican News.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide calls for human rights monitoring
CSW published a Statement on Afghanistan on 25th August, describing the situation as had been reported to them, which is nothing like the reassurances given by the Taliban at a press conference on the 17th August (which I am sure none of you are surprised about). CSW are endorsing the call of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights for states “to create safe pathways for Afghan refugees and migrants, broaden asylum and resettlement programs and immediately halt the deportation of Afghans who seek protection,” and we appeal for international support for all Afghans who require humanitarian assistance.' The full Statement can be read here.
Afghanistan Peace Project
Fellowship of Reconciliation, in one of their mailings, have mentioned the Afghanistan Peace Project, which provides grassroots support - Maya Evans writes "My two friends Amir and Gulzar run peace projects in Bamiyan. They operate a peace art project and in the winter they run a street kids school and distribute solar pots so that poor people can cook food using solar power" .
Please check it out using the link above.
The UK Government must protect Afghans Seeking Sanctuary
On the 18th August, JRS, along with other refugee and migrant organisations, sent an open letter to the Government urging them to establish protection solutions for Afghans currently in the UK and their families, and for those who will be obliged to seek sanctuary in the coming weeks and months.
Sarah Teather, JRS UK's Director, writes: -“It is vital that we stand in solidarity with the people of Afghanistan. The chaos there is a powerful reminder of the realities of forced displacement. In an emergency, refugees have little freedom on how they travel to safety or where they go, and that the journey to flee is fraught with danger.
“It is vital to ensure that Afghans seeking sanctuary here are not penalised for how they have been able to travel. The situation in Afghanistan indicts a cruel policy that builds walls against refugees.”
The full article is available on the JRS UK website.
Also through JRS they are listing Six things you can do to support refugees: -
1) Host a Refugee at Home
2) Phone Support Volunteer
3) Donate to their work
4) Speak up
5) Support a local refugee organisation
6) Pray for Refugees
All of the above you can find details of on their website.
UNICEF appeals for aid for earthquake victims in Haiti
According to UNICEF, some 540,000 children in earthquake-affected southwest Haiti are now facing the possible re-emergence of water-related diseases. Severe conditions in southwest Haiti - where more than half a million children lack access to shelter, clean water and sanitation - are rapidly increasing the threat of acute respiratory infections, diarrhoeal diseases, cholera and malaria. More details on the situation there are available through Vatican News.
ACN sends aid to Haiti
ICN reports on the aid package that Aid to the Church in Need have put together for Haiti since the earthquake hit on the 14th August. To read more about what they have been doing, click here.
4. Palestine/Israel (includes an Action)
The children are not getting the childhood they deserve
Nufuz Hammad, a mother of four children, talks about her parents life in Sheikh Jarrah in an article on the World Council of Churches website. She points out that things are quiet at the moment, and there is a lull in media attention, but that does not mean that evictions will not come. Her words say it all: - "At some point, people shouldn’t even look at the political part, they should look at the families like ours who have real people—real children—living here, and those children should have the basic rights of any human being: to live with security and have your family under one roof.
“We deserve not to be forcibly vacated. We deserve not to be ethnically cleansed."
To read the full piece, go to WCC.
13 year old boy killed by Israeli sniper
ICN have reported about the sad death of a young lad, Omar Abu al-Nil, who was shot by a sniper whilst watching a demonstration on the 21st August. He then passed away of his injuries on the 28th August. He was the 73rd child who had been killed as a result of action by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip since the beginning of this year.
To read this tragic story, please go to the ICN website.
John Battle: In work poverty and the SVP
Again, another good article through Independent Catholic News. John Battle, former MP and staunch patron of the SVP, reports on in-work poverty. The article covers changing perceptions, unsustainable debt, along with positive suggestions. It is well worth a read and you can do so here.
Bishops call for Universal Credit Lifeline to remain
The Rt Rev Terence Drainey, Catholic Bishop of Middlesbrough, has joined 14 senior North East church and faith leaders in an open letter calling on the Government to make the £20 uplift in Universal Credit permanent.
In response to the pandemic, the Government 'temporarily' increased Universal Credit by £20 in April 2020, and extended the uplift by six months in the 2021 spring Budget. The Chancellor is moving forward with plans to end the uplift in October.
Details of the Open Letter are available through ICN.
6. NJPN Blog on Independent Catholic News
There are some very good articles to be read from our 'Guest Bloggers' on the ICN website.
20th August - Conflict, Climate Change and Resisting Arms Trade by Aisling Griffin
23rd August - Bruce Kent reflects on Afghanistan
3rd September - Season of Creation by Colette Joyce, Justice and Peace Co-Ordinator for the Diocese of Westminster
You can read them here.
Thanks go to our friends at Independent Catholic News for providing us with a platform for our articles. You can check out ICN in full here.
7. NW NJPN E-Bulletin September 2021
As previously mentioned, Anne O'Connor has led with Afghanistan, not only talking about the current situation, but also the history of the Taliban. Also included is the London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, condemning the London Arms Fair; plus details of the two very different Synods that are about to happen. In fact the first one, Root and Branch, begins this afternoon and finishes on the 12th September. It is not too late if you want to join in, either by Zoom or in person. Click on the name above for details.
You can read the NW E-bulletin in full through the NJPN website here.
8. Mouthpeace Autumn 2021
Lots of interesting articles from the Archdiocese of Liverpool Justice and Peace Commission. It is again available to read on the NJPN website.
9. Lancaster Faith and Justice August 2021
You can download this excellent newsletter through this link.
10. Living Fair August 2021
Always a good read, showcasing their goods and the work they are doing. Find it here.
11. Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility August 2021
A lot of good articles, but unfortunately it has not yet been posted on their website. If you are interested in what they are doing, please subscribe directly here.
12. Salesians August 2021 Newsletter
The charity that they are highlighting this month is Anti-Slavery International. You can read the newsletter here.
13. London Mining Network September 2021
Another interesting edition of their newsletter, which can be read here.
EVENTS (in chronological order where applicable)
14. 5th - 12th September - Root and Branch
Inclusive Lay-Led Synod
15. 8th September - 7pm -
Kindred in Creation (TSSF Franciscans and Green Christian)
16. 11th September - 1pm - 3.30pm
NJPN Networking Day via Zoom - Mental Health and Wellbeing: move to a healthy society
17. 11th September - From 11am
CAFOD Faith in Action Day
18. 11th and 12th September- All Day
Youth and Students Summer School for Palestine
19. 13th September- 6.30pm - 8pm
Vigil at DSEI Arms Fair - Pax Christi
20. 14th September- All Day
DSEI Day of Action - details to be confirmed
21. 16th September- 6pm - 7.30pm
Webinar: Forests, Climate and the Great Big Green Week
22. 18th September- Day of Action
Corporate Courts Vs. The Climate
23. 18th - 26th September - Fairtrade Foundation
Great Big Green Week
24. 20th September - 7.30pm For Londoners...
Explore Hosting with Hope at Home
25. 20th September - Details nearer the time (keep an eye on their website)
Webinar on Forced Displacement on Palestinians from East Jerusalem
26. 25th September - 10am - 4pm JPIC Linking Day
The Hostile Environment: Whatever Happened to Human Rights.
Our guest speakers will share aspects of the new immigration and police bills and the implications of this legislation on civil society in the UK including migrants and refugees. All are welcome to this free Zoom event. For more information contact Margaret Healy: firstname.lastname@example.org
27. 25th September - 10.30am
Sabeel-Kairos UK AGM and Conference
28. 26th September
World day of Migrants and Refugees
29. 27th September - 6pm - 7pm
Journey to 2030 Website Launch - Details to follow
30. 2nd October - 11am - 12.30pm Study Day
The Cry of the Poor
31. 2nd October - Christian CND AGM - details to follow
32. 2nd October - 9.30am - 4.30pm
Green Christian 'On the Road' in Colchester
33. 11th - 17th October Challenge Poverty Week
34. 15th - 18th October - Laudato Si' Online Retreat with a
special invitation to those in the Diocese of Brentwood
For more information or to apply, email Sr. Margaret Atkins:-
35. 7th November
COP26 Church Service
36. Stop the new North Sea Oilfield
From Greenpeace: - Last week we emailed many of our supporters about Siccar Point Energy’s scandalous attempt to start development on a new North Sea oil field before a permit was granted and in 24 hours, 55,000 of you emailed Kwasi Kwarteng demanding the Minister stop the development of Cambo. Our pressure forced the oil company into a last minute u-turn, announcing they would delay work till 2022!
But we don’t just want Cambo delayed, we want it stopped. The oil company and government are on the backfoot with their plans scuppered so now it’s time for us to make our voices heard across the country. Our MPs can put pressure on the Prime Minister to make the right decision for humanity and stop Cambo, the more MPs that speak out on Cambo, the more likely the PM is to listen. Will you email your MP and get them to push Boris Johnson to stop Cambo?
Click here to add your voice.
Christian CND are looking for members to stand for their Executive Committee - but you will have to be quick as nominations close at 9am on the 6th September! Click here for more details.
38. THE LAST WORD
Pope Francis advances Sainthood Cause of Italian Catholic Priest who saved Jews in WWII
Until I read this article through ACI Africa, I had never heard of Fr. Placido Cortese. Up until recently, he was another unsung hero of our times (except in the area in which he lived). Someone else who died through standing up for his faith, and through helping others.
He wrote in letters to his family: - “Religion is a burden that one never tires of carrying, but which more and more enamors the soul toward greater sacrifices, even to the point of giving one’s life for the defense of the faith and the Christian religion, even to the point of dying amid torments like the martyrs of Christianity in distant and foreign lands.” Very profound words indeed.
For more details on his story, plus links to the website dedicated to him, click here.
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