***ACTION OF THE WEEK***
Keeping the £20 lifeline is right for our families and economy
Social security is an important tool to stimulate spending in the economy. Cutting the £20 lifeline in April 2021 would not only hurt families, but also our economic recovery.
The Government must keep, and make permanent, the lifeline they rightly extended to millions of families earlier this year. Cutting the lifeline in April would not only have significant impacts for the economy but would mean around 16 million people experiencing an immediate and devastating loss of income, almost 60% of whom are in the bottom three income deciles. Extending the uplift to legacy benefits will benefit a further 1.5 million people, the majority of whom are disabled, sick or carers, and so have been most at risk during this pandemic.
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation and many other charities, religious leaders, and MPs are urging the Government to do the right thing. The Government should keep the social security lifeline to support the economic recovery by making the £20 uplift to the standard allowance of Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit permanent, and extending it to legacy benefits.
Please sign the petition here.
NEWS AND COMMENT
1. Church Action on Poverty -
Spotlight on the Cedarwood Trust
The Cedarwood Trust was founded in North Shields 40 years ago. Cedarwood has always been a close partner of Church Action on Poverty and exists to serve the immediate needs of its local community and to work towards a better society for everyone.
Since the start of the pandemic they have really expanded where they work. They always served the Meadow Well estate, but found a lot more people wanting to be part of the community they support, especially because a lot of people who have moved off the estate over the years have kept an attachment to Cedarwood.
They now support people from vast areas of North Tyneside and have given out 32,000 meals since the first lockdown started.
To read more about their incredible work, go to the CAP website.
2. Fairtrade Fortnight - Choose the World You Want
22 February to 7 March 2021
Farmers behind our food are on the front line of the climate crisis. But there’s hope. Join our global community during Fairtrade Fortnight 2021 for a free festival of online events and activities to entertain, educate and inspire us all to choose the world we want to see…
If you click on the title link above, that will take you directly to the Fairtrade Foundation website. On there you will see all of the different ways you can get involved, and the various events going on...the first is this Monday, 22nd February at 7pm. Guardian Live, along with Fairtrade Foundation, have come together to ask 'how is the climate crisis affecting our global food supply and the people behind it? All of the details, and how to sign up, are again available through the above link.
End Corporate Impunity
'Why we need a law to protect workers, people and planet from bad business'
This article links nicely in with the what the Fairtrade movement is trying to do. Mill Hill Missionaries report on the new law that the EU is considering to hold business accountable for their impact on people and the planet. Watch the informative video here.
3. Nobel Peace Prize Nomination!
Campaign Against Arms Trade has been nominated for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize!
In their words...
'A few days ago we got a surprise Zoom call from The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) to let us know we’ve been nominated alongside our partner Mwatana for Human Rights, a grassroots organisation working in Yemen.
The nomination from AFSC and Quaker Peace & Social Witness (QPSW) aims to draw attention to CAAT’s work to stop the UK government’s sales of arms to Saudi Arabia, particularly our ongoing legal challenge to UK arms sales for use in the war in Yemen.
This is also an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the suffering of the Yemeni people who are experiencing the world’s worst humanitarian disaster. Millions are facing starvation as a direct result of the actions of the Saudi-led coalition. This is all made possible by weapons supplied by the UK and sustained by its ongoing military support. Inspirational Yemeni groups like Mwatana have shown remarkable dedication in documenting human rights violations by all parties to the war and raising the voices of victims in exceptionally dangerous circumstances.
We are truly honoured that our campaigning is being acknowledged in this way. This nomination is a tribute to all of us. If you have ever signed a petition, come to a protest or event, shared on social media, written to your MP, made a donation, or taken any other action against the arms trade, you have helped to make this happen.
We just wanted to say thank you: this achievement would not have been possible without your support.'
To read more about what a Nobel Peace Prize Nomination will mean to their campaigning, and how you can get involved, please go to the CAAT website.
4. Latest NJPN Columns in The Universe
12th February – Barbara Butler is Executive Secretary of Christians Aware, an ecumenical member of the NJPN.
'Acting for Healing'
‘I’m convinced that the pandemic we’re currently living through is both a
manifestation of and a mere interruption in the relentless march towards an
interconnected world, one in which peoples and cultures can’t help but collide.
In that world - we will learn to live together, cooperate with one another, and
recognise the dignity of others, or we will perish.’ Barack Obama, August 2020
No message could be more relevant to every person in the world we now live in
than this one. Whoever and wherever we are we have no choice but to see
ourselves as only one member or one group amongst all living things in one
fragile planet, and we must live and act accordingly.
Click here to read the rest of Barbara's article...
Please visit the Christians Aware website, where there is a link to You Tube, where some
recent conference presentations are recorded. www.christiansaware.co.uk
19th February – Niall Cooper is Director of Church Action on Poverty
'Transformation: a task for us all'
Our vision is that the UK can and must be transformed into a country where
everyone can live a full life, free from poverty. In the midst of a global pandemic,
we might feel further from this goal than ever, but our Christian faith drives us
to believe that another world is possible.
Click here to read the rest of Niall's article.
Resources for prayer and worship on Church Action on Poverty Sunday (21
February) at: www.church-poverty.org.uk/sunday
Our thanks go to our friends at The Universe for supporting us. If you would like to take out a subscription to their newspaper, please follow this link.
5. Climate/Environment Matters (some Actions are included)
Launch of 'Guardians of Creation' Ecological Project
The Diocese of Salford has launched a new research project that Bishop John Arnold hopes will spearhead the efforts of the Catholic community in England and Wales to tackle the current ecological crisis by paving the way to a sustainable, carbon neutral future.
The research team will collaborate with other dioceses, parish communities, industry experts, theologians and other groups to develop carbon accounting and environmental management tools that will lead to an implementation framework for use in other dioceses.
This is a really exciting development to tackle the climate challenges ahead of us. You can read more here.
How a Young Activist is Helping Pope Francis Battle Climate Change
This article, from The New Yorker tells the story of Molly Burhans and her vision for Catholic landholdings and the mapping of them. It is a very interesting story and well worth a read.
6. Our Little Angel is back home
Aid to the Church in Need report that a 12 year old Christian girl, Farah Shaheen, who had been shackled and enslaved by a man who forced her to marry him and convert, is now back home after a fantastic court victory. The court declared the marriage as invalid as it had not been registered with the local authorities. Sadly, Farah's story is just one of many such tragedies that are happening regularly. For more details on this and other cases, please go to the ACN website.
Since the last e-bulletin went to print, most of you are aware that there has been a military coup in Myanmar.
Burma Campaign writes 'Aung San Suu Kyi, the President and other political leaders nationwide have been arrested, and we are hearing reports that human rights activists are also being arrested.
There had been growing tensions after the military political party, the USDP, suffered a huge defeat in last November’s election, and has been accusing the NLD-led government of voter fraud. There is no evidence to support this. The situation escalated rapidly over the last few days with the military refusing to rule out a coup.
It is unclear at this stage what the military hope to achieve by their actions as they have benefited significantly since they began the reform process ten years ago.'
This is obviously an ongoing situation. Below are some of the articles produced since it happened.
Pope appeals to Myanmar Leaders to serve the common good
Pope Francis expresses his concern for the recent political developments in Myanmar where tens of thousands of citizens are protesting the military coup that happened recently. The full article is available to read through Vatican News.
Election officials detained ‘in bid to prove fraud’
The Guardian published an article on the 12th February concerning the situation in Myanmar. This and other articles are available to read via Burma Campaign UK.
Bishops’ Conference President supports Cardinal Bo’s
call for nonviolence, democracy and dialogue in Myanmar
Cardinal Vincent Nichols, President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, has expressed his prayerful support for Cardinal Charles Bo, Archbishop of Yangon, and the people of Myanmar after military leaders seized control of the country.
To read the statement from Cardinal Nichols, along with the Cardinal Bo's message to the people of Myanmar and the wider world, click here.
Pope speaks out for unaccompanied minors and Day Against Trafficking
From an article on the Vatican News site on the 7th February, Pope Francis highlights the plight of thousands of unaccompanied minors whom he says are particularly vulnerable, asking authorities to show special attention to their needs. He said that in these days the dramatic situation of the migrants who are on the “so-called Balkan route” has been brought to his attention, but he added “are some on all the 'routes'.”
“Let’s ensure that these vulnerable children and adolescents, who are fragile and defenseless, do not lack necessary care and preferential humanitarian channels,” he said. Go to the Vatican News site for further details.
Use of military barracks as accommodation for Asylum Seekers 'irresponsible'
Following on from our reports about Napier Barracks in the last e-bulletin, Cardinal Vincent Nichols and Bishop Paul McAleenan, Lead Bishop for Migrants and Refugees, added their voices to those of a number of the country’s Christian leaders calling on the Home Office to stop the use of disused military barracks as accommodation for asylum seekers.
The bishops and church leaders wrote to Home Secretary Priti Patel to stress that the use of such facilities, even as a temporary measure, is “entirely inappropriate”. One of the reasons cited is the increased risk of infection from Covid-19 due to the mixing of households and an inability to social distance. The full article is available from the CBCEW here.
9. Supporting Generation Z
Million Minutes writes: - 'The world has changed this year, and we know that Generation Z, those who were born between 1997 and 2015 (currently 6 to 24 years of age), will be some of the worst-affected by the impact of Covid-19. Their education, employment and future prospects are all suffering. Their future hopes are being crushed. Yet young people’s voices are not being heard. They are not in the rooms where choices about the future are made.'
Million Minutes are again running their siLENT initiative, where all monies raised go to social action projects to support young people. To find out more and to get involved, go to the Million Minutes website.
10. Academics collaborate on Palestinian Art Exhibition
The plight of Palestinian children living in the West Bank has been laid bare in a new exhibition depicting the young people’s heart-rending artwork.
The collection, Hope and Resistance: Through Palestinian Children’s Eyes, has been curated by academics at Liverpool Hope University.
More details of the project, and the artwork, are available here.
11. Church Action for Tax Justice February 2021
This edition is for the 18th February. Previous editions are also available to read through the same link.
12. Birmingham Justice and Peace Commission Winter 2021
Another excellent edition from the Birmingham J & P Commission. Lots of interesting articles, and an advert for their own Lenten Retreat on March 13th.
13. WCC Water Network Newsletter January 2021
“Together for Water" aims to be a platform to exchange the success stories as well as the challenges of water justice for WCC member churches and all people who care about the human right to water. Available to read here.
14. Operation Noah January 2021
2021 is a crucial year for climate action. In November, leaders from across the world will meet in Glasgow for COP26 and have the opportunity to take the urgent action necessary to tackle the climate crisis. Before that, in June, the G7 will meet in Cornwall to discuss a number of issues, including the climate crisis.
Operation Noah’s work this year aims to make sure that our leaders make the most of these opportunities. Find out what’s coming up in 2021 in our new blog and click here for details of events in the next couple of months.
EVENTS (in chronological order where applicable)
15. Tuesday 23rd February 7.30pm - 8.30pm
(and every Tuesday until 30th March)
Register for the above talks here.
16. Tuesday 23rd February at 11am and
Wednesday 24th February at 7.30pm
Testimony of Peace
What have you done to make the world more peaceful? Come and discover how your story could fit into our wider story of opposing war, standing up for peace and promoting non-violence.
From going on marches to signing petitions, we all have a story to share. Jack Woodruff, our new Digital Storyteller will share more about his 'Testimony of Peace' project, how your story could form part of the narrative and how you can use your story to help get others involved in building a world of peace.
Click here to register for Tuesday.
Click here to register for Wednesday.
17. Wednesday 24th February at 7pm
Establishing an organic allotment, for environment, health, and community with Marisa Mann.
Through Green Christian. Click here to register.
18. 25th February and every Thursday until 25th March, 7.30pm - 9pm
Creating the New Normal - A Series of Discussions by FaithJustice
FaithJustice is a Christian network that aims to bring together young adults of faith with a concern for Justice. It is a new initiative launched by a group of Catholic organisations which is seeking to help young adults in their twenties and thirties discover the intimate connection between a life of faith and the struggle for justice in our world.
The topics of the discussions (in order) are: - Feminism; Racism; Death; Church; Sexuality.
For more information and to register, go to the FaithJustice website.
19. 25th February and every Thursday until 25th March 7.30pm - 8.30pm.
Global Healing - Hosted by the Global Catholic Climate Movement Laudato Si' Animators in the UK. This Thursday the speaker will be Jane Mellett from the Global Catholic Climate Movement.
To register email email@example.com
20. 25th February Lenten Journey 2021
Details for the above talk are available from firstname.lastname@example.org
21. 27th February 2021 11am – 3pm
NJPN Networking Meeting
Come and join us for our next Networking Day, starting at 11am, and held via Zoom. Book your free place via Eventbrite.
22. 13th March 2021 - 10.15am - 5pm
Building Peace from the Ground Up
A day conference of talks, workshops and worship exploring how to respond to hate, and how to build the church up as a place active for peace.
It will be held via zoom and is organised by Church and Peace and the Fellowship of Reconciliation UK.
Click here for more details and to register.
23. 19th April 2021 - 7pm - 8.30pm
Online conversation on UK Politics of Division
Church and Peace in Britain and Ireland is hosting an online conversation on „The Politics of Division – is the UK government pursuing a “white nationalist” agenda to split our communities? Click here to register.
24. The Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill
We can use the levers of government power that already exist to protect the future of life on earth. This Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill is a proposal for a new law. Most new law stems directly from government as planned legislation, but backbench MPs can put forward proposals as a Private Members Bill (PMB). Many PMBs remain as a campaign tool, but it is possible to gather enough support inside and outside of Westminster so that they pass, like the successful campaign for the Climate Change Act (2008).
The first stage was to ‘table’ or ‘present’ the bill (with the signatory of up to 12 MPs) to officially introduce the bill to parliament, which took place at the beginning of September. But this was only the beginning, we will need the majority of MPs to support the bill to give it a chance to become law. Taking a bill through Parliament is a lengthy process – the Climate Change Act took three years! But we obviously need to get the Climate and Ecological Emergency bill through in a fraction of that time… so it’s time for MPs to step up!
To read more about the bill and to sign up to get involved, click here.
25. Email your MP re the Fair Tax Now Campaign
Our tax system is unfair only because it has been designed that way.
We have an opportunity to call for a different model in which everyone pays their fair share, and so contributes to the common good of all. For more details and to put your name to the campaign, click here.
26. Take a stand against the US 'Kill List'
The ‘Kill List’ is the list of people targeted for extrajudicial execution by the United States - a death warrant without charge or trial.
People on the ‘Kill List’ are targeted by the US’s lethal drones.
Those US drones are launched from countries like Italy and Djibouti, based on the intelligence they receive from countries like the UK and Germany. But the data shows the US doesn’t often know - or care - who it is killing.
In Yemen alone, 94% of those killed by lethal drones since 2002 were not militant leaders. Many were innocent people and their families - in the wrong place, at the wrong time or on the wrong list.
Click here to add your name.
27. Save the Bees
Bees are essential to our ecosystem and food chain – and a few weeks ago the Government voted to lift the ban on bee-killing pesticides.
The Co-operative Party have asked you to sign a letter to our Prime Minister asking the Government to reverse their decision. Click here to add your support.
28. Executive Director for Jubilee Debt Campaign
Jubilee Debt Campaign is recruiting a new Executive Director to lead their work tackling poverty and inequality caused by unjust debt.
They are seeking an experienced, dynamic, and people-centred leader, with a strong strategic mindset and campaigning approach, and deep commitment to their vision, mission and values.
More details about the post and how to apply are available here.
29. THE LAST WORDS
Actions and Reflections for a Livesimply Lent 2021
St. Alban's Parish, Macclesfield have created a Livesimply Lent Calendar, as one of their first actions after becoming a Livesimply parish. It is a great resource and you can check it out here.
New Beginnings - A Journey from Lent to Easter
Another beautiful set of Reflections and prayer resources for Lent from Anne O'Connor in memory of Annie. Click here to find it on the NJPN website.
Where does Evangelisation begin? - a reply to Paul Southgate
A few weeks ago we published Paul's article about his allotment and evangelisation. In reply, we have received the following from Jim Sikorski, Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Group, St Martin-in-the Fields.
Your piece in the latest NJPN Newsletter vividly conveyed your affection for your fellow allotmenteers. Your neighbours clearly find in you someone who humbly listens and accepts them whatever their character or experience. What a gift! It’s clear the love you have for your fellow growers is reciprocated. God is present. Your daily prayerful question about evangelization reflects a pastoral concern as one of the priesthood of the faithful.
The community you describe, in its openness to sharing suffering and weakness, its sharing of stories and also in its openness to sharing onions and beetroot is deeply eucharistic. Its members are nourished by their shared care for the earth and its gifts. Christ is present there and, as Brother Roger of Taize was always very fond of saying, that same Christ has begun a work in every human being whether they are aware of it or not.
In the encounters you describe there is Good News (envagelion) by the very fact of mutual listening, suffering shared and kindnesses enacted. I might suggest there is mutual evangelisation since it is (to paraphrase David Morland OSB, writing 40 years ago in ‘The Eucharist and Justice’)
‘only among the poor, those in need, that the new story of man (sic) which is for them to become sons and daughters of God, heirs of the kingdom, is to be found, is to be told.’
You too are being evangelised by receiving and being part of the shared story of your friends – understanding anew the Good News that the Resurrected Christ inhabits their and your suffering and desires their and your liberation.
So perhaps you need not change tack but continue to accompany that little community in the small gestures of everyday meetings, sorrows shared, creation tended and refreshment given.
Are there any vacant plots in your allotment church?
With every good wish,
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