Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Poverty of Ambition? Churches and a Politics of Hope

I haven't said very much about the Joint Public Issues Team (JPIT).  It is an example of ecumenical collaboration, where the Methodist Church, United Reformed Church (URC) and Baptist Union of Great Britain (BUGB) work together (and often with wider groups of churches) to live out the gospel of Christ in Church and Society.  One reason I have given them minimal; coverage is they have their own blog, Praxis, which you can follow in the sidebar of this blog under 'Related Blogs'.

There are a couple of articles in Methodist E-news this month, which I reproduce here.  This will give you some idea of the work of JPIT.  The first is an overview of one area of work:

Over the last month the Methodist Church has reacted publicly to a number of Government proposals.

In collaboration with other denominations and agencies, it has accused the government of failing to take account of the reality of poverty. Although they welcome plans for a simplified benefits system, they raise concerns that the proposed reforms are based on inaccurate assumptions about the poor. To read more click here.

Also on the eve of the comprehensive government spending review the president of Conference, the Revd Alison Tomlin addressed a rally organised by the Trades Union Congress. In her speech she raised concerns that spending cuts will hit the poor hardest.

The Methodist Church, the Baptist Union of Great Britain and the United Reformed Church have voiced concern over Chancellor George Osborne’s inaccurate use of welfare fraud statistics in his spending review speech. He claimed that welfare fraud is responsible for cheating tax payers out of £5 billion a year. But Church leaders said that this exaggerated figure depicts the poorest and most vulnerable in society as thieves. Discover more by clicking here.

This work will be further developed at a conference 'Poverty of Ambition? Churches and a Politics of Hope' on Saturday 22 January 2011.

The Baptist Union of Great Britain, The Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church are hosting an exciting free one-day conference on how our churches can engage with contemporary political issues. This will take place from 10.30am to 4.00pm at Carrs Lane Church Centre in Birmingham.

Will Hutton - author and journalist - will be giving the keynote address. The rest of the day will feature workshops on key policy issues for churches, such as poverty, debt, climate change, peace-making and the Big Society - as well as the opportunity to network over refreshments.

The day will appeal to anyone with a passion for social justice and wanting to help our churches to engage with government and the world around us. You are particularly encouraged to attend if you have a formal circuit or district role looking at church and society issues, if you are an enthusiast or campaigner, or if you just want to know more.

Attendance is free, including lunch, but advance registration is vital.  For more information and to register, click here.
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