Public Issues

 
 
 
 
The newsletter of Joint Public Issues Team
 

 

Newsletter 109    October 2019

Dear Friends,

 

 

 

At the Joint Public Issues Team, we want to see churches who are alive to justice, and empowered to act for change. We love hearing stories about how you’re doing this on the ground, and seeing how change is happening in all kinds of ways.

 

 

This month, we’ve seen the power of collective action. Over 100 of you wrote to your MPs, and we finally received a reply from the PM to our letter expressing concerns about the effect of a no-deal Brexit on those locked in poverty. Our Church leaders have spent time at the Labour and Conservative Party Conferences, and you’ve started buying tickets to our conference. You can find out about all of this, and more, below.

 

 

However, we realise that being people who care about justice and peace has been particularly tricky over the last few months. There hasn’t been much peace in UK political life, and the coming months do not look any less tumultuous.

 

In anticipation of this, we leave you with a prayer from Revd Dr Barbara Glasson, President of the Methodist Conference:

 

Lead our leaders, God of wisdom

guide them past the lure of power or self importance

keep their eyes focussed on the wellbeing of all people,

give them courage to tell the truth,

empathy to listen

and enduring compassion for the voiceless.

When the paths of our opinions diverge,

the way seems treacherous or our criticism destructive

then,

for heaven’s sake,

call us all to account, to apology and to compassion

so that together we can be people of hope, truth, kindness and justice.

 

Every Blessing,

Hannah and Roo

Church Leaders' No Deal Brexit Letter: Response

In July, over 2000 church leaders and members signed a letter to the Prime Minister asking that the government publish evidence of how those who are most vulnerable will be protected in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

 

It took over two months, but we have finally received a response from the Prime Minister. You can read this here.

The Prime Minister’s reply goes into some detail regarding plans and preparations being made for Brexit, specifically detailing supply chain concerns. However, the Prime Minister’s response does not help us to understand:

 

  • Who will need support as a consequence of the changes a no-deal Brexit would provoke;
  • What kind of support will be required;
  • What the government plans to do in order to mitigate the potential risks of a no-deal Brexit to those locked in poverty.
     

Our fear remains that the government has not been able to respond to these questions because they do not yet have sufficient answers. Although a deal has now been agreed with the EU, until what is happening with Brexit is completely clear this remains a concern.
 

You can read our full response to the letter, and suggested actions, here:

Letter and Response

We now have a dedicated webpage for resources around Brexit. You can find this here:

Brexit resources

 

Ticket sales for our conference are now open!

 

We’re really looking forward to welcoming you to Derby on 7 March 2020, to look at the big challenges we all face – rethinking economic structures and taking radical steps towards climate justice, and how we can all act – in faith, for people and for planet.

Get your tickets here

Buy someone else’s ticket

This year, we want to make the conference as inclusive and welcoming as possible. That's why there will be a number of free tickets available for the conference, for those who wouldn't otherwise be able to attend.

 

To support this, we're giving you the chance to buy a ticket for someone else, as well as your own. When you do this, you will be funding these free spaces to enable our gathering to be welcoming to all. You can find out more about this on the JPIT website, or when you order tickets.

Churches' Statement on Syria

 

 

On Thursday 17th October, the Methodist Church, the Baptist Union and the United Reformed Church released a joint statement following the assault on north-eastern Syria by Turkey.

 

 

The Churches have appealed that UK leaders take urgent and decisive political action to ensure that a further escalation of conflict is averted.

Read the statement here

The Church of Scotland released a statement and prayer on 10th October. You can read this here.

Meet the new team members!

 

 

Last month, we welcomed our two new parliamentary interns to the team. Cameron will be working with Lord Griffiths of Bury Port, and Rosella with Michael Tomlinson MP. Find out more about them in their introductory blogs.

 

Josie, our new JPIT Intern, has also written a blog to share more about herself. You can get to know here by clicking the link below. 

Meet Rosella

Meet Cameron

Meet Josie

Faith In Politics - Season 3

Faith and Politics podcast has launched into a new season, with new hosts and a new episode!  

 

Cameron interviews Andy Flannagan, Director of Christians in Politics. Andy offers valuable reflection on how we can not only 'listen well' but 'disagree well' in turbulent times. Your new hosts, Cameron and Rosella, muse on how the Bible shapes our attitudes to political relationships.

Listen here

Join in with the conversation by following Faith in Politics on Twitter and Instagram.

Party Conferences

 

“Thank you for your friendship, support and encouragement.” – Kate Green, MP

In September, a delegation of Church Leaders visited the Labour and Conservative Party Conferences. They attended prayer breakfasts, and met with MPs for pastoral and policy conversations. Simeon and Beth have written up some of their thoughts, and reported on the kind of issues they discussed with MPs. Read them here:

Conservative Party Conference

Labour Party Conference

Zacchaeus Tax Campaign

On Sunday 3rd November, the Lectionary Reading is Luke 19:1-10, the story of Zacchaeus. Church Action for Tax Justice have written a reflection on this passage and intentionally linked it to the World Council of Churches Zacchaeus Tax Campaign. The campaign calls for a range of global tax justice measures modelled on the reparations enacted by Zacchaeus following his encounter with Jesus.  You can find the reflection here.

How could you be talking about public issues this month?

 

We love that you share the work of JPIT with people in your churches and communities. This month, our top pieces of information to share are:
 

  • Renewal and Rebellion: Faith, Economy and Climateinvite along people from your community. Could you be part of making the conference inclusive, by spreading the word about free tickets for those on income related benefits? Find out more here.
     
  • Brexitthe next month is going to be a busy one in parliamentary life. Unfortunately, we don’t know yet what this might include. Encourage your church to pray, and to discuss what the impact of these events mean for you. Our resource ‘Conversation Welcome’ might be helpful.  You can also engage with your MP, and raise with them concerns for those locked in poverty in the event of a no-deal Brexit. You can find resources to support this here.

Events in November

‘The Trial of our Times’ - The Progressive Christianity Network are hosting a day conference in Salford, examining the themes of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s work and what it can say to us in today’s world. More information here.

 

Truth to Power - Church Action on Poverty is holding regional gatherings highlighting poverty and hunger in the UK and how we can be part of a movement for effective change. More information, dates and locations here.

 

Poverty, Faith and Justice Workshop Training - Church Action on Poverty are providing training for those who would like to lead their new workshop resources in their own churches. Find out more details here.

Job Opportunity

The Methodist Church are looking for a Church at the Margins Officer. This role will be responsible for developing a long-term, sustainable strategy for starting a movement of new Christian communities in economically marginalized areas, led by God’s people at the margins. You might even get to work with us!

 

Find out more here.

Dates for the diary 

21–28 October: One World Week. Find out more here.

 

24 October: United Nations Day. Find events and ways to get involved here.

 

10 November: Remembrance Sunday. Find resources from CTBI here.

 

10–17 November: Interfaith Week. Find out more here.

To publicise an event or project, or to follow up on any of the issues mentioned here, contact us on enquiries@jointpublicissues.org.uk
 
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Joint Public Issues Team | Methodist Church House | 25 Marylebone Road | London | NW1 5JR