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Lenten Prayer Resources from NJPN: 2020

‘Jesus came into the world to bear witness to the truth; all who are on the side of truth listen to his voice’

Stations of the Cross prepared by Anne O’Connor for the National Justice and Peace Network have been adapted for use during the season of Lent 2020

 Please download and use in parishes, schools and in local justice and peace groups.

justice-and-peace-stations-of-the-cross-2020

 

NJPN Open Networking Day ‘Journeys on the Margins’

The Open Networking Day took place on Saturday 14 September 2019 at All Saints School, York

Margo Uprichard from ‘The Space Project’ in Glasgow:  spoke of working with European Roma Migrants

Margot gave us a brief history of the Roma people and also discussed the Ministry of presence – for us to be present in respect of the struggles they face as minority people largely excluded from the main institutions and see what you can do. 

As a group, after 18 months they put together a strategy, based on the needs of the people they support.

Govanhill is one of the most multicultural districts in Scotland, with a population of up to 14,000 people, however, suicide rates are above the Scottish average.  Govanhill is also one of the poorest areas in Scotland. 

Margot explained that the Roma have their origins in India and that they are not a homogeneous group of people.  Indeed, there is a lot of tension between diverse Roma groups.  There can be factions and tensions amongst the different tribes with different groups speaking different Romani dialects.  There are about 4500 Roma in Glasgow. Romani is largely passed down by means of oral tradition and was first written during the 16th century, when word lists were produced by non-Romani scholars such as Andrew Borde.

 In Romania the legal age of marriage is 14 years old, with reports of a girl as young as 12 being married by arrangement.  Margot herself was raised in Parkhead which reminds her of what it was like when she grew up with regards to the size, of families, levels of illiteracy and other social challenges faced by the Roma people.  The Roma have a high degree of illiteracy, generational illiteracy is the norm.  As recent as 150 years ago, they were still being traded as slaves; whoever owned the land owned the Roma and in the present day, the exploitation of Roma by landlords continues, with some also under their patronage and working up to 100 hours per week, thereby causing problems with their tax declarations and consequently their immigration status.   

Their ‘Louise Project’ is about meeting a person where they are; from there you can empower them. “ If a man is hungry, you teach him to fish” There is a need to look at the systems and structures in society and look into changing them

They would like Christ to be seen in everyone who walks through their door, which can be a challenge.  Their main contact is usually with women and by this the family life is transformed. They carry out home visits – allowing them, among other things, to assess levels of poverty and family dynamics.  Everything is about relationships based on trust.    Margot gave a specific account about one woman who had 10 children who attended the foodbank after the tickets had all gone – she said she had nothing; said she will go to farm-foods to steal henceforth but Margot had arranged to tide them over so that there was no need for her to steal.

The hope is to provide a space for someone to be vulnerable and authentic and   connecting them more closely to society and institutions. 

Building better futures – personal growth and personal skills.

It took them 8 months to get some of their clients to believe that they could read and write.    20 weeks later no one could sign their name; after this the basics were accomplished. After getting the children to go to school the challenge has been to keep them at school to encourage personal growth – getting people to aspire.  There is an understandable degree of ignorance in relation to general knowledge. 

There is an information and a knowledge vacuum among the Roma people- all they know is what they have been told and communicated anecdotally by those around them which may be erroneous; they become polarised from society; however, they know how to survive. 

They provide coping skills for greater integration.   The children have provided positive feedback about being liberated. 

They are also providing supported employment opportunities and are looking at local restaurants, aromatherapy and small business ideas.   Organisation, numeracy and motor-skills are needed to prepare some to be employable in cottage industries. 

Strangers to neighbours & Community Voices help to build social cohesion.  Looking to identify potential leaders (building for social justice – another potential programme).

Barbara Hungin from Justice First spoke about her work with refugees/asylum seekers

Fear of the other is often stoked in the media– hatred is manufactured.  Headlines mislead and misinform.  The government itself lives in fear of the consequences of their collective decisions.  Those who seek asylum also live in fear.  There exists a whole cycle of fear. 

Justice first started in 2006 in Middlesbrough, they have  4 Office based members of staff – paid part time including 1 caseworker and1 fundraiser getting involved in the legal process to facilitate fresh claims and appeals.  They encourage / help people to re-engage with the legal system. 

In Teesside there are a number of organisations which work together on similar themes.  Barbara explained the UK Asylum process – Arrival in the UK, Screening interview, Full asylum interview, initial decision, then granted or refused leave to remain.   It is at this point where Justice First intercede if their application for leave to remain by the Home Office has been refused.  People who approach Justice First feel that they have not had a decent opportunity to submit their case. 

They are supported by the Lloyds Foundation.  It has been interesting how money has ‘just appeared’ from different sources. 

They have a Main client day on a Thursday where people feel welcome.    Other organisations come to help them on the Thursday.  They assess whether there is a chance of success.  Assisted Voluntary Return (for people who have not got a chance of winning a case).    Most of the feedback they get relates to levels of fear and anxiety and how Justice First have helped.

Barbara gave a couple of case studies. 

  1. Helped one person to gain support while his case was being decided upon.

Pro-bono help received from a solicitor one day per a week.  Assisted with this particular case.  The case took over 2 years for a Home Office case and a successful Judge led decision. 

  1. Several submissions were made for asylum. Had dealings with the councillor.    Justice First sent letters to the Home Office on his behalf; have put the council in touch with the local MP. 

There is a lot of resources, time and money, wasted in the bureaucracy.  The worst thing is not being believed. 

They rely heavily on volunteers.    They have a programme of awareness secessions. 

During refugee week they have a 5 a side football tournament.  For one day of their lives they can forget they are asylum seekers.  The police of Middlesbrough offer funds to support their projects. 

QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS ON – Justice First: 

Is it any good writing letters / lobbying for asylum seekers? The answer given was yes, at times it can work unless it is last minute. 

Introducing clients to their MP with Justice First in attendance can help gain the MPs which can make a difference. 

Following the lunch break there was a facilitated discussion led by our speakers

1. Who is blind  Bartimaeus?

We discussed the idea of blindness, who and how blindness can be a choice and also sometimes we can be near sighted or blinkered so as not to notice our needful neighbours.   The recognitions of colours associated with learning to recognise things we are otherwise blind or ignorant to.

On occasions some of the barriers are just uncomfortable barriers – just needing us to do something.  Being accessible to people and different types of poverty; it matters to that individual.  We should dare to be courageous and in everything, relationship is crucial.

  1. Who can we make relationships with – who are our allies ?

Institutions contain people who share our values.  It has worked with Durham CC – where seminars are held on the morning of full council meetings.  A social justice speaker would be invited to speak in addition to members of the public and other councillors; the Seminarians feedback and report.  This helps identify our allies.  Allies are in the places of influence.  We can use allies to get things on the agenda, in this instance the Council agenda. 

We were urges to use as many contacts as possible  regardless of the institutions.  Allies can be found in unexpected places.  We all have social capital which can be utilised.  Use reputation. 

We should be looking at the make-up of some of the MPs which could be sympathetic to social justice and look to make them parliamentary champions. 

Churches do work quite well together. Use the Catholic network. We also need to get out beyond the Catholic community all doing similar work – there are too many agencies doing similar things.   We need to become one strong voice, to use grassroots groups and people of all traditions, of all faiths and none. Exchanging news and stories in churches and individuals within the churches can be a powerful tool.     We are not listening sufficiently to the needs of people and need to become more organised to support vulnerable people.  Bartimeaus had the advantage of being known – many people in my rural area to not have the advantage of being recognised.

 It can take time to build trust with those who feel invisible but forming relationships with people can go a long way in addressing to those who are overlooked in communities and sometimes it doesn’t take much to turn a life around by just being there.  

Blindness can be people being ignored.  We are not making our voices heard and advocating enough to address the underlying causes of social ills

The next Open Networking Day will take place at CAFOD – Saturday 16  November.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Latest News from Lancaster Faith and Justice

The August Faith &Justice E-Bulletin is now available, we  hope you will be able to take the time to read and share the newsletter.

The newsletter can be downloaded at   https://tinyurl.com/y57p9c38   

There is also a prayer leaflet that could be used during the Season of Creation.

Week of Prayer for the Care of Creation

 A guide for use in parishes is also available from the Global Catholic Climate Movement. 

Read more here:

Reports and newsletters mentioned in this issue and previous newsletters are also available at

 http://www.lancasterfaithandjustice.co.uk/newsletter/     

Latest J&P News from The North West

The NW NJPN E Bulletin for September 2019 covers a wide range of issues both in the region and around the world including the Amazon fires, campaigns to divest from fossil fuels, halt the September DSEI Arms Fair, and promote the Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty.  Also featured are the End Hunger UK Week of Action and the World Week of Prayer for Palestine and Israel.  A disturbing report reveals a rise in Child Poverty and we look at the ongoing damage caused by President Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric and gun violence in the US.  Plus a packed diary of local and national events for the Autumn.

Please read and share with others.

NW NJPN Justice and Peace E Bulletin September 2019 (2)

*** NJPN Action of the Week *** Take action against single use cups

Every year, over 5 billion single-use cups are used in the UK’s coffee shops and takeaways. A majority of these cups contain plastic – yet only 4% are captured for recycling [3]. The rest make their way to landfill or pollute our environment, putting animals and marine life at risk.

But we know, and more importantly, the government knows that by adding a small charge to single-use cups we can dramatically reduce usage, helping to reduce the amount of plastic polluting our planet.

They’ve had firsthand experience of this as the charge has been introduced already in Parliament, and usage had a massive drop of 74%.

Can you urge the Chancellor Sajid Javid and this new government to start their tenure by putting the planet first?

Support the campaign here:

NJPN Newsletter – Summer 2019

The lead article in this edition is written by an NJPN  member from the diocese of Hexham and Newscastle in response to the question ‘Why are you a member of NJPN’

Speaking personally about his commitment to working with young people, Tom Machin, a programme leader at the Briars Youth Retreat Centre in the Nottingham Diocese stresses that young people are the now of the Church and they are able to be the ones who will strive for a fairer and more inclusive world, one where all are welcomed, all are loved and Justice and Peace are of paramount importance.

Other contributions include the developing of a community environment project as well as ‘tasters’ for workshops at the forthcoming Swanwick Conference

Download here:

.Newsletter Summer 2019

 

See details of Conference 2019 here

Update from Seeking Sanctuary – The Obstacle Course

Ben writes: it was in the unlikely pages of the magazine of the Fire Brigades Union that I came across stories of real courage and commitment from some volunteers from the Fire and Rescue services who have been volunteering to take part in efforts to rescue people who would have certainly died if boats such as ‘Sea Watch Rescue’ had not been present in the Mediterranean. The volunteers have new challenges to contend with, including the threat of criminal charges from the right wing Italian government, and refusals to let those who have been rescued – often in a desperate condition – to land in Lampedusa or Sicily. Already this year 280 migrant lives have been lost in the Mediterranean, and since 2013 the UNHCR’s count of migrants reported to be dead or missing at sea has reached 18,740.

Of course the hazards of the Mediterranean are just one of the obstacles facing those who flee violence and persecution in dangerous parts of the world. The hazards of potential death in one’s home and community are swiftly followed by the risky journey through countries such as Chad and Mauritania where traffickers are busy at work. The journey through the desert is particularly perilous with many deaths reported.

The current civil war in Libya has meant that conditions for migrants which were already appalling have now worsened, and it is no wonder that people will risk their lives to get away from the hell of Libyan refugee camps.

Some of us will have read the story of Favour, a 9-month old baby who was miraculously saved when the rest of her family had died in the Mediterranean. But who is there to care for children such as Favour? We are increasingly seeing whole families making these hazardous crossings instead of mainly young men as in the past, and this is a reflection of the chaos existing in the Middle East and elsewhere.

And so to the current situation in the English Channel which our Home Secretary has described as an ’emergency’. We have been fortunate in being able to put right some of the myths through our appearances on local media: nonetheless the hostile environment is never far away, as is shown in this poster which recently appeared in the press in East Kent.

People not Borders

We are pleased to report that the Cross Channel liaison committee comprising people from NGOs on both sides of the Channel has born much fruit. Our friends in France are now much more familiar with the various support networks and opportunities over here, which enables them to much more readily guide people to help in unfamiliar UK cities.

Plans for a joint day of action and witness on 20 June mentioned last month have changed somewhat. As expected, to mark World Refugee Day, there will be an event on the beach in Calais, but our evening venue will not be on a beach, but on the cliff above St Margaret’s Bay near Dover. The event starts with a short period in the parish church of St Margaret of Antioch at 6 pm, followed by a walk of witness down to the cliff top, in sight of our friends on the Calais beach. Earlier in the day we will be joining a coach-load of activists from London for a short time of remembrance at the memorial for deceased migrants at 12:30 pm, not far from the Premier Inn on the Dover seafront. Further details will be posted on our website during the coming days. If you are in the area, please do join us – and encourage others to do the same.

We hope to launch a joint declaration on World Refugee Day, setting out our common concerns and our vision for improvements.

Justice for Mawda.

You may recall that a year ago we described the tragic death of baby Mawda who was just 2 years old when she was shot by Belgian police through the window of a van in which she was travelling. As far as we are aware no policeman has yet been brought to trial and this tragic incident is a reminder of the fragility of the lives of migrants even at that young age. Please remember her in your thoughts and your prayers, along with the family who mourn her passing, and so many other children who have died when seeking sanctuary.

Lord Dubs is back in the news – it was gratifying to see reports that Lord Dubs, in his 86th year, has just made a return trip to Calais to find out what has happened to the ‘Dubs children’ who were promised a future in the UK –  many are still languishing either in tents or in ramshackle accommodation. He was particularly struck by the accounts of one boy who had witnessed the death of 120 children as they crossed the Sahara. We all need to keep campaigning to ensure that the UK government meets even its pitiable target of accepting less than 500 children instead of leaving them to face their fate in Northern France.

With renewed thanks for your concern and support,

Ben and Phil.

‘Seeking Sanctuary’ aims to raise awareness about people displaced from their homes and to channel basic humanitarian assistance from Faith Communities and Community Organisations via partnerships with experienced aid workers. Our special concern is for the 1000 or more exiles who are stuck north-western France, mistakenly expecting a welcome in the UK. 

They need food, water, good counsel and clothes, which are accepted, sorted and distributed by several organisations, including two Calais warehouses which also supply needs further afield.

If you have not already confirmed your agreement  to receive our monthly email updates after 25 May 2018 (and occasional urgent action news), please use this link to do so via our web page – you can unsubscribe at any time by sending us an email.

Further information from Ben Bano on 07887 651117 or Phil Kerton on 01474 873802. See our latest news at www.seekingsanctuary.weebly.com