Apologies for the delay in sending the e-bulletin. We decided that it would be a good idea to wait until after the Mini-Conference last weekend, which went very well. You will find comments about it below.
What came across to me personally was how many good things are going on, and how many good people are involved. We all have our part to play in creating a better, fairer world, for all to live in. Paraphrasing Nelson Mandela above ‘WE can be that great generation. Let’s go out and let our greatness blossom.’
If this has whetted your appetite for more, the next NJPN Networking Day will take place via Zoom on Saturday 19th September, from 10.30am until 4pm. Tickets available from Eventbrite.
The NJPN AGM has also been rearranged to Saturday 21st November, in London at an event to be confirmed, but with Zoom access for anyone not able to travel. Please make a note in your diaries, and more information will be given nearer the time.
Don’t forget, if you have something you particularly want shared in this e-bulletin, send it to email@example.com. The next e-bulletin, all being well, will be produced for the weekend of the 9th August.
Wishing you a good fortnight, and God bless you all,
Please note we are still using a temporary postal address due to the closure of the Eccleston Square office:
Geoff Thompson, NJPN, c/o CAFOD Lancaster Volunteer Centre, St Walburge’s Centre, St Walburge’s Gardens, Preston PR2 2QJ.
You can still use the same phone number.
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E-Bulletin Contents: –
News and Comment
- Comments on the NJPN Mini-Conference
- Various articles linked to the Covid-19 pandemic
- NJPN columns in the Universe
- An Open Letter from Christian Clergy from the Bethlehem area
- World Council of Churches sets vision for unity, justice and peace
- Migrants and Refugees – an update
- Pope Francis invites us to join the Season of Creation
- John Lewis RIP
- Being Black and Catholic
- Global Amazon Assembly update
- Rio Tinto destroys 46,000-year-old Aboriginal site
- Lebanon: collapsing amid international indifference
- Korean womens’ struggle with 70 years of war
- Achieving ‘zero hunger’ by 2030 in doubt
- Kidnapped Christian girl pregnant
- South African women face femicide
- Forced abortions and sterilisation in China
- Six reasons to choose Fairtrade Chocolate
20. London Mining Network Newsletter of 16th July
21. Faith Matters – addressing issues in Christianity
22. Embrace Magazine June 2020
23. Grapevine – Diocese of Nottingham
24. Joint Public Issues Team July Newsletter
25. Birmingham Justice and Peace Assembly
26. Jesuit Refugee Service ‘At Home’ open evening
27. Embrace Prayer Diary
28. Southern perspectives on the coronavirus pandemic
29. Christian CND Prayer Meeting
30. ‘The Filter’ – a mini-series on Fairtrade Coffee
31. Annual Big Ride for Palestine
32. ***ACTION OF THE WEEK*** Time to end NRPF
33. Christian CND Short Survey
34. Hope not Hate Open Letter
35. Help release Elżbieta
36. ShareAction Survey
37. Secret Covid-19 deals with big pharmaceuticals
38. Coronavirus; Drop the debt **another chance to sign**
39. Tell Boris to stop hijacking the aid budget
40. New Network for young Christians
41. Global Healing – a film-based resource
42. Global Caring – a downloadable resource
43. ‘Prepare the Future’ – by Million Minutes
44. Opportunity for students from the
Palestinian Solidarity Campaign
45. Vacancies with the Jesuit Refugee Service
The Last Word
46. ‘A Whole New World’
NEWS AND COMMENT
1. ‘A celebration of what it is to be J & P people’
Ellen Teague has written her summary of the mini-conference held by Zoom on the 18th July, which replaced the annual Conference that had to be cancelled due to the pandemic.
Entitled ‘Post-pandemic Church: Paralysed or Energised? Recovered or Re-imagined?’
Anne Peacey, NJPN Chair, described the conference as “a real celebration of what it is to be J & P people,” and it was!
Between 200-300 people participated, both young and old, lay and religious. Ellen’s report is available to read through the Independent Catholic News here.
Also, there is a good summary of the conference by Chris Housden, East Anglian Region JPIC Minister on the Secular Franciscan Order of Great Britain website. Available to read here.
2. Covid-19; up to date comments on issues around the world.
Africa’s inadequate response mired in colonial legacy.
South Africa has become the 5th worst-affected country in the world in terms of coronavirus cases. Cardinal Wilfred Fox Napier blames colonialism as one of the main reasons for the continent’s inability to respond adequately to the emergency.
There are lots of things he has also brought into it, including the burden of international debt. Read the article and listen to the interview through Vatican News.
EU Leaders agree on Coronavirus Fund, but not without tensions
Leaders of the European Union have agreed on an unprecedented 1.82 trillion euro ($2.1 trillion) budget and coronavirus recovery fund at a time when the EU is tackling the most significant recession in its history.
After lengthy negotiations, summit chairman Charles Michel praised the results as a step forward for Europe. “I believe this agreement will be seen as a pivotal moment in Europe’s journey, but it will also launch us into the future,” he told reporters. “In fact, it is the first time in European history that our budget will be clearly linked to our climate objectives. The first time that the respect for the rule of law is a decisive criterion for budget spending,” Further details are available here.
Covid 19: G20 nations put off debt relief decisions until autumn meeting
After approving debt relief for the world’s poorest countries in April, G20 Finance Ministers announce that further decisions on debt suspension have been moved to its meetings in the Autumn. The next round of decisions on Covid-19 health and economic solutions are scheduled for the October International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank meetings, and the November G20 meetings. Further details here.
Columbia: Human rights being abused under cover of Covid-19
Within the context of confinement to prevent the spread of COVID-19, multifaceted violence persists in Colombia, as well as violations of the rights of social leaders, Indigenous, Afro-Colombian and peasant populations. The full story is available here.
3. Latest NJPN Columns in The Universe
Taking the UN seriously – Bruce Kent is Vice-President of both Pax Christi and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. His column below was in the Universe edition dated the 10th July.
75 years ago, on 26th June 1945, the Charter of the United Nations (UN) was signed. It is available
now as a pocket-sized document of about 100 pages. The main problem today is that very few
people have ever seen it. I have never seen one on display in a parish or cathedral book shop.
That is why some of us have had the Preamble to the Charter printed out on A4 card, ideal for
church or other notice boards. Just ask me for one – free from firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Preamble starts with this ringing sentence: ‘We the Peoples of the United Nations determined
to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war…’ But ending war was not the
only United Nations aim. It has worked hard and well over the years, with little publicity, to free
the peoples of the world from hunger and disease, for the nonviolent settlement of conflict, and
for the safeguarding of all human rights.
Despite all the deaths and suffering caused by our current epidemic, new opportunities are
opening up, forcing us to think more seriously about a world free of war – where sharing and common humanity are our guiding principles.
It makes no sense to me that Britain can spend over £200 billion on yet another generation of
nuclear weapons but can’t afford to spend, as we ought to spend, on our NHS. The courage and devotion of NHS staff deserves decent work conditions and wages which reflect the hard work and
grave risks for all involved.
So let us all take seriously our main international organisation, the UN, which aims at justice and
decent lives for all. Many recent Popes have pointed us in that direction. I still have, in slightly
tatty condition, a copy of the Catholic Truth Society pamphlet, The Popes Appeal for Peace.
It is the story of Pope Paul VI’s visit to the UN General Assembly in 1965. He said then that the United Nations was, for all peoples, ‘the best hope for peace and concord.’
Our current Pope Francis has even rejected, not just the use of nuclear weapons, but their very
possession. Hopefully, our bishops will follow him. Let us all remember that God did not
divide his world up into nearly 200 countries – we did! It’s high time for us to behave now as one
united human family.
The Value of Trees– Barbara Butler, Executive Secretary of Christians Aware, an ecumenical member of NJPN writes in The Universe on the 17th July.
Trees are essential to life. They stabilise the soil, generate oxygen, store carbon, provide a home for
wildlife, raw materials and shelter. In addition they provide food, timber, medicines and fertility for the
soil, help the water cycle by holding rain on slopes and increase the water stored in the soil.
Trees cover roughly 30 per cent of the global land surface and the world’s forests are home to more
than 300 million people, including roughly 60 million indigenous people. More than 1.6 billion people depend directly on forests: 1.2 billion people in the developing world rely on agroforestry for their
livelihoods. They shield food and other crops from wind and heat, while leguminous trees transfer
nitrogen from the air into the soil. Forests are also magical places, inspiring meditation, poetry and stories. They are wonderful places
to walk and relax in.
Yan Martell went to the Andes in 2009. He joined a trek starting from depleted glaciers near Cuzco
in Peru, walking past shrinking glaciers, cloud forests, lower forests, deforested areas and the
Amazon River basin. He wrote about his wonder and enthusiasm for the variety of trees and wildlife
he saw. He was told that one tree could be home to 100 different species of termites.
Deforestation is a very serious problem in today’s world. In Ethiopia, for example, 45,000 people are being turned off their land and large areas of forest are being felled. However, reforestation is
being tackled in many parts of the world. This will make a contribution to soil and water protection
and to biodiversity.
The Kenya Greenbelt Movement was a pioneer in tree planting. It was started in 1977 by Wangari
Maathai and the National Council of Women. It took the needs of communities into its work and
encouraged the planting of nutritious food crops and the introduction of water harvesting schemes
and training programmes. Today, in Kenya, people across the country see the need to plant trees and work hard to do so.
The UK Government recognises the value of trees in the fight against climate change. Many
more woodlands must be planted if we are to reach the goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
The government is committed to planting one million trees by 2022.
We can all help.
Christians Aware has a collection of new summer cards which are made from a renewable forest
source. Contact email@example.com
Christians and Power – Fr. Rob Esdaile, parish priest of Our Lady of Lourdes, Thames Ditton, writes his column for this weekend, the 24th July.
We stand at the juncture of the only two months in our calendar which are named after Roman Emperors – Julius and his successor Octavian who became Augustus. That seems a good moment to reflect on Christian attitudes to power. It’s easy to romanticise ‘the Church of the Catacombs’, when Christians were locked out from influence (along with most of the rest of the population, it should be noted!). It’s easier still to criticise the ‘Alliance of Throne and Altar’ which gradually developed after the conversion of the Emperor Constantine and endured to the French Revolution and beyond. For centuries (shockingly, to our post-modern eyes) Bishops relied on the State to kill dissidents.
We cannot follow the early Church’s option of simply praying “for kings and others in authority, so that we may be able to live peaceful and quiet lives,” (1 Tim 2.2), keeping our heads down and not making waves. We are not powerless. Nor is ‘entryism’ an effective way of evangelising the political world. Not even the evident holiness of Basil Hume brought about much conversion in Downing Street and Whitehall.
Rather than fretting about whether we have influence in the corridors of power, we’d do best to adopt the counsel given to St. Paul in a very different context: “They asked only one thing: that we remember the poor, which was actually what I was eager to do,” (Gal 2.10). Faced with any political policy our first questions should be: “Who benefits and who loses as a result? Who gets included and who gets marginalised?” Then we have a firm foundation for discerning a way forward in these uncertain times, and we shall find our voice in wider debates. Sometimes it will be a voice which speaks truth to power prophetically, very much from outside ‘the system’. At other times we shall be able to underline values and insights already there in the culture, discerning the action of the Spirit in societal change.
We know that pursuing the Common Good cannot ever mean leaving people behind. Being Catholic means looking out for everybody. We are people of communion, seekers of solidarity, with a grasp of the importance of community. Being critics is not enough. We have a vision to share of the flourishing of the whole of Creation, what Jesus called the Kingdom of God. So, beyond every challenge we offer to ‘The Powers-That-Be’ lies a bigger challenge to ourselves: how are we going to work heart-and-soul for the flourishing of all and the inclusion of the outcast?
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 the link.
4. An Open Letter from Christian Clergy from the Bethlehem Area
“Act with justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor anyone who has been robbed” (Jeremiah 22: 3)
We are writing this letter in our capacity as spiritual leaders of various Christian communities in the Bethlehem Area. The Israeli Government is planning to annex more occupied Palestinian land. According to the information they have released, this process could begin on July 1st. For Palestine, Bethlehem and particularly for its Christian population, this new process of annexation will be particularly catastrophic.
Soon after the occupation of 1967 Israel annexed over 20,000 dunums of land in the northern parts of Bethlehem, Beit Jala and Beit Sahour, for the construction of illegal colonial settlements. This severely hindered our capacity to grow as communities. They have already annexed one of the most important Christian religious sites of Bethlehem, the Mar Elias Monastery, and separated Bethlehem from Jerusalem for the first time in the two-thousand years of Christian history in Holy Land.
One of the only areas left for our expansion, as well as for agriculture and simply for families to enjoy nature, are the valleys of Cremisan and Makhrour, both located to the west of our urban areas and are under the current threat of annexation by Israeli authorities. This will affect the private property of hundreds of our parishioners. In the Cremisan Valley we also conduct spiritual activities. There is a school run by Salesian Nuns in addition to a historic monastery. The western Bethlehem countryside is also in danger, where some of our parishioners have been farming for generations, and this includes the Tent of Nations in Nahhalin. At the same time, and in accordance to the original maps of the US Plan, there are threats against the eastern part of Bethlehem, including the Ush Ughrab area of Beit Sahour, where there has been plans for years to build a children hospital to serve the local community.
Our biggest concern is that the annexation of those areas will push more people to emigrate. Bethlehem, surrounded by walls and settlements, already feels like an open prison. Annexation means the prison becomes even smaller, with no hopes for a better future. This is land theft! We are talking about land that is largely privately owned and that our families have owned, inherited and farmed for hundreds of years.
Most of our parishioners have lost hope in earthly powers. They feel hopeless and helpless, evident in the words a parishioner this month as he watched his land devoured by Israeli bulldozers preparing the way for more wall expansion: “It is devastating. You see bulldozers destroying your land and you can do nothing. No one is stopping them.”
Our parishioners no longer believe that anyone will stand courageously for justice and peace and stop this tremendous injustice that is taking place in front of your eyes. The human rights of Palestinians have been violated for decades. Hope is a pillar of our faith, yet is being challenged due to the actions of those who claim to care about the Christians in the Middle East. In practice, annexation could be the final straw when it comes to a viable Christian presence in Palestine, as well as the national aspirations to live in freedom, independence, dignity and equality in our homeland in accordance with international law.
Nobody can claim that they did not know the consequences of annexation for Palestine in general and Bethlehem in particular. We feel the burden of history upon our shoulders to keep the Christian presence in the land where it all started.
As we continue to put our hope and trust in God, we call upon the leaders of this world to stop this severe injustice. We remain committed to peace with justice, and find strength in the support of many around the world, specially the support of many churches. We hope that the world takes decisive and concrete actions to stop this injustice and provide the conditions to restore hope for a future of justice and peace that this land deserves.
Fr. Yacoub Abu Sada – ‘The Theotokos’ Melkite Church Bethlehem
Fr. Issa Musleh – Forefathers Greek Orthodox Church Beit Sahour
Fr. Hanna Salem – Catholic Church of the Annunciation Beit Jala
Fr. Bolous Al Alam – St. Mary Greek Orthodox Church Beit Jala
Rev. Ashraf Tannous – The Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Reformation Beit Jala
Fr. Suheil Fakhouri – Our Lady of the Shepherds Melkite Church Beit Sahour
Rev. Munther Isaac – The Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church Bethlehem and The Evangelical Lutheran Church Beit Sahour
5. WCC Executive Committee addresses global concerns
In a meeting with a format and focus dictated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the executive committee of the World Council of Churches (WCC) met online between 20 – 24 July and addressed vital international developments and situations. Covering many areas and problems around the world, the summary of their discussions make an interesting read. Click here.
6. Comments and articles on Migrants and Refugees
Waiting for the Prime Minister to reply on child migrants
Seven Catholic leaders signed the Faith Leaders’ letter to the Prime Minister on World Refugee Day, June 20th, asking him to ensure that unaccompanied child migrants seeking to reach the UK could be given safe and legal routes and a welcome, along the lines of the pre-war Kindertransport initiative. These measures would help to avoid the human rights abuses that young people currently suffer in the Greek camps and on the UK-French borders.
Bishop Paul McAleenan, lead Bishop for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, Bishop Nicholas Hudson, of Westminster Justice and Peace, Bishop Declan Lang, Bishop for International Affairs, and Bishop William Nolan, of Scottish Justice and Peace, as well as Fr Dominic Robinson sj current Chair of Westminster Justice and Peace, Fr Joe Ryan, retired Chair, and Canon Pat Browne, chaplain to Parliament, have all signed this important message to the Prime Minister.
More than 2 weeks on, the Prime Minister still has not replied, but Safe Passage, who organised the Letter, is calling for the provision for family reunification for the thousands of children, stranded across Europe, to be included in the Immigration Bill currently going through Parliament. Alas the relevant amendment, on family reunification, was defeated by the Commons at this stage. It has still to go to the Lords and then back to the Commons.
The Bill has several omissions which will adversely affect migrants and refugees, including no end to indefinite detention. Bishops Paul McAleenan and William Nolan had already protested about this in an earlier statement. Nor is there any provision for Family Reunification for unaccompanied migrant children. Beth Gardiner Smith, CEO of Safe Passage, said,
“We are inspired and grateful that so many faith leaders stand shoulder to shoulder with child refugees. Last winter, the government gave repeated assurances in Parliament that it was committed to helping child refugees join their relatives in the UK but it has now published a Brexit negotiating position that would replace concrete family reunion rights with a watered-down, discretionary system. There is a clear moral case for the UK to take leadership of this issue and provide safe and legal routes for child refugees.”
Three Catholic members of the Safe Passage Campaigns team, Judyann Masters of Holy Apostles, Pimlico, Barbara Kentish, of Westminster Justice and Peace, and Judith Williams, of St Mary’s, Poole, Dorset, are seeking further partners to lobby for more Catholic support for this issue. If you have the time, contact the following for further information:
Barbarakentish@talktalk.net ; or firstname.lastname@example.org ; or Judith Williams via Safe Passage organiser, Mia.email@example.com
Threat of homelessness for destitute asylum seekers
On Friday 3rd July, BBC Newsnight interviewed Sarah Teather, director of the Jesuit Refugee Service in a special report on homelessness after the coronavirus pandemic. The report showed some of the work being done at the their centre in Wapping, which includes delivery of emergency food and toiletry packages to destitute refugees around London. BBC Newsnight journalist Richard Watson also spoke with one of JRS UK’s destitute refugee friends, who is temporarily housed in hotel accommodation. To see more about the programme, and how you can catch it on iPlayer go to the JRS website. There are also lots of other positive articles on the work they are doing. If you are interested in their ‘At Home’ hosting scheme, there is more information below under the Events section of this e-bulletin.
Bishop urges UK and France to address reasons why migrants
risk their lives to cross the Channel
Bishop Paul McAleenan, the lead Bishop for Migrants and Refugees has urged the UK and French governments to work together to eradicate the underlying reasons that result in migrants risking their lives in an attempt to cross the English Channel to reach Britain. Bishop McAleenan has said that he would like to see the joint agreement made between the UK and France, and that he wanted to see protection of the vulnerable as the principle motivating factor. His full comments are available to read here.
‘To listen in order to be reconciled’ Sarah Hassan reflects on her experience of becoming internally displaced, ahead of the 106th World Migrant and Refugee Day slated for 27 September. Available on the Vatican News website.
Pope Francis keeps the spotlight on the plight of migrants and refugees.
On July 8, 2013, Francis made his first journey outside the Vatican as pope to visit the remote island of Lampedusa, near Sicily, to draw attention to the plight of migrants and refugees. There he threw a wreath of flowers into the sea in their memory and wept for the thousands who had died on the Mediterranean during perilous sea-crossings as they sought refuge in Europe. Then, in a powerful homily at Mass on the Lampedusa sports ground, he denounced “the globalization of indifference” in the face of the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II.
Seven years to the day later, Francis recalled that visit as he celebrated Mass in the chapel of the Santa Marta guesthouse where he lives in the Vatican. During his homily, Pope Francis reminded believers that “the encounter with the other is also an encounter with Christ. He himself told us. It is he who knocks on our door, hungry, thirsty, naked, sick, imprisoned, seeking an encounter with us and requesting our assistance. And if we still had any doubt, here are his unequivocal words: ‘I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me’” (Mt 25:40).
America Magazine reports the full story.
7. Pope Francis and the background to the Season of Creation
The Season of Creation is an annual celebration uniting Christians in prayer and action for the protection of our common home. The idea of celebrating 1 September as a day of prayer for creation began at the wish of the Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios in 1989, and was endorsed by Pope Francis in 2015. The season runs from September 1 to October 4, the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi.
Read more through the Catholic Bishops Conference website here.
8. Remembering US Civil Rights Leader John Lewis
US Congressman John Robert Lewis, the last surviving speaker at the 1963 March on Washington, has died at the age of 80 on the 17th July, just a day ahead of Nelson Mandela Day. He was a pioneer of the US civil rights movement, and co-organised the 1963 March on Washington, at which Martin Luther King delivered his famous ‘I have a dream’ speech. Vatican News sum up his life and death here.
A final Freedom Ride: Kerry Kennedy, daughter of Robert F. Kennedy, tells
John Lewis’ story:-
‘It had been more than 50 years since John Lewis had first traveled through Montgomery, Alabama as a Freedom Rider, a fateful journey that would leave him bloodied and beaten and shape the course of his life.
But the memories instantly flooded back, fresh and raw, as the civil rights icon told my family his story in full, in his gentle, slow style.’ Read the full article through America Media here.
John Lewis has Left The Good Trouble to Us – John Pavlovitz writes beautifully and succinctly about the passing of John Lewis and finishes with:-
May we work for those on the horizon of history.
May we be faithful servants of our better selves.
May we be steadfast in making the America that could be.
May we be worthy caretakers of the struggle.
May we be the very good troublemakers now.
Read his full article here.
John Robert Lewis, you were a true civil rights hero. Thank you, and may you now rest in peace.
9. Being Black and Catholic
During the past few months, with the reality of racism coming into the spotlight, and the need to tackle prejudice, The Diocese of Westminster Communications Team has invited four individuals to share openly and frankly their experiences of being Black and Catholic. The result is a video that combines their stories.
Rev Paschal Uche is a deacon and will soon be ordained as the first British-born Black priest in the Diocese of Brentwood. Kamara Katama is a lay chaplain at a Catholic sixth form college in South London. Caroline King is an Executive Head teacher in the London Borough of Hackney, with responsibility for two primary schools. Fr Joseph Okoro is Assistant Priest at Holy Rood Church, Watford and was ordained as a priest in the Diocese of Westminster three years ago. Go to the Independent Catholic News website to read the full article and listen to the videos.
10. Global Amazon Assembly ends with call to defend region
The First Global Assembly for the Amazon closes with a Final Declaration which states that ecocide, ethnocide and terricide are worse than the Coronavirus. Read more here.
11. The Damage Done – Reputational and Real (London Mining Network)
In solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, LMN recently issued a statement making clear the link between mining, imperialism and racism. Rio Tinto then swiftly gave the world a further illustration of it: it destroyed a 46,000 year old Aboriginal site of ‘staggering’ significance in Western Australia so that it could expand its Pilbara iron ore operations. Read the full article here.
12. Lebanon in crisis and no one cares.
At a press conference presenting Caritas Internationalis’ annual report, the Lebanon representative of the Church’s humanitarian agency gives a harrowing account of the spiraling humanitarian crisis crippling the country.
The Caritas Lebanon Director, Rita Rhayem, explained that Lebanon, a crucial player in the Middle East, a nation that “that hosts an important number of Syrian refugees and migrant workers, is now at the verge of collapse, amid the silence of the international community.” Read and listen here.
13. 70 years of War on the Korean peninsula – the women work for peace
A Women of Faith Pilgrim Team gathered, some in person and others virtually, in South Korea from 13-15 July. They were there to listen and accompany Korean church women as they called for an end to patriarchy – manifested in the Japanese colonization of Korea and establishment of ‘comfort women’ and also in the Korean War — and to the resulting pain and injustice that remains a grim daily reality for many today. To read the article go to the World Council of Churches website.
Statue of Peace in the demilitarized zone between the two Koreas, a symbol of the victims of
wartime sexual slavery, known as comfort women. Photo: Grégoire de Fombelle/WCC
14. Stark warning from the UN re hunger
More people are going hungry, an annual study by the United Nations has found. Tens of millions have joined the ranks of the chronically undernourished over the past five years, and countries around the world continue to struggle with multiple forms of malnutrition.
The latest edition of the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World, published on the 13th July, estimates that almost 690 million people went hungry in 2019 – up by 10 million from 2018, and by nearly 60 million in five years. High costs and low affordability also mean billions cannot eat healthily or nutritiously. The hungry are most numerous in Asia but expanding fastest in Africa. Across the planet, the report forecasts, the Coronavirus pandemic could tip over 130 million more people into chronic hunger by the end of 2020. (Flare-ups of acute hunger in the pandemic context may see this number escalate further at times.). Read more through the UNICEF website (or follow the link above to the report itself).
15. Pakistan: Kidnapped Christian girl pregnant
We reported some months ago about the fact that around 1,000 Christian and Hindu women and girls are abducted every year in Pakistan. The parents of Huma Younus, who was 14 years old when kidnapped, and is now 15, have received a telephone call from Huma telling them that she has now become pregnant as a result of the sexual violence she has been subjected to. Further details on this sad tale are available from Independent Catholic News.
16. Palestinian Solidarity Campaign’s ‘University Complicity Database’
Israel’s system of institutionalised racist discrimination, amounting to the crime of apartheid, can only be sustained because of weapons, technology and other support it receives from companies around the world. UK Universities collectively invest nearly over £450m in companies complicit in Israeli violations of international law.
Check out the PSC’s guide on how to build a campaign to get #ApartheidOffCampus and get your university to pledge to be #ApartheidFree!
17. Coming out of Covid lockdown, only to face another deadly problem…
A wave of killing of women and children has horrified South Africa in recent weeks since the gradual easing of the coronavirus lockdown restrictions on the 1st June. The police say the end of the nine-week ban on alcohol sales contributed to a spike in crime and gender-related violence directed at women and children.
With one of the highest rates of violence against women in the world, gender-based violence is not a new problem in South Africa. A woman is murdered in South Africa every three hours. To read the article go to America Magazine.
18. China: forcibly aborting, sterilising hundreds of thousands
The Independent Catholic News have reported on the above happening in the Xinjiang area of China; seemingly happening only to ethnic minorities. Read their full report here.
19.Six reasons to choose Fairtrade Chocolate –
(and yes, you knew there would be chocolate in here
Think all chocolate is the same? And what about all the different sustainability labels you find on supermarket shelves? Think again…
If you love chocolate, and who doesn’t, you want your choices to actually make a difference for farmers. Follow this link to the Fairtrade site, and see what Fairtrade means for incomes, empowerment and farmers having control over their own futures.
20. London Mining Network of 16th July
If you haven’t heard of them before, the London Mining Network has a vision of a just future based on a lower demand for mining and on respect for human rights and ecological justice (including the rights of nature) where mining does take place. Their July newsletter has lots of interesting articles and about where they are getting involved. Click here.
21. Faith Matters
Year 12 students at St John Bosco College Battersea have produced the second edition of their magazine, ‘Faith Matters’, written and edited by students for an audience of adults. The termly magazine is produced for staff at the college, and the editorial group aims to address issues in Christianity that have captured their attention and are not widely covered in the press. Not all of it is J & P related, but it is still a good and thought-provoking read.
22. Embrace Magazine
Embrace is the Christian development charity tackling poverty and injustice in the Middle East. There are lots of positive bits of news in their June magazine. They also mention the cancellation of their June lecture, which would have featured journalist John McCarthy, who you may remember was kidnapped in Beirut in 1986, and miraculously released some years later. He will still be appearing in what they bill as a series of online digital events taking place in the Autumn. That will certainly be one to look out for.
23. Diocese of Nottingham – Grapevine
News from Adult Formation, Justice and Peace, and Caritas – obviously a lot is related to the good work going on in the Diocese of Nottingham, but still an interesting read. Click here.
24. JPIT July Newsletter
As summer gets underway and schools finish for the holidays, we are beginning to look ahead at
what life over the next few months might look like. As churches, closely linked to our local
communities, we know that this transition will be different for everyone. New challenges will
arise, particularly for those locked in poverty, facing unemployment or dealing with physical and
mental health challenges. It continues to be incredibly important that we Stay Alert to Justice,
seeking to include everyone in recovery.
This month, as we respond to the Government’s plans, we’re inviting you to explore with us
what an economy that supports us from recovery to flourishing might look like. We’ve also got
some calls to action, to speak out with Fairtrade farmers and countries facing overwhelming debt. Click here to read more.
25. Birmingham Justice and Peace Assembly 2020
26. JRS Open Evening for their At Home scheme
JRS UK is currently looking for new volunteer hosts to join their ‘At Home’ hosting scheme which facilitates short-term hosting placements in London for our refugee friends at high risk of street homelessness.
Join us from 18:30-19:15 on Tuesday 11th August on Zoom for a discussion with Naomi, At Home’s coordinator. For more details follow this link.
27. Embrace Prayer Diary
Embrace had over 160 years’ experience of responding to humanitarian needs and upholding the Christian presence in the Middle East.
The world has changed a lot over those long decades, but one thing remains constant – our partners’ faith in God’s transformational love. It’s a source of strength and inspiration for them to know that people across the world are praying for them as they face the challenges of life amid conflict, poverty and injustice.
Your prayers are more important than ever in these difficult times and the new format enables them to give you more detail and more creative prayer ideas.
Their Prayer Diary is issued twice a year and includes one prayer prompt for each week. You can use them in your church services, in prayer groups, or during private prayer. Click here for more information.
28. Global Justice Now Videos
Global Justice Now have put together a series of video interviews giving southern persepectives on the coronavirus pandemic. The video interviews present internationalist viewpoints on how Covid-19 is playing out in different societies. Each interview is with a leader or member of southern movements and progressive organisations that they are working with and respect. They want to highlight their visions and the possibilities born out from social activism and progressive processes they are building. Interviews are available here.
29. Christian CND Prayer Meeting
Christian CND invite you to join them at their next Prayer Meeting via Zoom, taking place on Wednesday 29th July at 8pm. Please use this Twitter link to see more details.
30. ‘The Filter’ – Fairtrade’s mini-series on Coffee
Start learning the secrets of great coffee; from top tips on brewing up at home, to how farmers’ hard work gives us those brilliant beans in the first place. Sign up here.
31. The annual Big Ride for Palestine
You can ride 36 or 44 miles in the seven days from Monday 27th July to Sunday 2nd August as part of the Big Solidarity Ride, or you can take the Big Ride Challenge, and cycle 440 miles before the end of August.
However you take part, you’ll be raising vital funds for Middle East Children’s Alliance. The money raised will fund sports programmes for children in Gaza, where trauma is common as a result of the Israeli siege and regular brutal military assaults.
This year, the ride is raising money to support the construction of a playground in Khuza’a Village in Southern Gaza. The village faced almost total destruction in Israel’s 2014 ground invasion and aerial bombardment of Gaza. Follow this link.
32. ***ACTION OF THE WEEK***
Time to End no Recourse to Public Funds
Nobody should be left behind – not now, not ever!
Citizens UK have been working on some issues with people who have no recourse to public funds. Please follow this link and support them in their work.
33. Short Survey for Christian CND
“Christian CND is committed to sharing the message of nuclear disarmament and peace to all believers in the UK. Working with you we have a vision for the church united in working and prayer for a nuclear weapons-free world.
We know it isn’t always easy to talk about these issues though, some of the information and concepts can be daunting and there are differing views on the teaching of the Bible. However we believe many Christians will support nuclear disarmament if we can just get their attention and explain the issues in a clear and unbiased way.
Christian CND are putting together a range of resources which we hope will help you speak to your friends, family, small groups of Christians and even your church. To make sure we serve you in the best possible way, we want to hear from you about what you’d find useful.
There’s a short survey you can take to help us as we develop things in the coming weeks and months.”
34. Hope Not Hate Open Letter
Across the northwest Chinese province of Xinjiang the Uyghur people are being persecuted, and household brands are profiting because of it.
In the Xinjiang province in northwest China as many as three million Uyghur people have been held in so-called re-education camps.
There they have been brutalised, many have been tortured, and there are even credible claims of women being subject to forced sterilisations.
Please sign this open letter to the Chief Executives of Nike, Adidas, Puma, Fila, BMW, Jaguar and Apple, asking them to confirm that they are not using forced labour and that they review all their China-based operations.
35. Elżbieta – imprisoned for ‘offending religious beliefs’
Elżbieta Podleśna, an LGBTI+ activist in Poland, has just been indicted for ‘offending religious beliefs’. Her crime? Allegedly owning a poster of the Virgin Mary with a rainbow halo.
Elżbieta could face up to two years in prison.
The police raided Elżbieta’s house early in the morning on 6 May 2019.They arrested her and detained her for several hours, confiscating her electronic equipment, including laptop, phone and memory cards.
There’s no evidence of a crime being committed here, which means Elżbieta has simply been targeted for her peaceful activism.
LGBTI+ rights defenders are facing more and more harassment in Poland. With your help we can fight back. She urgently needs your support. Please email Poland’s Prosecutor General through this link.
Many of you will not be aware that there is a LGBT+ Catholics Westminster Group. Click on the link for more information.
36. Help shape ShareAction’s work
Covid-19 has made it clear that our pension providers should be considering health, workers’ rights and the climate when they invest our pension savings.
ShareAction are determined to build a financial system that works for people and planet, anre currently planning their next 12 months of work – and want to hear from you!
It’s your money – through your pension – that props up the financial system. They want to make sure that their campaigning reflects what you want your money to do.
What campaigns and content do you want from them in the coming year? Can you fill in the ShareAction survey to let them know?
37. Do not let the Covid-19 Vaccine be part of a secret deal
Luigi was one of the first volunteers to take part in Oxford University’s Covid-19 vaccine trials.
But he was shocked to find out that despite public funding for the research, Oxford University has signed a secret agreement with UK pharma giant, AstraZeneca to manufacture the vaccine. And worries that big pharma monopolies could stop access to this vital vaccine.
Co-sign Luigi’s letter to Oxford University and AstraZeneca. He’s demanding they publish their secret deal and ensure big pharma monopolies don’t stop affordable Covid-19 vaccines for all. Click here to add your support.
38. Global Just Now: Coronavirus – Drop the debt
We included this in the last e-bulletin, but in case you missed it, please consider signing this petition to our Chancellor of the Exchequer, urging proper debt cancellation. The number of new coronavirus cases across Africa increased by 24% last week. We’ve been warned that 500 million people could be pushed into poverty because of the pandemic. Countries like El Salvador have been completely overwhelmed, its health system is close to collapse.
This pandemic is far from over. Yet as governments across the global south struggle to deal with the crisis, they continue to pay hundreds of millions of pounds to some of the richest hedge funds on earth. Today we launch a report with Jubilee Debt Campaign, Oxfam and Christian Aid, which shows that even in the pandemic, the lowest income countries are spending $2.8 billion a month servicing their debts – with nearly $1 billion every month going into the coffers of large banks and investment funds.
More information and to add your name, click here.
39. Tell Boris to stop hijacking the aid budget
Last month, the prime minister announced plans to hand over control of UK aid to the Foreign Office. This is almost certain to mean more money going to fossil fuel projects, private hospitals and unaccountable private equity funds.
The ‘merger’ of the Department for International Development into the Foreign Office is a terrible decision that will destroy aid effectiveness and transparency, hinder public scrutiny of development policy, and see aid being used to boost British businesses rather than tackling global inequalities. For further details and to sign the e-petition, click here.
40. Young Christian Climate Network
A group of Christians aged 18-30 are in the very early stages of setting up a Young Christian Climate Network (YCCN), the first independent, youth-led Christian network of climate justice activists and advocates in the UK.
If you know any Christians aged 18-30 who would be interested in shaping this network, please get in touch with them! They will need to email: – firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
41. Global Healing
Global Healing is a film-based resource to help us to respond to the damage being done to our planet – our common home. It’s for parishes, groups and individuals and aims to inform, challenge and equip people to engage with Pope Francis’ vital call to Care For Our Common Home.
“There’s no doubt that we are doing great damage to our planet – our common home. Pope Francis calls on all of us to respond and this CaFE-filmed resource will help us do that together in our communities and families, for the sake of future generations.”
Right. Reverend John Arnold, Bishop of Salford
42. Global Caring
‘Global Caring’ works as a stand-alone or companion volume to ‘Global Healing’ and is intended to encourage parish groups and individuals to living in harmony with God’s creation.
“We are recognising the extent of the challenge. I hope that Global Caring will assist in developing that essential, practical and spiritual response that we all need to make. Let’s celebrate all that is being achieved and, with hope and determination, work to repair our common home.”
Right. Reverend John Arnold, Bishop with responsibility for the environment
43. Prepare the Future
Pope Francis has called us to ‘prepare the future’, not passively ‘prepare for the future’. With this new 12 unit resource we hope our young people – as prophets of change for the world – will begin to paint a picture of tomorrow. Each unit offers leaders’ notes (also suitable for young adults) alongside young people’s notes and resources for reflection. We also provide editable material for you to create your own, bespoke resources. The first two units – Called to be and Called to listen – can be downloaded from Million Minutes.
44. Palestinian Solidarity Campaign – Youth opportunity
Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) is looking for talented and enthusiastic students to join its Youth and Student Committee (YSC.) We are looking for enthusiastic campaigners with relevant experience who are committed to the aims and objectives of PSC. Working with the rest of the YSC, you will advise on campaigns and aid us in bringing effective support to student societies. You will be creative, enthusiastic, and understand how to work well with others. Details here.
45. Jesuit Refugee Service
JRS are looking for a part-time Grants and Trusts Fundraising Officer, and a Detention Outreach Manager. More details of both vacancies are available here.
46. THE LAST WORD
Community choirs in Sheffield have come together online beautifully for an e-choir rendition of the Disney classic ‘A Whole New World’ from the film Aladdin. Thanks to Church Action on Poverty for sharing it. Click here to read the story and enjoy the singing!
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