Its Timely to Close the Gap…

Some things we do because we feel that we just have to do them.  Some things we do because it feels like the ‘right time’ to do them.  Right now, it seems like our Close the Gap campaign is hitting the button on both counts…

Not only is the UK more unequal than at any time in 40 years, but all the evidence is that the gap between rich and poor is continuing to widen.  Just when the impact of unparalleled spending cuts is starting to bite, we read that bankers’ bonuses last year reached a staggering £14 billion. The UK continues to generate great wealth, but distributes it unequally. This is not just or sustainable.  The need for a campaign to Close the Gap has never been greater.

The message of Close the Gap is not only needed – but appears to be striking a chord within the Churches.  It was fantastic to be able to sit in on the session at Methodist Conference, in Southport earlier this month, at which the Methodist Church ‘enthusiastically’ signed up to the Close the Gap campaign.   And, likewise last weekend the annual National Justice and Peace Network Conference signed up to the campaign.  In total, we have now secured over 3,000 Pledges to Give, Act or Pray – but with your help, we need to make this many, many more…

More than that, we not only know the scale of the problem – but can also celebrate some success in our work over the past few weeks – in winning awards for our local group in Barnsley and as North East Campaigners of the Year for our tireless Thrive campaigners in Stockton on Tees; in developing a code of practice with high cost lenders to tackle irresponsible lending practices; in ensuring the voices of people with personal experience of poverty are heard in the corridors of power.

For nearly 30 years now, Church Action on Poverty has been clear that the task of the churches is to enable all people to enjoy life in all its fullness, to speak out prophetically and challenge unjust structures which deny people this God given opportunity.  Its great to know that, in increasing numbers, the churches are with us in this task.

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