Hiding in Plain View: New Year Message 2017

Poverty is many things. Poverty is hiding in plain view. Poverty is people. Not.. ‘them’. Us. Just a few lines from one of the poems written by a group of people with direct experience of poverty and professional writers as part of our Powerlines project.


The Salford NICE group, formed to challenge the stigma of poverty in 2014

Part of Church Action on Poverty’s mission has always been to give a voice, a face and a name to those of us who experience poverty on a daily basis.  That can be a challenge for a church which is increasingly middle class, and which is more comfortable providing services for people in poverty than creating the space for people to take action, speak out or exercise leadership themselves.  But it is precisely this challenge which our developing ‘Church of the Poor’ programme is starting to explore.

Poor Church, Transfigured Church is the theme for this year’s Church Action on Poverty Sunday (26 February). It is an opportunity to reflect on some of these issues in Sunday worship, or over a simple soup lunch – and to raise funds to enable us to help churches to respond to the call to be a ‘poor Church for the poor.’  Resources to enable you to do this are available both on our website at http://www.church-poverty.org.uk/sunday.

Our new End Hunger UK campaign is rooted in a vision of a society in which everyone has access to good food, and no one has to go to bed hungry.  This vision too is grounded in the work we have done over the past year to explore what the ‘Right to Food’ means from the perspective of people who know what it means to go without food on a regular basis.

The start of a new year is both a time for looking forward – and for reflecting on the impact of our work over the past year.  Whilst there are many reasons for both looking back on 2016 – and forwards to 2017 – with fear and trepidation. But, we must never lose sight of the powerful words of Martin Luther King:

‘The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.’

At Church Action on Poverty we continue to seek to bend both the church and wider society towards the goal of a Good Society, in which all can flourish.  We look forward to continuing to work with you in this task.

Happy New Year

Niall Cooper

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