Religious Lobby Parliament

On 15 May 2013 more than 250 nuns, monks, friars, priests and bishops from across the UK travelled to London to lobby their MPs, to demand that the government take action to end global hunger. Many of those at this lobby have worked and lived in developing countries, and seen first hand the effects of hunger. Among the religious in attendance were Fr Charles Ramsay, Sr Vianney Connolly and Sr Gwyn Richards who are all based in North Wales, and have been key campaigners and supporters of Justice and Peace for many years.

This is what Sr Vianney Connolly had to say about the day:

We are young, we are old, in your world our lives unfold…” these words are playing over and over in my mind since singing them in the Methodist Central Hall on Wednesday, 15 May – stage one of the Hunger Lobby in Westminster by Religious, Priests and lay Associates. A blast of torrential rain had greeted Sr. Gwyn and me as we left our house in North Wales at 6.45am, but in London the rain was gentle and the temperature mild. Later the sun emerged and we felt invigorated in our campaign to tackle the root causes of hunger in the world.

“Our lives unfold” resonated with me not just because the tune sat in my consciousness but because one of the facts that disturbs me deeply and sits on my conscience is that every 12 seconds a child dies of problems related to malnutrition- these lives just don’t unfold. And those who survive have minds and bodies damaged and stunted. So that was my main reason for travelling to London and was why we were eager to lobby our MPs ahead of the G8 Summit in June, when David Cameron will hold the Presidency and the accompanying influence at the  decision-making table.

Alyn and Deeside MP, Mark Tami, came to meet Sr. Gwyn and me and invited us to talk over a cup of tea in the Pugin Room, overlooking the Thames. As we voiced our concerns and hopes I thought how blessed we are in the UK to have these opportunities for speaking up on behalf of those whose voices are never heard. And when we returned to the great hall in the Houses of Parliament, where we filled in our evaluation forms of our lobbying, focussed on Nutrition, Tax and Transparency, a feeling of awe came over me because it was in this very Hall that St. Thomas More, Chancellor of England, was condemned to death for following his conscience!

We returned to the Methodist Central Hall, minus the banners that had been carried aloft on our outward journey from the Hall in the corner of Parliament Square to the Houses of Parliament and St Stephen’s door. They bore either a slogan, “Enough Food for Everyone“ or a prayer, “Give Us Today Our Daily Bread”. On the reverse we had written boldly our home town and the name of our Religious family. It had been a sea of banners. The day closed with an Evening Prayer accompanied by trumpet, clarinet and guitar. A few short speeches followed as Cafod had worked alongside Church Action on Poverty, Christian Aid and Progressio.

My overwhelming emotion as the 5.10pm train carried me homewards in bright sunlight was tremendous gratitude to the Cafod staff who had in a masterly but quiet way organised the day. From their warm-hearted welcome to their cup of tea at departure time they had been everywhere present in a friendly “family” way, creating an atmosphere of trust and joy. Thank you.

Religious orders lobby parliament to call on MPs to end global hunger

Religious Lobby

Hundreds of members of religious orders, priests and lay associates are preparing to meet their MPs on Wednesday 15 May to push for action on global hunger in a mass lobby organised by CAFOD as part of the Enough Food for Everyone IF campaign.

The monks and nuns, many of whom have lived and worked in developing countries, will raise with politicians the reasons why one in eight people worldwide go hungry, and challenge them to take action.

The lobby comes in the lead-up to the G8 summit which is held in the UK only once every eight years. This year, the Enough Food for Everyone IF campaign, of which CAFOD is a founder member, is bringing together over 170 development and faith-based organisations to call for action to tackle global hunger when G8 leaders meet in Northern Ireland this June.

Sister Pat Robb CJ, one of the lobby’s organisers, said, “I believe that we are given gifts by God to share, not to use selfishly for ourselves. It’s an appalling scandal that there’s so much hunger in the world. I’ve worked as a nurse in refugee camps and have seen many children with malnutrition and adults dying from starvation.

Big demonstrations, like the religious lobby and the rally planned for 8 June, make the government acknowledge that people from all backgrounds have a voice, that they’re prepared to take part and that the world is watching. We hope and pray that our politicians will not just listen to us, but will act to defend the poorest and most vulnerable in our world. As long as one person is still hungry, our work is not over.”

This lobby is also supported by JPIC Links (Justice Peace and Integrity of Creation), the Africa Europe Faith and Justice Network (AEFJN), the Conference of Religious (COR), Progressio, Trocaire, Church Action on Poverty and SCIAF.

CAFOD campaigns coordinator Maria Elena Arana said, “Members of Religious orders speak with authority and politicians recognise that. They’ve shown their influence before during Make Poverty History and the Climate Justice campaigns, we’re inviting them to do so again. We live in a world where two million children die of malnutrition each year, what could be more important than doing what we can to make 2013 the beginning of the end of global hunger?”

Archbishop Desmond Tutu has also added his support to the IF campaign.

He said: “Many decades ago, hundreds of thousands of British people joined the anti-Apartheid campaign. The same campaigners came together after Apartheid was dismantled to demand the cancellation of developing countries’ debt, and again in 2005 to demand poverty was consigned to history.

“They have also worked tirelessly for more than 40 years to realise the promise made by the wealthiest countries to spend 0.7 per cent of national income on aid.

“Looking at the hundred or so charities across Britain that have joined together for this campaign, I recognise veterans of the struggle against apartheid and debt – Oxfam, Christian Aid, CAFOD and many more – some inspired by their faith, some by their compassion – all driven by their steadfast refusal to accept the status quo of poverty and hunger in the 21st century.

The Enough Food for Everyone IF campaign knows that – to tackle the root causes of hunger – aid alone will never be enough; we have to knock down the Jericho Walls of the global systems that are keeping people poor.”

For more information visit: www.cafod.org.uk/Events/Religious-lobby

Unite to End Global Hunger: 8th June 2013

8th June

Currently 1 in 8 people do not have enough food to eat.

We produce enough food to feed the world, and yet people still go hungry.

It is not fair, and it doesn’t have to be like this.

 

On Saturday, 8th June 2013 please stand in solidarity and join us as we journey to London for a rally in Hyde Park where we will meet with thousands of campaigners and supporters of the ‘Enough Food for Everyone IF’ coalition to call on the G8 leaders to unite to end global hunger.

This will be a day to remember and we would like to encourage you to be part of this day. The two main events are an Ecumenical Service at 11:30am in Westminster Central Hall, followed by the G8 rally in Hyde Park at 2pm.

Timetable

Travel plans for 8th June 2013 can be downloaded here: Travel arrangements.

Katja and I will be traveling at these times, and so even if you have never been in London before, and aren’t sure of where you are going, don’t let that stop you as we would love to have you join us.

Please note we are able to subsidise some travel costs for the day.

To keep up to date with all that is planned for the day in London visit our website: www.cafod.org.uk/Events/IF-campaign-event

Should you require anymore information about the day please contact the North Wales office: 01978 355 084, northwales@cafod.org.uk

-Anne Fegan

 

Syria appeal breaks £1 million

Syria Appeal

Catholics in North Wales have contributed to more than £1 million raised by Catholic aid agency, CAFOD, for Syria.

Parish groups, schools and individuals around England and Wales have responded with huge generosity and compassion to raise more than £1,000,000 in response to CAFOD’s Syria Crisis appeal, the vast majority of it in just four weeks.

Katja Jewell, CAFOD’s manager for the North Wales said: “It’s a brilliant effort. Thank you to everyone for their continued generosity.”

More than 5.5 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian aid in Syria, while at least 1.2 million people have fled into neighbouring countries. In Lebanon, a team from Caritas Lebanon, CAFOD’s local partner, visits newly arrived refugees and makes sure they have somewhere to stay. They also provide food, like rice, pasta, cheese, beans and sugar, as well as hygiene kits with soap, toothpaste and toothbrushes, and towels and nappies for babies.

CAFOD is also one of only a handful of UK aid agencies that is able to work in Syria itself. For more than a year, CAFOD has helped Church partners inside the country to provide food, shelter and medical supplies. The generosity of donations to the Syria Crisis appeal means that CAFOD can rapidly scale up this work.

Mike Noyes, CAFOD’s Head of Humanitarian Programmes, said:

I’ve just returned from Lebanon, where I met people who’d lost their homes, their possessions and their loved ones because of the war in Syria. Many of them arrived in Lebanon with nothing more than the clothes on their back.

“It’s thanks to the immense generosity and solidarity of our Catholic community that we can fund this crucial work in Lebanon and in Syria itself, as well as supporting programmes helping refugees in Jordan and Turkey with food, relief supplies, cold weather clothing and shelter materials.

To donate to CAFOD’s Syria crisis Appeal or for more information, please visit; www.cafod.org.uk/Give/Donate-to-Emergencies/Syria-Crisis-appeal

8 world leaders. 8 June. Your chance to stop 1 in 8 people going hungry.

It is less than two months until Saturday, 8th June 2013 when the G8 rally will take place in Hyde Park in London!

In North Wales and throughout the UK people have been doing a brilliant job of raising awareness of the  ‘Enough Food for Everyone IF’ campaign. Thank you to everyone who have been working hard to campaign for both ‘Hungry for Change’ and ‘IF’,

BUT we still have a long way to go, and so please keep up the good work and encourage as many people as possible to attend the G8 rally in Hyde Park.

The G8 rally will be a day to remember where tens of thousands of people will gather to tell the G8 leaders that in 2013 it is time for action.

More information about the day can be found here:

www.cafod.org.uk/Campaign/Take-action-today/The-Big-IF

www.cafod.org.uk/Events/IF-campaign-event

Also, please send us a photo of your group with your Big IF (with the number of people who have taken part) to bigif@cafod.org.uk or post them on our Facebook wall.

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IF you do one thing to support the Enough Food for Everyone IF campaign this year, please join us on 8 June in London from 11am-5pm.

A historic day for the UK’s aid commitments

On 20 March 2013, the UK became the first G8 nation to commit to spending 0.7 per cent of national income on international development aid. This achievement in the Budget is one of the greatest promises to the world’s poorest people. Campaigners are celebrating the announcement, which came over 40 years after the promise was first made at the United Nations in 1970.

This would not have been possible had it not been for our supporters from across the Catholic Community in England and Wales have consistently worked to achieve this goal believing that saving and improving lives through aid is a moral duty and remains a crucial part of effective development. The aid budget not only saves lives but allows people to stand on their own two feet through supporting essential services such as health and education that enable people to thrive.

Here in North Wales in the build up to the Budget, campaigners young and old were very busy speaking to their local MPs, about the ‘Enough Food for Everyone IF’ campaign.

Thank you especially to Chris Ruane, MP for Vale of Clwyd; David Hanson, MP for Delyn; and Mark Tami, MP for Deeside who all took time to meet with CAFOD campaigners, answer their questions and show their support for the ‘Enough Food for Everyone IF’ campaign.

photoDavid Hanson

CAFOD Salford Presents Halle Choir in Concert

Halle Flyer

Fatima and her baby in a refugee camp in Darfur with inset of first Fast Day poster of 1960. The first Fast Day raised money for a mother and baby clinic in Dominica, West Indies.

CAFOD SALFORD would like to invite you to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the first Lent Fast Day in a very special way: “An evening of Sacred Song & Light Opera by the world famous Halle Choir. Celebration is a key to the evening, marking the foresight of the ladies of the National Board of Catholic Women (NBCW)  who organised the very first Fast Day and the commitment of all our CAFOD supporters, who over the last 50 years have generously continued this tradition.

Our venue is St Patrick’s Church, Livesey St, Collyhurst, Manchester, M4 4JF at 7.30pm on the 6th March. St Patrick’s is a very beautiful church on the site of the first Catholic Church built in the city after the Restoration of the Hierarchy. Tickets are available from the CAFOD Salford office on 0161 705 0605 or by credit card on 0207 095 5684. Do join us for this evening fundraising celebration. Tickets are £18 and refreshments will be served.

Please click on the following link for a downloadable flyer for the event:

Halle Choir Flyer