The Commission agreed that it should start to make more details of its meetings available via this website.
So here they are! – but rather than present the minutes per se we will attempt to convey the key points of each meeting so you can get a flavour of what was discussed.
Our new website has now been live for over a month and new content is being added all the time. When there is little money available, a website becomes a lot more important as a way of engaging with everyone in the diocese.
Improving Participation in the Commission
It might be called the ‘Leeds’ diocese, but the Commission is only too well aware that the diocese includes Bradford, Huddersfield, Halifax, Wakefield and places like Skipton, Settle and Selby. So, we put an invitation in the last newsletter to see if parishes around the diocese would be willing to host a Commission meeting. We have received an invitation from Skipton and the Commission agreed that a meeting in late November would be held there. The idea is that we reserve half the time available for items that people from that area want to raise with the Commission. Another invitation has since been received to host a meeting in Bradford and we will look to do this in the first quarter of 2016.
The Refugee Crisis
This was the biggest item on the agenda of this meeting. The current situation is clearly a Social Justice priority – and refugees have long been high on the Commission’s agenda. The Commission was instrumental in the setting up of St.Monica’s Housing, which has provided support and accommodation to failed asylum seekers in the last few years. Commission members continue to be active in this endeavour and the Bishop has asked St.Monica’s to be firmed up into a Trust and Taskforce for the diocese. Our Chair, John Battle, has been asked (alongside the SVP lead for the diocese and others) to help co-ordinate the practical response of the diocese to the situation.
People naturally want to respond. However, those responses need to be appropriate and need to address the real needs of refugees. Many of those coming will be vulnerable children and adults or people with injuries or other special needs and aspects of care and safeguarding need to figure strongly in relation to any proposed action. The Commission is encouraged by the coming together of groups, both faith-based and secular, in Leeds and Bradford. This will ensure that responses are co-ordinated and efforts are not wasted.
The preparations for our conference about Palestine at the end of September are progressing well and the Working Party are sure that attendees will find it a rewarding event.
Our AGM and half-day conference about Climate Change have been set for Nov 7th. St.Benedict’s in Garforth is the venue. This location was chosen because, although not a city centre location, it is easy to get to by public transport (being only a 2 minute walk from Garforth station). It also has a long history of hosting such events.
Speakers have been lined up and marketing of the event will get underway shortly. Given the interest already displayed in the pope’s encyclical we are hopeful that this event will appeal to a wide range of people who want to find out more and work out what actions they can take in their own parishes.