By John Battle, Commission Chair
On the 24th June 2020 we held the annual meeting of our Leeds Diocesan Justice and Peace Commission as an open “gathering” on ” Zoom” to announce the refocussing of our project work; responding as a Diocese to the climate crisis, developing our parish “Poverty in the UK” workshop pack as an on line resource and reasserting tackling peace and non-violence. These priorities were discussed in ‘break out’ groups and we have three Action Groups working on these priorities which people are welcome to join. The discussions were very productive and uplifting, thank you to all who contributed.
We introduced our new project organiser, heard from our young person’s J& P “SPARK Social Justice” worker and Christine Allen director of CAFOD was our guest speaker. Aoibheann Kelly, our SPARK project director, explained how the project has gone online, using YouTube for young people to access videos with interviews inspiring young people to get involved with social justice issues. There will be an autumn programme for each educational setting of Zoom meeting where young people can come together to work to tackle social issues.
Christine took us on an illustrated tour guide of the work CAFOD is continuing to support in Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Bangladesh, Ecuador and Jerusalem – despite the lock down at head office. CAFOD, despite the serious pressures of Covid19, is still out there tackling poverty and fostering real longer term development. For CAFOD the short term issue is a drop off of funds to support the projects.
Throughout the diocese in recent years we have been welcoming and supporting those fleeing from the conflict in Syria and their families. Now, there are accounts of a currency collapse and soaring food prices, half the population going to bed hungry and over a million facing starvation. This is causing great distress for Syrian refugees settled in Yorkshire, as they still have relatives there. Syria faces an immediate food emergency and governments must press now for international aid to be allowed into Government run and rebel held areas alike to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe.
In the UK, it is reported that not all have struggled equally under Covid19 lock down and some report they are better off! Some who have mercifully avoided or have survived the illness and have stayed in may well have found they have saved a bit. Not all pensioners for example find themselves out of pocket and have saved by not going out. Perhaps some of that saved surplus could go to CAFOD who need it now to continue helping the poor and desperate and promoting CAFOD’s “Summer of Hope”. Their work “saves lives” too. On top of the Summer of Hope appeal, CAFOD is part of the DEC Emergency Coronavirus Appeal and people can donate by clicking the link here
CAFOD has joined forces with the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) to help millions of vulnerable people whose lives are at risk as the coronavirus pandemic spreads across refugee camps and countries suffering conflict.
Families who have been forced to flee their homes in places including Syria, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, now face another deadly threat as coronavirus takes hold in new areas. There are not enough hospital beds or supplies to treat those who fall ill, and families face hunger as a result of lockdowns, price rises and job losses.
We need to reach and protect the most vulnerable who have already lost everything.
Summer of Hope
You and your family are invited to be part of a Summer of Hope to ensure clean water and food reaches some of the poorest families in the world during this global emergency.
The Olympics, the Notting Hill Carnival, Glastonbury and Euro 2020 might be some of the fun things that are on hold until next summer – but we can still come together as a sign of hope by raising money for communities who need it most during the coronavirus crisis.
Diocesan CAFOD worker Bronagh Daly comments “After seeing the phenomenal community spirit emerge from the recent lockdown in the UK, we want to inspire the nation to remain hopeful this summer by recreating at home the events you’ll be missing”. Click the button below for more details.Summer of Hope