Old News & Views

JPIC Links Day, 2013

Joanna Woodd, Alison Wotherspoon, Andrea Smyth at the JPIC Links Day
 A report on this is attached.


National Justice and Peace Network Conference, 19-20 July 2013

 A report on this is attached.


The Big IF Rally Saturday 8 June 2013

 A report on this is attached


Enough Food For Everyone “IF”

The Lobby of Parliament by Religious, Priests, and Lay Associates on Wednesday 15 May 2013

The day stared with a service in Westminster Central Hall, where the 4 TSSF members met up, plus Vaughan and Hugh. Many photos were taken, and then we marched to Westminster Hall with our placards, to the astonishment of many tourists. Once inside the Great Hall we were seated in geographical areas. Paul Dudgen came to talk to us in our group and was very sympathetic to the points we made:

1. 2 million children under the age of 5, die annually from malnutrition each year. Food banks are increasing rapidly in this country.
2. Tax Evasion and Avoidance robs poorer countries of an estimated £102bn per year. The cost of ending hunger has been estimated at £ 33bn.
3. Transparency, Corporate Reporting is currently aimed at Investors. There is little recognition that powerful companies need to be accountable to broader society, including workers, producers and consumers.

Over 60 M.P.’s came to talk to us, The International Development Minister, Alan Duncan, The Shadow Development Secretary, Ivan Lewis and the Leader of the Opposition, Ed Miliband came and addressed everyone in the Hall. Many lobbyists had private appointments with their M.P’s.

We then returned to Central Hall for a cup of tea and the final service. I have to say many of the Nuns were quite elderly and handicapped but they were determined marchers. Age was no deterrent to them.

On, 8th June, there will be a meeting led by Mr Cameron on the situation of food and malnutrition in the world before the G8 conference to be held in Ireland later in June. This is why it is so important for us to show we care. There will also be another gathering of supporters on June the 8th to keep up the pressure. Information can be found on CAFOD website.



JPIC Study Weekend April 19th-21st

The weekend was led by Peter Woods from A Rocha, and the atmosphere was informal, with less time given to learning about A Rocha (Christians in Conservation), than to sharing with one another our concerns for projects in our own area. We also saw a moving film on the effects of over-fishing.

A Rocha is a group that started in 1983 with a campaign by Christians to save a large Nature Reserve round the shores of an estuary in Portugal, which was scheduled to become a Golf Course and be developed, which would also mean edging out the existing peasants who had been there for generations. A Rocha is now an international movement, with a particularly strong base in Canada, but active in local communities in Africa and other parts of the world. Thirty years old but still growing steadily! A Rocha’s strength is that its projects are always community-based. Peter Woods took as his example the Southall Project, where the parish church decided to reclaim for the community an extensive litter-strewn stretch of waste land used for fly-tipping. The vicar found an unexpected ally in the chairman of the local Council, who was a Sikh. The two faith communities combined forces, and inspired the local school, plus the parents, to join hands with them, Derelict prams and veteran shopping trolleys were dragged out of the ponds, which became a place for watching wildlife, and the school listed the wildlife, and found 100+ species of birds. We were urged to protect the Green Belt in view of current threats, by approaching our local councillors, and starting up a local pressure-group.

Behind the work of A Rocha is the belief that it is a natural part of being a Christian to care for Creation. In the Book of Genesis we read that God made all living beings, and found them very good. Then He made Man, and gave him dominion over his Creation. But it would be nonsensical to give His new work to Man to destroy, It was given to Man to nurture and foster.

We had an inspiring and interesting weekend, sharing with one another our campaign struggles, and gaining insights by talking together, but it would be difficult to do justice to each project without this article becoming too long. The garden at Alnmouth Friary was a blaze of spring colours, and one of the highlights of the weekend was participating in the Lucernarium (Service of Lights) and Compline, a great privilege.

The topic suggested for next year’s Study Group, which will be at Hillfield Friary, is ‘Money’.






26-28th April 2013 at High Lea Conference Centre.



The Spirituality of Creation.


Everyone needs Beauty as they need bread. The beauty of our planet and nature are expressions of the love of God, the creator. Destruction and loss of the natural universe means poverty for all of us.

In the creation story God gets Adam to name the creatures, God does not say what their names are. Having named them, as with naming a baby, we have an attachment to them, to respect and care, and nourish for them.

Mary felt we were entering the age of forgetting. We are forgetting the species of creatures that we have already lost. There have always been creatures that have become extinct but over the last hundred years the loss has increased at an alarming rate and many more species are on the edge of extinction. All that could remain are the strongest and the scavengers. “We have broken the great conversation. We are shouting at nature, and this makes us less human”. Thomas Berry1914-2009.  We have lost: 1/5 of the earth’s top soil, 1/2 the forests, 1/2 the grasslands, and in the Pacific Ocean there is a vast number of plastic bottles as they break down they are eaten and kill the creature that eats it.

WE need a vision. In most religions the “Garden” has a special place. A place we create where we become co-creators with God. We can be wholly ourselves in our garden, and we cultivate it. The world is our garden, we have been charged to take care of creation. The Poor Clare’s view, of our responsibility to God’s garden. “ A garden cannot be held in one place. We should participate in it . We are allowed to contribute to it and God does the rest.”

We cannot obliterate man’s imprint on the earth and as part of creation we have a right to be here too. The world has always been changing but we need to see the world as our garden There I a need for a different mindset. We need politics of gentleness and peace.

Oren Lyon on U-Tube “You must have a moral society or we will hit a brick wall. We are losing our options every day. Have a moral question at the heart of your activity.

Here are some questions for us:-

Are God, me, each other, and the earth in balance?

What does this loss of species and way of life for many, mean to me?

Do I notice enough?

Do I educate myself?

Do I care?

Do I act?

If, we who have faith were to work together we would make could make a very strong plea for there to be a change in the way we treat our earth. Whilst we remain silent, we acquiesce.


JPIC Links Conference

Ann Hussey, JPIC Representative for Guildford Area



The Drone Campaign

Susan Farley, Blackmore Vale JPIC Co-ordinator, writes:
I know that I have mentioned the Drone Wars UK website before but I went to a very interesting meeting a week ago held under Quaker auspices in Poole.  They had invited Chris Cole from this organisation to put us in the picture about what is happening. It was very interesting and informative. So far these armed drones have been operated from the US at an airforce base in Nevada. However, the plan is to extend this and fly them from UK territory at RAF Waddington near Lincoln.  There will be a “Ground the Drones” protest rally happening on Saturday 27 April. It is a long way away and unfortunately I am booked elsewhere on this date. But I imagine there will be future protests and it is worth informing ourselves of the situation.  Apart from Israel and the USA we are the only other country operating these drones.  At the moment we will be operating them over Afghanistan, but the USA flies them into several countries, most of whom they are not “officially” at war with, i.e Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Libya.  Inevitably innocent people get killed, including hundreds of children.

Other concerns are:

  • That this technology – and its inevitable proliferation – makes going to war easier and, politically, more acceptable (no body bags coming back) and thus more likely.
  • There is a risk that operators, distanced from the reality of target zones, may adopt a playstation mentality and be more rather than less ready to launch weapons in situations where target identification is not entirely clear.
  • The use of drones outside war zones to “take out” suspects without any recourse to law in the establishment of guilt, ignores human and legal rights.

The website is here, so do have a look: full details of the protest at RAF Waddington, including how to get there, are linked from the main page.



Honduras: World Bank palm oil loans linked to murders

In November 2009, the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation paid the first of two £15 million loan instalments to Grupo Dinant, a notorious palm oil company in Honduras. The money was paid shortly after a military coup had ousted the democratically elected President – a coup backed by Grupo Dinant’s CEO, Miguel Facusse.

Read more and take action (external web link)

More on the current situation in Honduras (PDF)



Enough for Everyone

A major new campaign is being launched by 50 UK overseas development charities called Enough Food for Everyone IF which aims to make more progress in tackling world hunger. There is enough food in the world to feed everyone yet nearly 900 million people go hungry every day. Things could be different IF:

  • We give enough aid to stop children dying from hunger and help the poorest people feed themselves
  • Stop big companies dodging taxes in poor countries so that millions of people can free themselves from hunger
  • Stop poor farmers being forced off their land and use crops to feed people not cars
  • Force governments and big corporations to be transparent about their actions that stop people getting enough food.

Now is the time to act as a catalyst in the UK as we are hosting the next G8 summit and the following summit on Food and Hunger.

Tertiaries and First Order members will be taking part in a mass lobby of parliament by Religious on May 15th whilst there will be a major demonstration in Central London in mid-June. To join the tertiary group at the lobby contact Caroline Ugbo. For further details on other events and ways of campaigning go to christianaid.org.uk/if