Report on JPIC meeting 26 October 2013

Present: Brother Hugh, Jenny Owens, Denise Yeldham, Caroline Ugbo

Apologies: Philippa, Gina Silverman, Joan Smith, Richard Brewester

There were no matters arising from the report of the last meeting so we went straight into the agenda.

JPIC LINKS: Brother Hugh is on the committee so he was able to give us information about all the activities undertaken this year. There was a successful Conference in April on Spirituality and the Environment which Ann Hussey, JPIC Rep for Guildford, attended. In May, 4 members of TSSF joined the Religious Lobby of parliament for the IF campaign. See www.franciscans.org.uk/news/if-campaign-religious-lobby-of-parliament.

Several members of parliament were available to speak to their constituents and Ed Milliband spoke to us briefly. In June we attended the IF campaign Rally in Hyde Park. Four of us met together with the Banner, but others were also there. See www.franciscans.org.uk/news/g8-urged-to-act-on-hunger

The Linking Day in the autumn in London was led by Housing Justice and 4 TSSF members came. There we agreed a group should draw up a petition for parliament concerning Government Housing, particularly the ‘bedroom tax’, and it is hoped that all Congregations and Orders will sign it. This has not be circulated yet so was not available to send to Chapter. We decided it should go to Averil Swanton when it is ready and she can decide how to put it before Chapter. Brother Hugh suggested we might encourage the SFO to
get involved with JPIC Links.

NCPO: Denise went to the March meeting, and her comment from that meeting was that she saw it as a soap box for whoever wanted to take the meeting over. The theme for next year’s commemoration of the beginning of WW1 in 1914 is Peace and Penitence. The move by Forces Watch (supported by a petition from Pax Christi) protesting the enlistment of 16 year olds into the army was aired. We felt it might have been overstated. Caroline went to the AGM in Oxford, where Jonathan Herbert came from Hilfield to talk about Peacemaking. The programmes for next year by different organisations were listed, but there will be more discussion at Corrymeela at the month end when Denise and Caroline go with others to see what can be achieved to stress the Peace that was fought for rather than glorifying war. Caroline will inform  people as activities come up. Two TSSF members did go to the DSEi protest.

JPIC weekends: The last one was at Alnmouth where Peter Woods came from A Rocha. There were good discussions, but it was felt not to have been too informative. It was decided that in 2014 we should have a speaker on economics or money and ethics perhaps. The weekend will be at Hilfield 28 Feb to 2nd March. Philippa is looking into finding a speaker, but if she does not succeed Brother Hugh suggested we might ask Sister G illian from JPIC Links, who is going to the Alnmouth Brothers’ week in January. He also suggested we might look at the book and the film of ‘The Spirit level’.

Speaking Engagements: Caroline went in October to speak at the Area Day at the Wyevern Area. They are already campaigning for this and that and were very receptive. We discussed that, though, as Gina said in an email to Caroline, many people are active in their own areas locally, there is often a holding back on campaigning, working for solutions rather than patching up needs. Caroline mentioned that she had been approached by Paul Bodenham, the Chair of Christian Ecology Link, who wanted TSSF to join them for a Conference and bring a Franciscan element into it. Caroline expressed that there is no way she can know who might be interested in any particular area of JPIC in order to ask if they would be involved. Others said that even within areas it is difficult to find out people’s interests and what they do.

Area Reps and the network: Caroline has had requests from individuals who want to ‘jointhe network’ but she is not sure how this can work. At the moment the purpose is to disseminate information throughout the areas so everyone is advised about what is going on and given the opportunity to join in taking an active part. Should we have a network of individual enthusiasts instead or as well as what we have now? One of the problems is about communication. Younger postulants and novices are often asking what we are doing. We wondered if we should be engaging someone with computer savvy to set up something through a group or facebook or twitter. We looked at the Principles and found no shortage of mentions under different headings about working towards a fairer world, but there is no focus point and the title, ‘Work’ doesn’t give the impetus towards action or the practice of the principles which we uphold. We are good at celebration – Area Days-, prayer – retreats and quiet days – , but where do we share practice? We hope that the new emphasis on Formation might encourage FGs to find new ideas and projects to try. It was suggested a list of speakers might be a good idea. Caroline will ask for volunteers. She is also going to write something which others will look at concerning communication, which can be submitted to Chapter to think about. Denise stressed that Study and Prayer also have trouble with this.

On line petitions: Caroline had had a negative response when she sent one round. There
is a need to educate people about these. She also had a positive response about the one sent round for the Greenpeace prisoners in Russia. Certainly the ones sent round have to be chosen carefully.

Website: Brother Hugh is very keen that we share information across the First and Third Order websites, but as we have no webmaster at present and the job of putting things up on the third Order website might be going to be shared, this may be difficult to accomplish just now. He stressed how important it is for people to be seen to be active in photos on both websites.

AOB: Gina had suggested she might be replaced by someone nearer because of the cost of her travel to the Order, but we thought it important that those beyond the centre still have their voices heard.

There being no other business, we went to dates for next year’s meeting. Now Philippa is coming off Chapter and we are not sure if we will have a future member of Chapter at our meetings, Caroline suggested that we send reports to Chapter meetings and we therefore have our meetings before the Chapter meetings. There will be something to send from the JPIC weekend, so we decided the other two should be 26 April and 20 September.

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