JUSTICE AND PEACE JOTTINGS from CHN Manchester
September – December 2014
Over the past 3 - 4 months we have been involved in the following –
We both went to the opening service (in St Anne’s church, Manchester city centre) for the Labour Party Conference - which happened to be happening in Manchester so we were ‘in situ’. The speaker was Ruth Valerio from A Rocha. At the end of the service we had possibly 3 minutes in the presence of an up-beat (at that point) Ed Milliband and we then got caught up in the Global People’s Climate March and were photographed holding Anti-Fracking banners. Jean attended a fringe event at the local Quakers’ meeting house the following day which focussed on the question – Does Politics need the support of faith groups (Muslims, Hindus, Christians)? Not sure what conclusion they reached.
We are both members of the St Chrysostom’s Justice and Peace Group, which meets monthly. Recent discussions have included
- the Israel /Palestine situation
- mental health issues and how the church can best respond
- TTIP (proposed new Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) which could have serious repercussions for the UK as it aims to increase privatisation and allow business corporations to sue governments should they legislate in the interests of the public or the environment in a way that damages their profits. Jean also spent a morning outside Aldi raising awareness of this through leafleting.
Jean Mary continues her involvement with Amnesty International. She is the is local co-ordinator for the Burma Campaign and is involved in other group actions, including the Stop Torture Campaign (Amnesty’s main campaign for 2014), work for Afghan Women’s Rights and Write for Rights (letter writing campaign which has superseded the former Christmas Greetings campaign).
Diana (and Barbara) attended a meeting convened by Bishop Alastair in Derby Church House during which he expressed concerns about Human Trafficking and people who are ending up on the streets of Derby as a result. Bp A cited the work of RC communities in this area, particularly in London and was planting seeds for the implementation of some project/ support group in the Derby diocese. There is to be a follow-up meeting at the Convent in December.
The Medaille Trust has a hostel for people who have been trafficked - near St Chrysostom’s church here in Manchester. Occasionally residents appear in church and Diana has spent time at their house with a group of 3 very diverse women (from Latvia, Sierra Leone and Ghana) at an art group - and we have plans to visit with Mary, Joseph and Puzzle the donkey in Advent.
We both took part in a Holocaust Study Day at the Menorah Synagogue in Altrincham, arranged by the council of Christians and Jews – lots of input and a good contribution to inter-faith relations.
Diana attended a day conference Faith in Health, organised by Faith in Action and concerned with issues of health and community. There was an opening address by Daniel Singleton, CEO of Faith Action (which is a partner of the Dept of Health) who focussed on the role of churches/religious groups in social action – food banks, counselling etc. – as most faith groups have a duty to the poor, the widow and orphan. Workshops included
- info about the local TLC project at St Luke’s church, Longsight (emphasis on holistic range of services, part funded by the Arts Council). Many service users have mental health issues.
- Exploring dementia
- End of life care
- Optional Laughter Workshop in the lunch break!
We both took part Manchester Cathedral’s one day event ‘Energy to Invest?’ – which was to celebrate a ‘greener cathedral’ after the installation of under-floor heating (and very efficient it is too) – and to renew the call for care for all in creation.
- The main speaker was Canon Giles Goddard who began by asking if we are fit managers of our planet – obviously we are not. He said that climate change is an issue the Church has to face up to – it needs to recognise the damage being done to the planet through the burning of fossil fuels and then take action by redirecting its investments. The Church has through its ongoing Shrinking the Footprint campaign been actively encouraging member churches to make care for the environment a priority and do what they can to make their buildings as green as possible. He pointed out the moral case from a Christian point of view: Care for the Earth, as a gift of the Creator, is in many ways foundational for the Gospel. We have the responsibility, expressed for example in the Genesis story and in the covenant with Noah, to care for God's creation. Climate Change is a moral issue because the rich world has disproportionately contributed to it and the poor world is disproportionately suffering. Despite scientists continually warning about the damage being done by climate change, the Church and wider society do little to mitigate or adapt to it. He suggested that Christians should ‘Pray and fast for the Climate’ in preparation for the next Climate Change Summit in Paris in December 2015
- Eco congregations – local examples were given – others are needed and we can all do our bit!
- Solar Schools – a community based charity – shares in local co-operatives to buy and fit solar panels etc and benefit the community.
- There was a morning session (‘That children may be heard on the earth’) with presentations from church schools and children’s activities from Oxfam and Christian Aid...........
- ...................and an evening session ‘That Community may sing of the earth’ with poetry, stories and community choirs.
- We were left unfurling banners which asked
Are we hospice workers to a dying planet.................
Midwives to birth a new creation???
We have both signed various on-line petitions and lobbied our MP, who happens to be Gerald Kauffman and is usually in line with our thinking!
We also try to take note of ecological concerns which are aired in the press and other media, the latest being
- Advice to use old-fashioned soap rather than anti-bacterial hand-washing liquid and shower gel containing triclosan (a pollutant linked to cancer)
- Palm oil is contained in over half the products we consume – used widely in cosmetics and food industry as well as biofuel. Tropical forests are being cleared to grow the palms – destroying wild life, displacing communities and polluting watercourses. 98% of Indonesia’s forests could be destroyed by 2022.
We regularly buy the Big Issue and engage with the vendor(s) whenever possible.
You are Invited
To coffee on 1st January 2015 from 10 am to 11.30 am at the Convent of the Holy Name, Morley Road, Oakwood, Derby.
2015 is a special year for us as it marks the 150th Anniversary of the founding of our Community and this is the beginning of our celebrations.
There will be a Sung Eucharist at 12 noon to which you are welcome.
Care Assistant Vacancies
Do you know people who might like to join our Care Team?
We are keen to rescruit experienced carers for regular weekend hours or for occasional shifts. Additional training can be provided if necessary, but no qualifications are required.
Shifts will be paid at £7.14 an hour.
Applicants must be women and willing to have a Disclosrue Barring Service Check.
For further information contact Michael Futers on 01332 671716 option 1 during office hours
Going, going, gone!
After re-cycling as much of the furnishings and contents of our house on Tredegar Drive this week, (see last week’s news), there still remained those items which were beyond recycling: broken bits and pieces and obsolete light fittings etc, kept for years in the rafters of the garage, in case they came in – of course they never did!!
A skip arrived, was filled (in the rain, naturally!) and departed quickly.
Now we are ready to welcome the retired couple who will be renting the property. Sisters have enjoyed use of the house for holidays and retreats, alongsiders have welcomed the chance to live with the Community and have a bolt-hole here and the house has also been used for guests.
Accommodation is still available at the Convent Guest Cottage – ideal for individuals or small groups (see leaflet on home page for details of facilities).
It's a Gift
CHN has recently taken the decision to let out the house behind the Guest Cottage and so this has been a month of packing up and disposing of its contents. Our rule states that Community houses should be simply furnished and in the spirit of our vow of poverty we try not to accumulate possessions. Therefore, having taken what will be used in the convent, we have had the opportunity to give things away.
Local charity shops have received smaller items and the majority of the furniture ie. that which meets current fire safety standards has been given to Salcare, a project in Heanor which supplies help for those in need in that area, including a furniture warehouse selling items at low cost, advice sessions and other services.
Stored in the garage were four bikes and these have gone to Bikeback – a project in prison where the inmates strip down and rebuild the bikes and sell them cheaply at places like universities, thus reducing landfill and encouraging more people to cycle. This also enables the men to gain a City and Guilds in Bicycle Maintenance.
It was a great joy to celebrate with Sisters Lisbeth and Vivienne Joy last Thursday on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of making their Profession under vows in CHN.
Sister Vivienne Joy had been able to spend a few days with her brother at the Convent the previous week and sister Lisbeth’s sister and brother-in-law came from Sweden for a short holiday encompassing the anniversary day itself.
The two golden girls received a special blessing at the end of the Thursday midday Eucharist and we sang the hymn ‘O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder’, which has a tune sung in Sweden.
How great thou art, how great thou art!!
No to Fracking
Sisters Jean Mary and Diana from the Community's Longsight house last Sunday attended the Service of Prayer for the Beginning of the Labour Party Conference held at St Ann's Church in Manchester City Centre.
As they approached Piccadilly Square after the service they came across a peaceful, but busy protest and were asked whether they agreed with fracking. On replying in the negative they were asked to carry this banner and were soon the focus of the camera's attention.
Fellowship Day September 2014
This annual gathering of those members of the Fellowship who were fit enough to travel was held on 6th September at the Convent.
This year our speaker spoke of her experience as a prison chaplain, and of working with those on the margins of society in a variety of circumstances. Her passionate message that we are all one in Christ - all with our part to play in building up the body of Christ, was challenging and led to further discussion over the lunch which followed.
The Fellowship Meeting after lunch enabled up-to-date news of the Community to be shared, as well as a report of the current activities of the Fellowship and a chance to share news of members who had not been able to attend this year.
A short period of quiet reflection preceded the celebration of the Eucharist, during which Sisters and FHN members were able to re-dedicate themslves to the service of God, in the power of the spirit, to the glory of the Holy Name of Jesus.
This year's magazine is still available to download.