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Aerial view of Houses of Parliament

This week's Budget must bridge the rich-poor gulf, and start addressing the causes of poverty, say people with direct experience of UK poverty

Aerial view of Houses of Parliament

This week’s Budget statement is a precious chance to bridge the rich-poor divide and to enable opportunities instead of barriers for people on low incomes, according to a national panel of people, who all draw on their own personal experience of struggling against poverty.

The Chancellor Jeremy Hunt should seize the moment to tackle the unjust systems that hold people and communities back, to ensure that incomes keep pace with soaring living costs, and to invest in the vital public systems that we all require.

The Speaking Truth to Power national panel includes people living on low incomes who have been involved in a variety of local projects to tackle and end poverty and strengthen community around the UK.

Members met ahead of Wednesday’s spring Budget statement, to discuss what it should include, and why, and to discuss how people’s lives could be enhanced if the Government committed to tackling the root causes of poverty.

Speaking Truth to Power

Time for concerted action

The group says: 

“The post-covid roadmap was meant to be for everyone. If we have a Budget – or a General Election campaign – that neglects poverty and the causes of poverty, then the wealthiest people will accelerate away with ease, while the rest of us are left at the side of the road. 

“We’re a compassionate society and we believe in justice. But we won’t get there by wishing ourselves forward – we need concerted, national action from our political leaders.”

Polling has shown that more than 60% of people think the Government should act to reduce income inequality, and an overwhelming majority see the prospect of widening inequality as problematic.

Key messages group members would like to see in the Budget included: 

  • Extending support on energy bills, and doing more to prevent the crisis from recurring
  • Making childcare more accessible and affordable, to support low-income parents
  • Creating opportunities for young people
  • Removing flaws and cliff-edge thresholds in systems such as the carer’s allowance, which can punish people instead of enabling them
  • Committing to serious investment in new social housing 
  • Increasing the living wage, to help low-income workers

Budget 2023: Wayne's view

One of the panel members is Wayne Green, from Shoreham By Sea, who has been campaigning against the structural causes of poverty for more than 25 years. 

He says: 

“The money that people in poverty have is not enough to live on, and people need to be able to live. As a country we have the money to end poverty. We have the expertise. We have the technology. It is now a matter of political will. 

“The will is there to pump as much money as they can into other things, yet they are withholding what it takes to address poverty, while millions sink further into debt and difficulty. It’s really problematic the way the decisions are made. 

“People who are not in the situation do not understand what it’s like being poor or on social security. It falls below the bare minimum people need. There’s such a social distance now between parliament and professionals and those of us who have fallen into unemployment or hard times.

“I think the Budget needs to remove things like the cap on housing benefits, and to protect people from high energy bills and address the huge profits the energy companies make. Profits should be for a noble cause, not to make rich companies richer. The Budget should also guarantee everyone an income they can live on, like a citizens’ income.”

Budget 2023: Gemma's view

Another panel member, Gemma Athanasius-Coleman, from Cornwall, said:

“Young people want change and want to influence change, and they want opportunities. The Budget should do more to create opportunities for young people.

“I don’t like divisive politics that pits people against each other – we need to give all young people the opportunities they will need, especially if they have coke from a socially-deprived background. 

“The Government could do so much more for people in regards to the cost of living. They know what’s happening, they can see it – but they are not doing enough. It’s not necessarily handing out money – they need to help bring down costs in the first place, by looking at the energy companies, as well as putting more money in people’s pockets. 

“Another thing the Budget should look at is childcare. We need them to do more to ensure childcare is well-funded and available and affordable for parents, like in the rest of Europe. It’s so unaffordable that it keeps people out of work, as many parents are financially better off not working, due to what childcare would cost if they worked.”

Speaking Truth To Power

The Speaking Truth to Power programme is coordinated by the charity Church Action on Poverty, and works with people on low incomes to identify causes of poverty, work on potential solutions to end poverty, and advocate for change.

The group also discussed the vital values that should drive the Budget statement. There was consensus that it should be guided by a desire to create a just society, which truly listens to and heeds people in poverty and on the margins, and which works to support people being swept into deepest difficulty. 

There was a strong desire among the group for sustainable solutions that create inclusive opportunities, not barriers, and for a commitment that recognises everyone’s right to housing and affordable good food.

SPARK newsletter summer 2024

Church on the Margins reports

Church Action on Poverty North East annual report 2022-24

Stories that challenge: Sarah and Rosie’s health

Dreams & Realities: welcome to an incredible exhibition

Building hopes and dreams in Bootle

This outrageous, counter-productive Budget marginalises people with least

A sermon for Church Action on Poverty Sunday

Stories that challenge: Emma’s road to church

Sheffield voices: We need higher incomes and more for young people

Cost of living scandal: 7 truly useful church responses

Stories that challenge: Alan & Ben

SPARK newsletter summer 2024

Silhouettes of eight people, against different coloured backgrounds

Stories that challenge: Sarah and Rosie’s health

Liudmyla and Stephen, with her portrait

Dreams & Realities: welcome to an incredible exhibition

Linda Granville is an anti-poverty activist who worked in the past with Church Action on Poverty on Teesside. On World Book Day 2023, w're pleased to share details of her new autobiography, 'Journey Into Activism'.

Linda says:

“With Church Action on Poverty’s Local People National Voice campaign in 1998 I finally found my own voice! Both in the Teesside and National Poverty hearing in Church House in London and at the CCBI National conference in Swanick. I’ve written about my involvement with the Debt on your Doorstep campaign and the Living Ghosts campaign.

“I want you to know how much I appreciate Church Action on Poverty for playing its part in the very beginning getting this long-term unemployed single parent (dole scrounger) with two kids with different fathers having never being married, to allow me to analyse my own and other situations and help to provide a pathway to give me dignity and to work toward an absolutely fulfilling life.”

“Let LOVE trickle down and let the fear of poverty disappear forever.”

Church Action on Poverty trustee Gemma Athanasius-Coleman (who has spoken about her own journey into activism here) took a look at Linda’s book, and this was her reaction:

“Linda’s book highlights a recurring theme throughout where vulnerable members of society are kept in the cycle and trap of poverty. The words ‘unemployed’, ‘single parent’, and ‘poverty’ imply that if you don’t have a job (regardless of the reason) and if you have a child but not a partner then you are oppressively underestimated, often used as an economic scapegoat so that the government can cut benefits and that you deserve to remain poor.

“Gender inequalities which are so out of date are still playing a huge role in the exploitation of women’s labour in the home, which is not only undervalued but continues to reinforce this negative gender stereotype. Poverty creates fear, and the current ‘trickle down’ economic system is ensuring this demographic stays down and remains exploited. As Linda says in the book we should ‘Let LOVE trickle down and let the fear of poverty disappear forever.’”

 

SPARK newsletter summer 2024

Church on the Margins reports

Church Action on Poverty North East annual report 2022-24

Stories that challenge: Sarah and Rosie’s health

Dreams & Realities: welcome to an incredible exhibition

Building hopes and dreams in Bootle

SPARK newsletter summer 2024

Silhouettes of eight people, against different coloured backgrounds

Stories that challenge: Sarah and Rosie’s health

Liudmyla and Stephen, with her portrait

Dreams & Realities: welcome to an incredible exhibition

We're marking World Book Day on 2 March 2023 by exploring books about UK poverty - especially those written by people who have experienced it for themselves. 'Undercurrent' by Natasha Carthew, coming out soon, is one such book - reflecting on the experience of poverty in Cornwall. We asked Gemma Athanasius-Coleman, who has spoken out about her own experiences through End Hunger Cornwall, to take a look.

This book poetically tells a story of the unique issues that Cornwall as a county faces when it comes to poverty. The author describes how during the 2020 lockdown, Cornwall saw a large increase in poverty, and how she believes factors contributing to this include a lack of access to healthcare services, poor transport, education, and leisure.

These factors are described as the ‘undercurrents’ that move in and around society without ever being properly recorded.

Poverty in Cornwall is different: it’s off-grid gas, low income and high costs, poor housing, seasonal work, zero-hour contracts with limited education and job opportunities. Fuel, transport, and food poverty are strongly linked, and if you are experiencing one, the likelihood is you’ll be experiencing another simultaneously. If you live in rural isolation, then your options for affordable goods and services are also limited.

Poverty in Cornwall is different: it’s off-grid gas, low income and high costs, poor housing, seasonal work, zero-hour contracts with limited education and job opportunities.

Cornwall is a gorgeous county and one of beauty, mystery and wonder, and yes, we folk that live here are lucky to do so, but it comes with a price. As beautiful as she is with her blue seas, rocky coastline and rich heritage and history, I must agree with the author that “you can’t kick hunger into touch with a beautiful view”.

“You can’t kick hunger into touch with a beautiful view”

Central to this memoir is the importance of nature and its healing properties, which must never be taken for granted. Nature is sacred to many in Cornwall, and it is the one commodity that we must strive to restore, protect, and maintain. We should encourage the next generation to use nature as therapy and medicine, to help soothe the stresses of poverty, isolation and life struggles and empower the next generation to make positive changes.

Here in Cornwall, we can’t eat the view, but we can certainly benefit from it and fight for its right to remain unspoiled for everyone’s benefit.

SPARK newsletter summer 2024

Church on the Margins reports

Church Action on Poverty North East annual report 2022-24

Stories that challenge: Sarah and Rosie’s health

Dreams & Realities: welcome to an incredible exhibition

Building hopes and dreams in Bootle

This outrageous, counter-productive Budget marginalises people with least

A sermon for Church Action on Poverty Sunday

Stories that challenge: Emma’s road to church

Sheffield voices: We need higher incomes and more for young people

Cost of living scandal: 7 truly useful church responses

Stories that challenge: Alan & Ben

SPARK newsletter summer 2024

Silhouettes of eight people, against different coloured backgrounds

Stories that challenge: Sarah and Rosie’s health

Liudmyla and Stephen, with her portrait

Dreams & Realities: welcome to an incredible exhibition

Thursday 2 March 2023 is World Book Day. Why not take a look at some of these books about poverty?

These are some of the best books to read if you want to understand more about poverty in the UK – and how we can work together to put an end to it.

They’ve been recommended by members of our staff team, and members of our Speaking Truth to Power panel.

Click on the title or image to find out more about a book. 


Books about poverty from personal experience

Hear from the real experts – people who’ve lived with poverty themselves.

Poverty SafariPoverty Safari by Darren McGarvey

A powerful memoir by the rapper Loki, with a unique and challenging perspective.

Second Class Citizens by Stef Benstead

A Church Action on Poverty trustee draws on her own experiences and her academic expertise to analyse the injustices of how our benefits system treats people with disabilities.

Skint Estate by Cash Carraway

A darkly funny memoir and a scream of rage against austerity.

Same BoatSame Boat 

Poems on poverty and lockdown, written by people involved in Church Action on Poverty projects.


Books about poverty and stigma

Read about how our culture excludes and demonises people in poverty – and explore ways of telling a different story.

The Shame GameThe Shame Game by Mary O’Hara

Ideas for overturning the toxic poverty narrative.

ChavsChavs by Owen Jones

A powerful analysis of how our media and politicians demonise working-class people.


Books about poverty and children

These books can help young children to understand more about poverty and its solutions.

Grace and the Grumblies by Emily Shore

Grace and her superhero mum work together to take on the ‘Grumblies’ of hunger.

It’s a No-Money Day by Kate Milner

A gentle, poignant and powerful exploration of food banks and life below the poverty line.


Books about poverty and faith

Theology, prayers and ideas for how churches and Christians are called to respond to poverty.

Dignitu, Agency, PowerDignity, Agency, Power

An anthology of prayers, reflections, Bible studies and stories released to mark our 40th anniversary in 2022.

Mission from BelowMission from Below by Janet Hodgson

Makes the case for a new model of people-driven servant leadership, using the example of two Loreto Sisters working alongside one of the most socially deprived communities in North East England.


And a cookbook!

Our Cookery Book

A collection of stories and recipes from members of the Self-Reliant Groups supported by Church Action on Poverty.

 


More in-depth reviews

Finally, we have more in-depth reviews of a couple of new books:

SPARK newsletter summer 2024

Church on the Margins reports

Church Action on Poverty North East annual report 2022-24

Stories that challenge: Sarah and Rosie’s health

Dreams & Realities: welcome to an incredible exhibition

Building hopes and dreams in Bootle

This outrageous, counter-productive Budget marginalises people with least

A sermon for Church Action on Poverty Sunday

Stories that challenge: Emma’s road to church

Sheffield voices: We need higher incomes and more for young people

Cost of living scandal: 7 truly useful church responses

Stories that challenge: Alan & Ben

SPARK newsletter summer 2024

Silhouettes of eight people, against different coloured backgrounds

Stories that challenge: Sarah and Rosie’s health

Liudmyla and Stephen, with her portrait

Dreams & Realities: welcome to an incredible exhibition

In this excerpt from our new report, Deirdre Brower Latz shares some of what she learned in three years talking to churches in communities pushed to the 'margins' in Greater Manchester.

Poverty and marginalisation are a reality in the UK for millions of households. In rural and urban spaces, people without enough food to eat, money to live on, experience social exclusion and negative perception and this reality is worsening. Where is the church and where should it be? According to our research, the place of mainline denominations in proximity or immersed in communities in need has declined over the last decade.

The church’s presence may have declined, or may be patchy; economic hardship, though, is a reality for many. In the UK, poverty is acute and the poverty gap growing and poverty increasing, globally nations slide towards levels of poverty that even recently would have been considered impossible. People with lived experience of poverty are ‘marginalized from effective participation in mainstream economic, social and political life and concentrated into “settlements of the marginal, the socially problematic and welfare-dependent.”’’ This is a scandal – dehumanising people who experience economic (or other) marginalisation and poverty, assumptions about their value, worth and purpose are all too common, even in the church.

People’s stories and lives are frequently measured through economic engagement, which is a distorted view of humankind. The church’s theological life and imagination has something else to say, which should and could offer vision and a new imagination. There need to be reinvigorated understandings of the intrinsic value of all people, and their stories as alive with good meaning and purpose – significant in the world regardless of economic impact. The question and challenge presented by Pope Francis (one could argue building on Jesus!) and later reframed by Niall Cooper, Director of Church Action on Poverty, is this:

“Do we really believe that God can be found at the margins; do we really believe in a countercultural church of and for the poor; are we prepared to let go of our own power?”

Responses to poverty and people living in communities of poverty are varied and often appear to be poles apart. Social action or social justice; evangelistic responses or community development; unhelpful dichotomies form. In places, the church has separated acts of service and acts of worship, or has left communities, or has remained with congregations who now drive in as commuters to a congregation’s building, once dwellers, now consumers of space. At times, the church has remained present or has reinvested, resourcing new ways of being-in communities identified as in acute need. Some responses to marginal communities are top-down, either mandated denominationally, based on quantitative and normative hard data, or based on qualitative and descriptive narrated research. Often led by a sincere passion for caring for people in poverty, and a sincere hope that the people of estates or marginal communities would once again populate churches. Some church organisations have sought to save communities through immersive engagement in them, operating as benevolent examples of a better way. Some have moved out entirely to areas where middle-class values and church-life have currency as interchangeable.

Poverty and marginality are challenging for the church, no matter the theological persuasion.

In the church, as in the country, poverty is normally perceived from the standpoint of those who are not poor. Tracing its roots through attitudes created in feudal and parish systems, attitudes to poverty emerge in contemporary society as somehow less-than, a shame, a curse, merited or deserved. In a capitalist world, poverty ‘draws its meaning primarily from the plight of a flawed consumer.’ The church is influenced by cultural attitudes, and pathologised approaches towards poor people, pejorative judgements, or patronising approaches can all be seen in and amongst the church.

It’s too easy to speak of ‘the poor’ as a category – poverty is heterogeneous, with differing causes, responses and realities.

What might it mean to have a nuanced view of poverty and marginality? How might the church hear from those often voiceless or scapegoats? How can the church be amongst, for, with, in and of the poorer people, places and communities of the UK? How can the church resist easy answers and singular responses? How can the church respond to the question and challenge: who speaks for people with lived experiences of poverty? In fact, how, when, where and in what way do people speak on their own behalf? Bearing witness to how people themselves navigate poverty and marginality in all its complexities. Since “[p]eople in poverty may thus constitute a serial collectivity, without necessarily having anything in common other than their poverty and societal reactions to it”, how does the church align itself with communities of economic poverty, marginality and do so intent on instilling dignity, listening to the voice of those speaking on their own behalf, from their own lives, telling power how church that honours them could, should and must be, navigating inclusion and belonging as integral to church in and for the margins? What might a church on the margins be?

These questions have been addressed over years by Church Action on Poverty, described as ‘a national ecumenical Christian social justice charity, committed to tackling poverty in the UK’, the organisation ‘work[s] in partnership with churches and with people in poverty themselves to find solutions to poverty, locally, nationally and globally.’ Preoccupied with navigating the church and poverty over decades, more recently alongside policy activism and partnership with research projects, Church Action on Poverty began to explore how to address this very challenge and the Church on the Margins (COTM) project was conceived. The reports from the project summarise the concept, method, process, encounters and tentative conclusions drawn by the researcher facilitator-team over the last three years. We describe the purposes, explore the challenges, name the encounters, offer the method up for scrutiny, and hear from the voices of people from marginalised communities who are vibrant participants in the life of the church. Their voices frame every conclusion and springboard into further discussion. Above all, we tried not to hide from the challenges we faced and faced by the people who courageously shared their stories with us.

Throughout our research we were clear that we would respect all we were told. Our use of stories shared with us was understood as a gift to be honoured. The hope of all those who participated in the research by openly describing their experiences relative to the church was that their voices could potentially change the church itself.

SPARK newsletter summer 2024

Church on the Margins reports

Church Action on Poverty North East annual report 2022-24

Stories that challenge: Sarah and Rosie’s health

Dreams & Realities: welcome to an incredible exhibition

Building hopes and dreams in Bootle

This outrageous, counter-productive Budget marginalises people with least

A sermon for Church Action on Poverty Sunday

Stories that challenge: Emma’s road to church

Sheffield voices: We need higher incomes and more for young people

Cost of living scandal: 7 truly useful church responses

Stories that challenge: Alan & Ben

SPARK newsletter summer 2024

Silhouettes of eight people, against different coloured backgrounds

Stories that challenge: Sarah and Rosie’s health

Liudmyla and Stephen, with her portrait

Dreams & Realities: welcome to an incredible exhibition

The 2023 Budget was a divisive 'us and them' one, our panel members feel.

Members of the Speaking Truth To Power national panel met on Wednesday to watch the 2023 Budget and to discuss what it means.

Afterwards, the panel’s response to the Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s statement was, overall, one of disappointment.

Some positives, much upset, and many missing messages

Some announcements were received positively, most notably the extension of free childcare, the removal of the excess charges for people on pre-payment utility meters.

But there was great concern and upset at news that:

  • the unemployment support system will become even more punishing and inflexible
  • the charity sector will have to plug even more gaps in vital public services
  • pension reforms are likely to benefit the already wealthy rather than wider society

Here is a selection of what people said:

“They are reinforcing a political ideology on to poor people. It’s a harsher world, to get you into any form of work at all. I’m over 50 and am on Jobseeker’s Allowance, but I am threatened with sanctions for 11 different conditions. I get one month to find work in my profession, then am told to search for 35 hours a week for any work locally.”

“The assumption behind a lot of the benefit system is that people are lazy or not willing to seek a job, so must be coerced – it is just so unacceptable.”

“I have a disability, and it’s bad enough, but to then have this real scapegoating of people who cannot contribute more is just something else.”

“It’s a bit cheeky to claim that uprating benefits with inflation is a good-enough action when they have repeatedly refused to uprate benefits at all in a number of the last 13 years.”

“There are more disabled people in work because people in work became disabled and stayed in work. That’s not the same as people too sick/disabled to work moving into work.”

“Argh, no, there is no-one for whom sanctions need to be applied more harshly”…. “Sanctions mean cruelty as a general rule…and cost more to administer than they save.”

“The childcare change is good news. Childcare costs are such a barrier to going back to work, and even when working you can end up out of pocket. It’s women who are predominantly penalised – and the people making the changes are men, who do not understand the issue as well.”

“It still overall feels like an ‘us and them’ budget. The people who are poor are clearly seen as ‘them’ by the politicians.”

“Nothing was said about housing issues, about the rental sector, or young people.”

There was a lot of anger and concern that disabled people would be treated even worse than at present, with renewed pressure to force people who are unable to work to do so, while removing vital support systems.

Panel member Stef Benstead, whose book Second Class Citizens forensically charts successive Government’s mistreatment of disabled people, spoke about her own experiences and said she was anxious that disabled people could face further cuts to support, and more assessments that do not recognise the reality of people’s lives and situations.

Speaking Truth To Power

We had wanted the Chancellor to seize the moment to tackle the unjust systems that hold people and communities back, to ensure that incomes keep pace with soaring living costs, and to invest in the vital public systems that we all require.

The group wanted a Budget driven by a desire to create a just society, which truly listens to and heeds people in poverty and on the margins, and which works to support people being swept into deepest difficulty. 

More than 60% of people think the Government should act to reduce income inequality, and an overwhelming majority see the prospect of widening inequality as problematic.

Key messages the Speaking Truth To Power panellists had hoped to see in the Budget included: 

  • Extending support on energy bills, and doing more to prevent the crisis from recurring
  • Making childcare more accessible and affordable, to support low-income parents
  • Creating opportunities for young people
  • Removing flaws and cliff-edge thresholds in systems such as the carer’s allowance, which can punish people instead of enabling them
  • Committing to serious investment in new social housing 
  • Increasing the living wage, to help low-income workers

On Wednesday, many of us gathered on Zoom to watch the Chancellor’s address to the House of Commons together, then to discuss it at length afterwards. We were also joined by a national newspaper journalist, who we have worked with over the years, to discuss the issues.

SPARK newsletter summer 2024

Church on the Margins reports

Church Action on Poverty North East annual report 2022-24

Stories that challenge: Sarah and Rosie’s health

Dreams & Realities: welcome to an incredible exhibition

Building hopes and dreams in Bootle

This outrageous, counter-productive Budget marginalises people with least

A sermon for Church Action on Poverty Sunday

Stories that challenge: Emma’s road to church

SPARK newsletter summer 2024

Silhouettes of eight people, against different coloured backgrounds

Stories that challenge: Sarah and Rosie’s health

Liudmyla and Stephen, with her portrait

Dreams & Realities: welcome to an incredible exhibition

Ten years ago this month, Pope Francis announced that he wanted "a church that is poor, and for the poor".

A poor church, for the poor.

Those words, issued during his first address to the media after his election as Pope, were a challenge to denominations and church leaders all around the world – and also to us, here at Church Action on Poverty. 

What would a poor church, for the poor, look like?

What would it mean for the way our churches operate?

How might it change our understanding of church, faith and community?

A profound challenge for us all

These words and this challenge became an ever-present context for our work here at Church Action on Poverty. It challenged our thinking and our priorities, and sparked countless profound, interesting and deep discussions. 

Church on the Margins

We began discussing the issue more and more widely. and by 2016 we published our first report, bringing together wisdom, insight and opinion from across the churches.

Here are just a few of the comments and reflections contained in that report:

It surely can’t be left up to what are typically small and struggling churches in poorer neighbourhoods to shoulder the burden of responding to the challenge. What priority does the wider Church give to the task of becoming a Church for the poor? ...For Church Action on Poverty this report is only the start.
Niall Cooper
Church Action on Poverty
There is no true commitment to solidarity with the poor if one sees them merely as people passively waiting for help … The goal is not to become “the voice of the voiceless” but to help those without a voice find one
Gustavo Gutierrez
Liberation theologian and Dominican priest
By locating the divine among the margins, we are challenged to address the needs of these people who are pushed into unemployment and poverty, for a Church with the poor is possible only by our becoming a church of the poor.
Revd Raj Bharath Patta
Liberation theologian

Church of the poor: a lasting work

That 2016 report, as Niall said at the time, was only the beginning.

In 2018, we produced a concept note, Church of the Poor? Helping the Church Hear the Cry of the Poor in 21st Century Britain, and then in 2020 we launched our Church on The Margins programme.

From the outset, we were impressed and inspired by the Church of Scotland, whose ‘priority areas’ work gives clear priority to low-income neighbourhoods. How would other denominations compare?

This work recently reached a very significant milestone, when we published two important new reports:

  1. What does it mean to be a church on the margins?
  2. Is the church losing faith in low-income communities?
The work from 2020 to 2023 has been in two parts.

The first looked at statistics, to see how the biggest English denominations were engaging with low-income neighbourhoods. 

Worryingly, the research team found that church closures between 2010 and 2020 had disproportionately happened in low-income areas, with only one of five denominations bucking that trend.

 
 
The second piece of work involved lots of in-depth conversations with church leaders and members in low-income neighbourhoods, discussing what faith, the church, community and marginalisation mean to people.
 
That second report documents frustrations with barriers around disability, literacy, class, language, leadership and power within mainstream churches.
 
The voices and stories shared are powerful and insightful. They combine faith and a desire for action.

Those two reports deepen our collective understanding or what it means to be “a poor church of and for the poor”. But they are not the end of the journey either.

We are now looking at new ways to engage and challenge churches, at local and national level, to respond in meaningful and tangible ways to the Pope’s challenge, ten years ago this week.

 

"Oh, how I would like a church that is poor and for the poor."
Pope_Francis
Pope Francis
March 2013

SPARK newsletter summer 2024

Church on the Margins reports

Church Action on Poverty North East annual report 2022-24

Stories that challenge: Sarah and Rosie’s health

Dreams & Realities: welcome to an incredible exhibition

Building hopes and dreams in Bootle

This outrageous, counter-productive Budget marginalises people with least

A sermon for Church Action on Poverty Sunday

Stories that challenge: Emma’s road to church

Sheffield voices: We need higher incomes and more for young people

Cost of living scandal: 7 truly useful church responses

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SPARK newsletter summer 2024

Silhouettes of eight people, against different coloured backgrounds

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Liudmyla and Stephen, with her portrait

Dreams & Realities: welcome to an incredible exhibition