fbpx

Church on the Margins reports

Two reports from our 2020-22 research into what it means to be church on the margins in Greater Manchester

Click on the right to download each report.

Church on the Margins reports

Church Action on Poverty North East annual report 2022-24

A sermon for Church Action on Poverty Sunday

Church Action on Poverty North East annual report 2022-24

Download our local group’s report on the right.

Church on the Margins reports

Church Action on Poverty North East annual report 2022-24

A sermon for Church Action on Poverty Sunday

A sermon for Church Action on Poverty Sunday

Revd Jeremy Tear has kindly shared with us this sermon, which he preached at St Mary's Great Sankey on Church Action on Poverty Sunday 2024.

The Sunday next before Lent, 11 February 2024

Reading: Mark 9:2-9

The Transfiguration which we read about in today’s Gospel presents us with an amazing incident in the life of Jesus. What does it mean for Jesus to have been transfigured though? It seems to me that to transfigure means to transform – Jesus’ appearance was transformed as the glory of God rested upon him. It was as if he had the Daz treatment, for those of you who remember the advert, for in the words of our gospel, ‘his clothes became dazzling white.’ And that got me thinking – in what ways has God transformed our lives, I wonder? To start the ball rolling, I would like to share with you some of my experiences of transformation that occurred one Lent, the season we are soon to begin once again.

Lenten solidarity

Over 20 years ago now, my wife Emma and I chose to take up a Lenten challenge issued by the charity, Church Action on Poverty. The challenge was to try to live on the minimum wage (now called the national living wage) for Lent. To live on it as an act of solidarity with the three million people who live on this amount (or less) in our country each year. Would we be able to do it, we wondered, or had we bitten off more than we could chew? To try and make the challenge possible for those who had bills already paid by standing order for their mortgage and utilities, Church Action on Poverty devised a particular formula to discount those costs. The remaining money had to cover our food, our transport, our own spending allowance, any unexpected bills that cropped up, etc.etc. Let me tell you it was hard going. … At the beginning of Lent we were actually on a pre-booked holiday at the house of some friends in the Lake District. On the first day Emma wrote this: “It’s frustrating being on holiday unable to spend money and do things we would normally do. I feel slightly cheated.” The following week we were back at home again and my back was playing me up once more as it often does requiring treatment and I wrote this: “I think I am going to need to go to the osteopath but the cost is putting me off but Emma says go.” Perhaps one of the most difficult moments of that six-week period occurred just after Emma had booked a Virgin Value Saver to go down to London. It was in order to see a friend, as she had previously arranged and we decided it would be good for her to have a little treat out. The next day she received an e-mail from that friend saying she would have to re-arrange the date. The money she had spent went down the drain instantly, money we dearly needed to spend on other things, such as a new pair of shoes since mine had a hole in and were letting in water.

Blessed are you who are poor?

Such a challenge, to live on the Minimum Wage, transformed the way I experienced Lent that year. It gave me something of an insight into what it must be like to live on a low income on a permanent basis, as many do today. We stuck it out for those six weeks, just, but it was beginning to drain us mentally and physically. Spiritually, however, it gave me a real insight into that verse from the Beatitudes, “Blessed are you who are poor for yours is the Kingdom of God.” One of the ways that has been translated is “Blessed are you who know your need of God; God’s kingdom belongs to you.’ When you are struggling to live on or below the poverty line, it certainly can increase your spiritual awareness. For if the money for things is not there, God may be the only person you have left to rely on to provide for your needs. That is certainly true for many Christians in the underdeveloped countries of our world, as well as for those who live by faith as individuals and in Christian communities in our country. But, in addition to increasing my awareness of my need for God, living on the Minimum Wage brought me an increased awareness of the needs of others. Those who struggle day by day to make ends meet, who live on a low income or on benefits. “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the Kingdom of God.” Could it be that God has something to teach us through those who are materially poor about our openness (or lack of it) towards God?

Church Action on Poverty Sunday

Today, in the Christian calendar, it is Church Action on Poverty Sunday. Church Action on Poverty is a national ecumenical Christian social justice charity committed to tackling poverty in the UK. They work in partnership with churches and with people in poverty themselves, to tackle the root causes of poverty. Let me share with you a short video they have produced. Please use this prayer card you have received on entering church today to pray for their work. You may also wish to give something to support them as well.

Life in all its fullness

To conclude, I want to return to our Gospel reading where we began this morning. Jesus was transfigured, or transformed for a particular purpose, namely to reveal God’s glory to those disciples in order that they might understand more of God’s desires for them. “This is my Son, whom I love, listen to him.”. Now we may often fail to understand God’s purposes through Jesus (just as the disciples did) but that did not invalidate the transfiguration. So this week, this month, this year, will we be those people whose lives are continually transformed by God, not just in order that we may reach towards our potential of becoming the people God wants us to be, but also in order that others too may discover God’s good intentions for their lives? And part of that, I believe, is lifting people out of poverty so that they may experience life in all its fullness, as Jesus describes it in John’s Gospel.

Amen

Merseyside Pantries reach big milestone

Transforming the Jericho Road

Partner focus: Meet Community One Stop in Edinburgh

Thank you Pat! 40 years of compassionate action

Halifax voices: on housing, hope and scandalous costs

The UK doesn’t want demonising rhetoric – it wants to end poverty

Sheffield Civic Breakfast: leaders told about mounting pressures of poverty

Artists perform for change in Manchester

Church Action on Poverty in Sheffield: annual report 2023-24

SPARK newsletter summer 2024

Church on the Margins reports

Church Action on Poverty North East annual report 2022-24

6 people holding cut-out numbers, reading 150,000

Merseyside Pantries reach big milestone

Transforming the Jericho Road

A photo of two volunteers in Your Local Pantry aprons, beside a photo of two members shopping

Partner focus: Meet Community One Stop in Edinburgh

SPARK newsletter winter 2023-24

Click on the right to download this issue of SPARK, our newsletter for supporters of Church Action on Poverty.

Church on the Margins reports

Church Action on Poverty North East annual report 2022-24

A sermon for Church Action on Poverty Sunday

Act On Poverty – a Lent programme about tackling UK and global poverty

Church Action on Poverty and our partners are launching a course on practical activism ahead of a much-anticipated General Election.

Almost 1,000 churches have signed up already to a new course entitled Act on Poverty, aimed at encouraging people to put their faith into action in the run-up to a General Election.

We’re proud to have joined forces on the initiative with international development agency Christian Aid and other partner organisations – including the Baptist Union, Methodist Church, United Reformed Church,  and the Trussell Trust.

Over six weeks, those taking part will find out more about the reality of poverty both in their communities and around the world, through activities designed to inspire them to take actions such as engaging with MPs.

The series of resource packs contain guidance for short Bible studies; recordings of conversations with activists; questions and prompts for group discussions; videos about taking practical action; and a guide to steps churches can take to advocate for change.

Christian Aid Campaigns and Activism Officer Katrine Musgrave explained: “We have hope for a world where there is justice for all and we believe our relationships and communities can be restored and transformed. With a General Election approaching, we have an opportunity to unite our churches with a compelling message for our next Government: it is time to act on poverty. We hope churches around the country will sign up to Act on Poverty and we look forward to seeing the results of their actions.”

Chief Executive of Church Action on Poverty, Niall Cooper, said: “Working in partnership is a core principle of Church Action on Poverty, and this course demonstrates the power of people coming together in faith. Every prayer, every gift, every action helps transform lives and I look forward to
seeing church communities taking part in this initiative and putting into practice what they have discovered to tackle the injustice of poverty and its effects, both locally and globally.”

Church leaders around the country are supporting the initiative.
The Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, said: “Poverty is not a new problem and its effects are widespread, impacting people’s lives and futures. We see it in our neighbourhoods and we see it in vulnerable communities around the world.”

Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt Revd Dr Guli Francis-Dehqani, added:  “Loving our neighbours means living out our faith on a local and global scale. This course offers valuable resources to help us make a difference by speaking out and engaging decision-makers.”

And Revd Gill Newton, President of the Methodist Conference, said: “If as a church or a small group within a church, you are wondering what to do next in your stand against injustice or in your endeavours to play your part by being a justice-seeking church, why not take a look at the Act For Poverty resource? This inspired new resource created by JPIT (Joint Public Issues Team of the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church), in partnership with Christian Aid and others, provides a wonderful opportunity for both learning together and being stirred into action as the General Election draws closer.  We serve a God of justice – this resource can help
us all to use our voices and our votes to help make tackling poverty a priority.”

Church Action on Poverty encourages churches to follow the Act on Poverty programme during Lent, as a way of following up on Church Action on Poverty Sunday. We are running the course online for anyone unable to run it in their own church.

Merseyside Pantries reach big milestone

Transforming the Jericho Road

Partner focus: Meet Community One Stop in Edinburgh

Thank you Pat! 40 years of compassionate action

Halifax voices: on housing, hope and scandalous costs

The UK doesn’t want demonising rhetoric – it wants to end poverty

Sheffield Civic Breakfast: leaders told about mounting pressures of poverty

Artists perform for change in Manchester

Church Action on Poverty in Sheffield: annual report 2023-24

SPARK newsletter summer 2024

Church on the Margins reports

Church Action on Poverty North East annual report 2022-24

6 people holding cut-out numbers, reading 150,000

Merseyside Pantries reach big milestone

Transforming the Jericho Road

A photo of two volunteers in Your Local Pantry aprons, beside a photo of two members shopping

Partner focus: Meet Community One Stop in Edinburgh

Annual review 2022-23

Dignity, Agency, Power

Read about how we used our resources and the impact we made in 2022-23, our 40th anniversary year.

Church on the Margins reports

Church Action on Poverty North East annual report 2022-24

A sermon for Church Action on Poverty Sunday

SPARK newsletter autumn 2023

Click on the right to download the autumn 2023 issue of SPARK, our newsletter for supporters of Church Action on Poverty.

Church on the Margins reports

Church Action on Poverty North East annual report 2022-24

A sermon for Church Action on Poverty Sunday

Annual review 2021-22

Annual report and accounts

Read our annual review and financial statements for the financial year 2021-22.



Download document

Resources

Catholic Social Teaching and human dignity

Watch a talk given by theologian Anna Rowlands at the 2022 AGM of our North East group This talk was […]
News

SPARK newsletter autumn 2022

Click on the right to download the autumn 2022 issue of SPARK, our newsletter for supporters of Church Action on […]
Bible study

Politics, self and drama in our responses to scripture

Chris Hughes, a Catholic priest and member of Church Action on Poverty North East, explores how the parable of the […]

Catholic Social Teaching and human dignity

Watch a talk given by theologian Anna Rowlands at the 2022 AGM of our North East group

This talk was recorded on 20 October 2022.

Be part of a movement that’s reclaiming dignity, agency and power

Merseyside Pantries reach big milestone

Transforming the Jericho Road

Partner focus: Meet Community One Stop in Edinburgh

Thank you Pat! 40 years of compassionate action

Halifax voices: on housing, hope and scandalous costs

The UK doesn’t want demonising rhetoric – it wants to end poverty