Church Action on Poverty in Sheffield share a report on their service for Church Action on Poverty Sunday 2017 – with a powerful sermon by the Director of the Urban Theological Union.
Meg Raw gave this talk in her church in Chorlton, Manchester on Church Action on Poverty Sunday 2017. She kindly gave permission for us to share it here.
Communications Manager Liam Purcell explains why Church Action on Poverty is a partner in the new Centre for Theology and Justice.
Church Action on Poverty supporter Ian Ross preached at Longden Church on Church Action on Poverty Sunday. He kindly shared with us this sermon on transfiguration and poverty.
Nick Jowett of our local group in Sheffield recently shared this hymn with us.
The National Audit Office has shown there is no evidence that benefit sanctions help people to find work. We’re asking all our supporters to email their MPs and call for a review of this harmful system. Andrew Pratt has been inspired by this to write a hymn.
A parable of sharing
A sermon for Church Action on Poverty Sunday (7 February 2016)
Kath lives with her three teenage sons. Her youngest son has several serious medical conditions and requires intensive support. After her partner left 4 years ago, Kath gave up work to become his full-time carer. This left the family finances in precarious financial position:
‘We live very close to the edge… we don’t have many things. My 17-year-old needed a passport to get a part-time job and I had to say no. My youngest, who’s 14, has never been on a school trip, and I can’t afford the art supplies my other son needs for his course.’
The family were just about managing when their Child Tax Credits were halved without notice. Kath had arranged her finances so that she relied on her tax credits to pay for food and other daily necessities, so the effect was catastrophic.
When Kath contacted HMRC, she was told her credits had been cut because she had failed to tell them that her two older sons were staying in education. Kath says she did update them. She was assigned a case worker and given a number to call, ‘and that’s where the problem started’.
‘I called them every day all day and couldn’t get through. And every time I got put through to the answer machine we got charged. It was awful. I’d go back to the helpline and say “I can’t get through”, and they said “Well, that’s the number”. They didn’t help at all. It went on for eight weeks.’
Kath was horrified by how she was treated. ‘When our money was stopped, there was no compassion, there was no way to get support.’