My conscience compels me to action

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follow site By Nick Coke

see url A month ago I wrote a piece called ‘A Calais Protest’. It was written within a day or so of visiting the camp known as ‘The Jungle’ rotting on our borders. There’s always a risk in writing something in haste, whilst things are still raw – it can become a knee-jerk response. In this case, however, even with a month’s distance, I stand by every word.

http://azortin.pl/?rtysa=opcje-binarne.pl&ab4=5a The anger still smoulders in me. Every time it rains, I picture in my mind’s eye the mud and squalid conditions surrounding the crowded tents that are home to 6000 men, women and children. Whenever I hear the boiler kicking in to fire up my central heating, I remember how the night after I visited, a fire swept through the camp as people tried to keep themselves warm around a naked flame. As I’ve watched my son head out to the shops on his bike, I remember the young boy of similar age riding through the camp – it’s no place for any human being, even more so the vulnerable. Each time I go to church I’m taken back to that ram-shackled structure pieced together from random lengths of wood and plastic sheeting where Christians in the camp go to pray and worship. I’ve struggled since to sense the presence of God I found in that thin place in the comfortable worship settings that I spend my time in.

http://ostacamping.com/error-log.php?z3=V2d2TUtiLnBocA== I mused in my earlier post that there comes a time when we must move beyond protest to action. In the case of Calais, avenues for action are limited by the lack of political will in France and the UK to take any responsibility. Bowing to that position, of course, is not a given – rather it is a choice that each of us makes.

http://bolataruhan.org/?fiopry=rencontre-celibataire-nievre&194=53 I was recently convicted by Martin Luther King Jr’s comments about knowing when to take action:

http://weselny-duet.pl/visre/pieor/270 “On some positions, cowardice asks the question, ‘Is it safe?’ Expediency asks the question, ‘Is it politic?’ And vanity comes along and asks the question, ‘is it popular’? But conscience asks the question, ‘is it right?’ And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must do it because conscience tells him it is right.”

http://curemito.org/estorke/2986 My conscience refuses to allow me to sit idly by and do nothing. I refuse to choose silence. So, what to do? Well, I know from experience that when ordinary people band together and organise themselves, even the gravest situations can change. Political realities can take another shape when enough creative people begin to use their prophetic imagination and look beyond the prevailing narratives to something more akin to the Kingdom of God. I’ve asked some of these prophets for their suggestions of what we can do and added a couple of my own. Take a look below and ask yourself, ‘what is my conscience compelling me to do?’

  • Go and see for yourself. Calais is a mere 26 miles from our borders – a 2 hour journey from our capital city. The first step towards action is always listening. And if you can’t go, then encourage your leaders to go – political leaders, church leaders, community leaders. I defy anyone to go and not feel challenged to action.
  • Read about it, preach about it, blog about it, talk about it and urgently pray about it. Don’t let it fade into the background as if it doesn’t exist. When we agitate and needle others it provokes greater action, public pressure and accountability around the root causes. You can join Facebook groups that keep you up to date with info. Here are some with contributions from ordinary people who are in and out of Calais all the time: Calais Migrant Solidarity Action and Calais Action And there’s one called ‘Jungle Life Calais’ that has testimonies from people living in the camp.
  • Bring it to the attention of elected politicians – talk or write to your MP or Assembly Member about it. Admitting it is a UK issue (as well as a French one) is the first step in seeing some action. More specifically call on the French and UK governments to follow basic UN conventions in meeting needs for those living in the camp. The camp currently fails on all internationally agreed standards.
  • Join the campaign calling for those in the camp, particularly children, who have family members in UK to be allowed to make asylum applications. More on that here.

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‘…no holiness, but social holiness’: my journey with the Living Wage Campaign

prophetBy Nick Coke

This week is Living Wage Week in the UK. It’s a time of celebration and action for a remarkable campaign, started by a group of church, faith and community leaders, trade unionists and cleaners in East London 15 years ago. The story is a wonderful testimony to the power of grassroots community organising – how conversations initiated in church halls and homes (civil society) have agitated and led government (state) and business leaders (market) into adopting the idea. I’ve written before about how I had the privilege in my previous appointment of being involved in the campaign for 8 years and observed first-hand how it transformed the life of families in my neighbourhood and congregation. Continue reading “‘…no holiness, but social holiness’: my journey with the Living Wage Campaign”

Salvationists join with nearly 900 others for #refugeeswelcome vigil action to settle #1000b4Xmas

By John Clifton

On Tuesday, Salvationists from a number of different Corps (Ilford, Raynes Park, Stepney, Camberwell, Southwark) as well as William Booth College & Territorial Headquarters joined with nearly 900 organised people from member institutions of civil society alliance, Citizens UK.  We came together at Old Palace Yard, Westminster near Houses of Parliament to remember the 6 children who froze to death in the Syrian refugee camps last winter.  We also came to present three asks to our Prime Minister and government in relation to Syrian refugees and the United Kingdom.  These asks were:IMG_0217

  1.  Will you resettle at least 1000 Syrians by Christmas?
  2.  The government has recently announced the creation of a private refugee sponsorship scheme. Will you work with Citizens UK to make sure that any privately sponsored refugees are in addition to the 20 ,000 that the government has already committed to?
  3.  Will you continue to work with Citizens UK to make sure that Britain plays a full and leading role in responding to this crisis as long as it endures?

Continue reading “Salvationists join with nearly 900 others for #refugeeswelcome vigil action to settle #1000b4Xmas”

Praying towards justice – a vigil for refugees

By Nick Coke

Last night I attended a prayer vigil for refugees, with Salvation Army colleagues from across London. It was a remarkable gathering.

Look at this photo –  what do you see?

vigil

Here’s what I see…

site de rencontre avec des ivoiriennes I see diverse people. Gathered in the courtyard of Westminster Cathedral 450 souls stand shoulder to shoulder. A snapshot of the diversity to be found in this great capital city. People of various faiths, ethnic and social backgrounds. Humanity in it all it’s jumbled, glorious, and wondrous mess. All belong, all needed. Continue reading “Praying towards justice – a vigil for refugees”

Cows! and what we can learn from the farmers

Naomi and I were on our way to Salisbury this afternoon with our daughter, when we suddenly had to come to a stop on the B3079.  We realised that, a few cars ahead, a cow had come into the road. With its friends, the cow waited patiently until it was ready to move on.  It reminded us that over the last few weeks, cows have been ‘wandering’ into places they’re not usually found – namely, supermarkets!  Farmers for Action, a campaign group, organised a number of actions which drew significant media attention.  These, alongside the negotiations, put sufficient pressure to get Asda, Morrisons and Aldi to agree to increase the amount they pay for milk, linking it to the cost of production.
 In our pamphlet Marching Towards Justice: Community Organising and The Salvation Army, we describe public actions as being essential for seeking justice.  Without it, the other ingredients that we discuss  (visitation, power analysis, and leadership development) become neutralised for the purpose of changing the world from the way it is to the way it should be.  The public actions by the Farmers for Action are great examples of how it can and should be done.  Here’s why: Continue reading “Cows! and what we can learn from the farmers”