A bit of Easter joy

With the Easter holidays fast approaching Andrew Pakes, Labour's Parliamentary Candidate for Milton Keynes South and long-time friend of Christians on the Left, has joined with Waitrose staff to donate some chocolate eggs for MK Foodbank.

MK Foodbank has reported that demand is up 70 percent compared to this time last year as many families still struggle to make ends meet 

Andrew approached Waitrose to ask for a donation to help ensure the children of parents receiving help from the foodbank did not miss out this Easter. The store donated 100 Easter eggs and Andrew is asking for more donations to ensure every child gets a treat over Easter. 

Andrew commented:

"I would like to thank the partners at Waitrose for their kind donation of Easter Eggs. Many families are still facing a tough time in Milton Keynes and will be relying on help from MK Foodbank to get through the Easter holiday. 

"I am delighted Waitrose have helped kick start the Easter Egg appeal to make sure children whose parents are relying on MK Foodbank also get a treat this holiday season. 

"The foodbank is always looking for donations of food, not just Easter Eggs, so pleased get involved and help make a donation if you can."

You can read more about this story on the MK News website by clicking here.

You can find out how to donate to MK Foodbank by clicking here.

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Faith in Europe

Christian Progressive Politics and the looming battle over Europe

Eu-ties.jpgLast month's debate on Europe between Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage didn't stir many passions on the left. This week's second-leg of the 'Nick and Nigel show' could be dismissed by many of us as a circus sideshow, save serving to reinforce the importance of the European dimension to so many aspects of government and our lives. As we move closer to May's European election and the looming possibility of a referendum this may be no bad thing.

Highlighting popular discontent with Europe has been a popular rallying-cry for the right wing in Britain for decades. Broadly speaking four decades after membership the European Union as it is now called remains a largely un-loved institution in Britain, the punch-bag of populist right-wing press, the bug-bear of successive governments.

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More from the Tawney Dialogue

Last week saw another successful Tawney Dialogue with a great discussion between theologian Dr Anna Rowlands and shadow Secretary of State for work and pensions, Rachel Reeves MP. 

As ever, the discussion in the room was interesting, thoughtful and passionate. This year we even got a mention in Parliament. 

I'm delighted to be able to share ...

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MPs ALERTED TO INCREASING PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS

This month, Members of Parliament will receive a copy of the latest Advocacy Report from Open Doors. Freedom of Religion and the Persecution of Christians is the 2014 report based on the extensive research behind Open Doors annual World Watch List, which highlights the 50 countries where it is hardest to be a Christian.

 

The key findings in this report are that there continues to be an increase in the persecution of Christians worldwide and that the persecution of Christians is becoming more intense in more countries of the world: the most significant factor for this change is increased persecution in African countries.

 

Zoe Baldock, Head of Advocacy at Open Doors says “While the report indicates that it is not the only source of persecution, the main engine driving persecution of Christians in 36 of the 50 countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian is Islamic extremism. Last year we drew the attention of Parliament and the Foreign Office to the new trend of persecution in Africa, including states where Christians are in the majority. This year we reinforce that, emphasising that the most violent region for the persecution of Christians is the African Sahel belt.”

 

The report also highlights the extent and prevalence of persecution of Christians in failed states, which strongly indicates that freedom of religion or belief is a major casualty of civic and political breakdown – and, indeed, may also be a contributing factor to that breakdown. 

 

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Why Labour are introducing a compulsory jobs guarantee

For generations in Britain, when the economy grew, most people got better off with it. But that isn’t true anymore. Especially for young people.

The number of young people left on unemployment benefits for over a year has doubled since 2010 under David Cameron’s government. The latest figures show over 50,000 young people have been on the dole for over 12 months. Its increasingly clear that the government has failed miserably to give young people opportunities to learn, train and find a job. Just six per cent of the wage subsidies on the government’s flagship Youth Contract scheme have been used and less than one in five young people referred to the Work Programme have found a job.

 

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Time to end hunger

ehf.pngWe here at Christians on the Left are delighted to see that an idea we originally suggested has picked up so much traction.

The fast is something we discussed with a number of people over the last few months and today the media have picked up on the campaign through a letter signed by numerous Church of England bishops on hunger, foodbanks and welfare. We thought you would welcome sight of the text of the letter itself, and some background on its origins.

 

 

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The beginning of something

highres-2.JPGChristians on the Left is a political organisation. And political organisations have their meetings in Westminster, right? Or at least in Holyrood, Stormont or Cardiff. So why did over a hundred people find themselves packed into a room at Vauxhall Foodbank in south London for the Christians on the Left Summit?

Well, the answer was to be found in the kind of people who were there. 

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The future of welfare - a Tawney warm up

The Welfare State is in a state of crisis – at least that is what the British public thinks. According to new research from Theos, nearly nine in ten agree that the welfare state is currently “facing severe problems”. 

The Future of Welfare asks the key question underlying this sense of crisis: what is welfare for? Without thinking through the purpose of welfare, it argues, we are unlikely to reform it in anything more than a piecemeal and pragmatic way.

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Voting, values and Christians on the Left

Voting-and-Values-in-Britain-cover_220.jpgA fascinating report, Voting and Values in Britain: Does religion count?, just published by Theos looks at voting by people of religious faith. It analyses voting and voting intentions by Christian denomination, and also for other religious faiths. 

Voting and Values draws in particular on the British Election Survey and the British Social Attitudes survey.  Amongst its many findings, the report finds that Anglicans have been more likely to vote Conservative than Labour (other than in 1966 and 1997) and in 2010 were twice as likely to vote Conservative than Roman Catholics (all self-identifying).  It also finds that Anglicans have been more likely to vote Conservative if they were attended church services regularly.  Church service attendance was also a better indicator of left-right views than affiliation to a denomination or religion alone. 

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Failing states lead to increased persecution of Christians

Open Doors 2014 World Watch List shows militant Islamic pressure has filled state void

Fragile or failed states where militant Islamic movements flourish are some of the hardest places for Christians to live, shows annual report on Christian religious freedom. 

Pressure on Christians intensified in a number of countries in 2013.  The situation deteriorated most rapidly across northern Africa, the Middle East and the Gulf, in countries where sectarian violence has advanced unchecked by impotent central governments. 

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