Tuesday, May 31, 2011

New Resources in an age old battle ...

The weather outside is frightful ... not cold and snowy, but hot and VERY muggy ... so, with the ceiling fans and central air doing their job to keep the house comfie, my plans for the day don't involve much beyond resting, doing some crossword puzzles and catching up on some reading.

The reading was given a boost when this morning's mail contained a parcel of books and resources ordered YESTERDAY from the United Church Resource Distribution Centre in TO. I know they are efficent and fast - but really, I couldn't have driven down and picked it up any fast - OR CHEAPER !!!

So, today is going to focus on reading the book pictured above, a couple of Reginald Bibby's latests works, and a book by former UCC Moderator Bill Phipps called "Cause for Hope."

The one aspect of this however, is the fact that the books on homelessness, poverty and the urgent need for National policies on food, housing, poverty and homelessness were ALL in the clearance section of the UCRD web page !!

It saddens me to consider that the urgent need of facing and addressing poverty is by and large irrelevant to the Largest Protestant Denomination in the land ... the United Church of Canada has long been on the forefront of Social Justice issues in Canada, and yet given the dramatic increase in poverty rates, usage of food banks and soup kitchens, and the startling spike in demand for homeless shelter beds, the UCC is strangely quiet about this ...

Admittedly, many congregations like those of Eugenia and St John's are busy dealing with the local issue of hunger, poverty and housing through ongoing partnerships with other churches and community groups, but the leadership of our Church has fallen silent about this urgent and very relevant issue.

Homelessness and poverty are about to get worse with a Conservative Majority in Ottawa, and if Ontario takes the expected swing to the right that this fall's election seems to be prophecying, the return of Harris-like policies will only further exacerabate a pre-existing problem ... and yet, the United Church of Canada remains strangely quiet ...

Having needed to use a Food Bank while working a dozen part time jobs, I have a definite sensitivity to this issue ... and knowing that the numbers continue to indicate that the 'problem' of poverty, hunger and homelessness is getting worse NOT better - I think it's time to break the silence and begin to speak up and speak out about a problem that is entirely solvable.

Canada needs a National Housing Policy that makes adequate, safe and AFFORDABLE housing a right NOT a privilege.

Canada needs a National Food Policy that protects our domestic food production while ensuring EVERYONE has access to adequate, safe and affordable food.

Canada needs to address the issues that lead to poverty, hunger and homelessness - and the ONLY way that can happen is if people become aware and knowledgable about this, and no longer accept silence as the status quo response.

I am fortunate to have worked with Food Banks and Soup Kitchens in a variety of capacities including NEEDING them ... those experiences have left an indelibable impression on me and on my view of the world ... stay tuned ... this WILL NOT be the last time I speak out and speak up about these issues ...

The Church is about transformation ... and our faith calls us to care for 'the least of these my sisters and brothers' ... Can is seriously be ANY clearer or more straight forward than this??

Time to change the world ... who's with me ???

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