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Support for social action and social justice

Church leaders from across Lancashire will renew their covenant with each other by signing a pledge of support for social action and social justice next week (14 October).

The pledge speaks about a commitment to listening to and prioritising the voices of the poor and marginalised, and supporting the many "excellent" faith-based social action projects around the county. There is also an advocacy dimension, as the leaders call on policy makers to tackle the problems of poverty and hunger "through measures such as a Living Wage and review of zero-hours contracts."

The leaders, from many Christian denominations, will sign the pledge at The Foxton Centre, Preston, a Christian-based social action project which has been doing cutting-edge work with some of the most marginalised members of the local community for 45 years.
 
The Revd Tim Presswood, Transitional Regional Minister of the North Western Baptist Association, will be among those signing on the day.

He said, 'Baptists across the North West have been challenging one another this year to "Let Justice Flow." We have celebrated some exciting stories from across the association. Issues of justice are at the heart of the Gospel, so I am delighted to be signing this pledge with other church leaders in Lancashire.'

Tim will be joined by the Revd Richard Church, Moderator of the North Western Synod of the United Reformed Church; the Revd Paul Davis, Chair of the Lancashire District of the Methodist Church; and Bishop Geoff Pearson, the Anglican Suffragan Bishop of Lancaster.

Also signing are Major Mark Billard, Divisional Director for Evangelism of the North Western Division of the Salvation Army; Pat Golding, representative of The Lancashire Central and North Area Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers); Fr Peter Hopkinson, Ecumenical Officer for the RC Diocese of Salford and Fr Chris Loughran, Ecumenical Officer for the RC Diocese of Lancaster.

Representatives from Together Lancashire and the Preston Christian Action Network will also be in attendance.

Helen Boothroyd, of Churches Together in Lancashire, said, 'At a meeting earlier this year, Lancashire church leaders decided they wanted to make a public renewal of their existing covenant with each other through a commitment to social justice.
 
'They wanted to do this at a key social action project, in order to explicitly ground the ecumenical commitment in Lancashire towards the real needs of communities in the county.'

The pledge reads:
 
We, the leaders of the Churches in Lancashire, renew our covenant together and pledge our support for the many excellent faith-based social action projects around the county.
 
We will seek to listen to and prioritise the voices of poor and marginalised people in our communities.
 
We call on policymakers to tackle the problems of poverty and hunger, through measures such as a Living Wage and review of zero-hours contracts, and to ensure that the welfare state once again provides a robust defence against destitution.
 

Baptist Times, 08/10/2014
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