We serve a God of justice – this resource can help us all to use our voices and our votes to help make tackling poverty a priority.
Revd Gill Newton, President of the Methodist Conference 2023-2024
Lent Course for 2024
A new resource for small groups, for use in Lent or later in 2024
Poverty hurts. It blights the lives of people in the UK and around the world.
But poverty is not inevitable. Choices that are made, and that we make, force people into poverty and trap them there. This means we can make a difference. By using our voices and our votes, by using our heads and our hearts and by deepening our understanding of God’s love for all God has made.
With a General Election on the horizon, we believe that this is the time to speak out as a Church and show our political leaders that another reality can exist where poverty doesn’t hold anyone down, and that together we can get there.
For Christians, the next General Election will be an opportunity to place the needs of the poorest in society, those who most bear the brunt on inequality, at the centre of our concern. This new resource offers an excellent – though challenging – perspective on poverty and the Biblical vision of the kingdom of God and I commend it warmly.
Rt Rev Dr Pete Wilcox, Bishop of Sheffield
That’s why JPIT is working with Christian Aid, Church Action on Poverty, The Trussell Trust, and other partners to create resources which will help you and your church gain a deeper understanding of experiences of poverty, and enable you to act in the run up to the election.
The ‘Act on Poverty’ course, for use in Lent or later in 2024, includes resource packs for six sessions. Each pack contains:
- Guidance for a short Bible study
- Audio recordings of conversations featuring anti-poverty practitioners and activists, many with lived experience of poverty in the UK and worldwide
- Questions and prompts for small group discussion
- Inspiring videos from churches taking practical action on poverty
- A guide to simple steps your church can take to advocate for change
You can also use each pack as a standalone session to explore the issues most relevant for you. There is more information about the themes of each pack below.
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As followers of the Jesus way, we are called to become actively outraged and turn the tables of inequalities over, so that we can begin to sow seeds of hope, justice and prosperity.
Revd Dr Tessa Henry-Robinson, Moderator of the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church
More about the course
Across these resource packs we explore six themes:
This pack looks at what it means for churches to speak prophetically. The Bible shows us that being a prophet is far from easy. Many prophets have felt powerless, despite being called by God to speak out. How, with God’s help, can your church develop its prophetic voice when speaking about poverty?
We are increasingly aware of the divisiveness of politics in the UK today. But this is not the only place where there is division. Our churches, our world, our selves are all in need of redemption and repair. This pack helps you discuss division and brokenness in our different contexts. The resource opens up space to think together about where repentance is needed, and how we can be part of God’s healing and redeeming work.
Many people in the UK are having to tighten their belts due to the cost-of-living crisis. In this pack we take a close look at the lived experience of poverty, both near to home and around the world. We explore poverty as a justice issue that demands action. Groups can discuss what it might mean to be ‘generous’ or ‘cheerful givers’ (2 Corinthians 9.7) when we feel like we have nothing to spare. What gifts do we have that we can share?
Beginning with reflections on where Jesus chose to place himself during his ministry, this pack equips your church to look afresh at where you are located. This includes your physical environment and community resources, as well as local concerns and priorities. Groups can explore questions about how we discern what God is already doing in our community, about life on the margins, and who has power in your locality.
This pack helps churches outline their hopes for the future and turn these hopes into a manifesto for action. There are practical ideas about facilitating events and community discussion in the lead up to the General Election. And there’s an exploration of how nurturing hope can be part of our calling to love our neighbour. What will your church do to grow hope in 2024?
Our final pack looks at what we can do together to tackle poverty, local and global. This resource focuses on practical action in community, suggesting a range of ways to come together, perhaps hosting a shared meal or event to which you can invite your Prospective Parliamentary Candidates and MP’s. Sharing time, ideas and food as we plan to Act on Poverty together. This can act as a standalone session or mark the culmination of your course over the last five weeks.