News from Joint Public issues Team

The recent Circuit Meeting encouraged members to look regularly at the JPIT website.  Many asked ‘What is JPIT’?  The Joint Public Issues Team (JPIT) is made up of the Baptist Union, the Church of Scotland, the Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church, working together for peace and justice, and exists to equip Christians to act and pray on issues of injustice, to resource churches to reflect and campaign effectively, and to help our Churches to speak out with a distinctively Christian voice on injustice.

Current issues include, Gambling and Alcohol, Politics and Elections, Religious Persecution, Asylum and Migration, Environment, Peacemaking, and Poverty and Inequality.  Its website is: www.jointpublicissues.org.uk and it publishes a regular newsletter.

Our Calling expects us to ‘respond to the Gospel of God’s Love in Christ and to live out our discipleship in worship and mission’ and in particular to do this through Service, being a good neighbour to people in need and to challenge injustice.  JPIT is a great resource to turn to for anybody who wants to engage with a particular social issue – clearly no one person can get involved with everything but we are all called to fight injustice in one way or another.  Amongst its current campaigns where Christians are called to take action are:

Calling for an end to the hostile environment

The ‘hostile environment’ is a web of government policies designed to make life so difficult for people who cannot prove they have the right to live in the UK that they will choose to leave. The hostile environment deliberately inflicts destitution, encourages discrimination, and thrives on distrust.  Our four Churches are calling for an end to the hostile environment.

Universal Credit: Measure the impact on Food Security

Evidence from Foodbanks indicates that when Universal Credit Full Service arrives in an area foodbank demand goes up by around 30%.  Each additional food parcel represents a new family pushed into crisis. Each will face stark choices around prioritising food, heating or rent.  In the past year 1 in 4 parents in the UK have skipped a meal in order to afford to feed their children – the roll-out of Universal Credit should not be allowed to make this situation worse.

The Arms Trade

The UK Government is keen for the UK to be established as the world’s second largest arms exporter, an accolade for which we are competing alongside Russia, China and France. For many Christians, this conflicts with the idea of being peacemakers, in proactively preventing conflict. There has been Christian resistance and protest around the issue.

Next year’s JPIT Conference (7th March in Derby) ‘Renewal and Rebellion: faith, economy and climate’ will look at the big challenges we all face – rethinking economic structures and taking radical steps towards climate justice, and how we can all act to change them – in faith, for people and for planet.

Philip Wetherall

Social Responsibility, Lansdowne Crescent