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Tuesday
Jan172017

Residents get chance to quiz regulators over Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road fracking site

Wednesday 1 February 2017, from 2pm-7pm  at Wrea Green Institute, Station Road, Wrea Green, Preston, PR4 2PH.

Staff from five organisations that regulate or advise on shale gas will be answering questions about Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road fracking site at a drop-in event next month.

The organisations taking part are: The Environment Agency, Health and Safety Executive, Oil and Gas Authority, Public Health England and Lancashire County Council.

Cuadrilla began work on construction of the site at Little Plumpton near Blackpool on Thursday 5 January. Since then there have been protests every week day. Opponents of the work have accused Cuadrilla of breaching planning and health and safety conditions. They said the company twice closed Preston New Road, preventing access for emergency vehicles. Supporters have blamed protesters for the problems.

A spokesperson for the Environment Agency said today:

“As regulators and agencies involved in assessing the impacts of the oil and gas industry, our role is to help ensure that any exploration and development is done in a way that protects people and the environment.

“Construction of the site is taking place through January and February, we feel that this session will be a great opportunity for us to meet with local people to explain what we will be doing in the coming months to regulate site activities.”

The decision by Lancashire County Council to refuse permission to drill, frack and test for shale gas at Preston New Road was overruled by Sajid Javid, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, on the recommendation of a planning inspector. The minister’s decision is now the subject of two legal challenges.

Another challenge has been made to Mr Javid’s decision to reopen the public inquiry on Cuadrilla’s Roseacre Wood site after the inspector recommended refusal

 By Ruth Hayhurst on January 17, 2017  

 

Wednesday
Jan112017

Our water, land and air are the most fundamental and needed gifts of God to all people, and must be protected by us as stewards of His Creation. 

This week at Preston New Road on the Fylde Coast at the heart of the Lancaster Diocese, the energy company Cuadrilla began construction of their shale gas exploration well, which, if  allowed, would ultimately lead to hundreds more (several hundreds of wells would be needed to make shale gas production viable). 

In many parts of the world fracking has led to water contamination, earthquakes (including here in 2011 at Preese Hall when Cuadrilla last tried to frack our precious land), road  congestion &  industrialisation of the landscape.  

So many countries have now banned this  dangerous industry and the evidence against fracking  continues to grow.  

Fracking concerns have been reinforced by Pope Francis who has encouraged  Catholics all around the world to work with others ‘to care for our common home’.  We are being challenged to hear both the ‘cry of the poor’ and the ‘cry of the earth’.

 

Catholics worked with other people of faith and millions of others to pressure our governments to make   climate change commitments in Paris in 2015. We urge all people of faith to carefully (and prayerfully)     consider these concerns for a safe healthy future for us and our children. 

What can we do? Many, many things. Do your own research, attend meetings and protests, ask your parish priest to comment in your newsletter. Find out more (you won't hear the full picture on mainstream media). A great place is www.refracktion.com, particularly the section 'myth busters', countering what the industry says about how great fracking is.

Most of all, don't do nothing. That is like accepting it.

There is a term used by government/industry and PR firms, it is called: "Implied Inevitability" - if they TELL you it will happen, you will believe you are powerless to stop it. 

That's not the case - We are powerful and in the name of faith and justice, and for our own  consciences we must speak up and act. 

In his homily at his inauguration, Pope Francis said "let us be protectors of creation, protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment."

Do not accept fracking, but do not do nothing.                                                                               

Andy Severyn 

A visualisation of the impact of just 100  well pads on PEDL 165 (Licence area)

MYTH #1: “Fracking will provide energy security for the UK.”

FACT: The UK is part of an integrated European energy market, which means all the gas produced in the UK is traded on the open market and sold to the highest bidder. The Government cannot therefore ‘reserve gas for the UK’, or control the price.

In fact, the UK currently exports nearly 30% of the gas it produces. If the government was really worried about energy security, why would they let this happen? The simple reason is that they can’t stop private companies selling gas to whoever they want – that’s how the free market works. If they can earn more money by selling gas abroad, they will. So, even if we did start producing large quantities of fracked gas, there is no guarantee that it would be used in the UK and may just as easily be sold abroad anyway.

Also, despite what politicians would have you believe, we do not rely on Russia for our gas supply. (How often have you heard politicians say things like “If we don’t start fracking, Putin will turn off the gas supply and the lights will go out.”?). According to the 2014 Government DUKES report – the latest figures available at the time of writing – 97% of our imported gas comes from: Norway (57.4%), Qatar (24.4%) and Holland (15.1%) – but very little comes from Russia. And Russia is so reliant on its petrochemical industry that if they stopped exporting gas and oil, their economy would    collapse very rapidly.

Find out about 10 myths about fracking at http://frackfreeryedale.org/frackingmyths/

Thursday
Nov242016

Seeking Sanctuary 18th November 2016 ACTION BRIEFING: Restrictions on Processing Asylum Claims from Unaccompanied Minors - POOR CRITERIA IN NEW HOME OFFICE GUIDANCE

Having promised to process claims to come to the UK from young people in the Calais camp, it emerged this week that our government has retrospectively changed its criteria for processing their claims. More than half will not be considered at all. A full briefing  based upon statements made by support agencies and politicians during the past few days is available here. 
PLEASE WRITE to Amber Rudd demanding that the Home Office immediately amend its guidance on Section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016 so that it does not discriminate by age or nationality. Also, write to your MPs, asking them to draw the Minister's attention to your concerns and to let you know about her response.

You can find out about contacting your MP at both these websites:

www.theyworkforyou.com  and www.parliament.uk/get-involved/contact-your-mp/

Please pass the Briefing on to others so that they can take action.

Input at the Rally against Fracking on 12th November in Manchester  by Dr Stephen Garsed member of the Lancaster Diocesan Faith & Justice Commission Environment Group 

Friends: I am looking at these issues from a Christian perspective - because that is what I am and the viewpoint I have been asked to speak from today. But I believe that my comments will find a warm resonance with all people of goodwill, whatever their beliefs.

We are commanded to love God and love our neighbour. Loving God implies loving the whole of his wonderful creation. The important point about the creation story is that “God saw that it was good”.  We are therefore required to be good stewards of our beautiful planet.  As the native American Indians said: “Treat the earth well, it was not given to you by your parents, but loaned to you by your children”. This is a very different perspective from the American “creationists” (and the British aristocracy) who think that the point of creating all the wonderful animals was to give them something to shoot - it is that mentality that also justifies the rape of the earth for profit, as we see with fracking and tar sands.

Our neighbour is the whole of humanity. It is our brothers and sisters overseas who have their homelands destroyed by indiscriminate mining and logging, it is those who suffer the effects of climate change, including those forced by crop failure to become migrants and suffer shameful abuse from our tabloid press - the same press that vilifies us for having the temerity to oppose fracking.  It is those suffering fuel poverty in our own inner city slums

So, friends, we are compelled to look at fracking in the inter-connected contexts of environmental stewardship and social justice. It’s not a nimby thing, it’s a matter of Justice. As Pope Francis said, “We must hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor”.  read full address

Romero Lecture 2016: Rutilio, Romero and Pope Francis

On the 4th November the Jesuit priest, Rodolfo Cardenal, gave this year’s Archbishop Romero Lecture at St Wilfrid’s Church in Preston to a wonderfully full and peaceful Lady Chapel –amidst the chaos of the refurbishment in the church.  Fr Rodolfo gave an account of the life of his fellow Jesuit, Rutilio Grande, and its significance to Archbishop Romero.

As well as being head of the Monseñor Romero Centre at the UCA (the Jesuit run university in San Salvador), Fr Rodolfo headed the Historical Commission in the diocesan process for Rutilio Grande's beatification. This case is now with the Vatican and the Beatification Cause formally opened in Rome on the 22nd November.

When Rodolfo briefly met Pope Francis recently, he mentioned the need for Rutilio to have a miracle recognised by the Vatican. Pope Francis looked to Rudolfo with a twinkle in his eye and said, “Rutilio Grande’s great miracle is Archbishop Romero”.  In the questions that followed the talk we also gained an insight to life in El Salvador You can read the lecture by clicking            http://faithandjusticecommission.squarespace.com/download/ART%20Lecture%202016%20Rodolfo%20Cardenal.pdf , or  watch a recording by clicking   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QqmgOLRntSQ 

The annual lecture was part of the Romero Centenary, marking 100 years since the birth of Blessed Oscar Romero in El Salvador in 1917. A series of events to mark this milestone are planned for throughout 2017. Find out more on the Romero Trust website : http://www.romerotrust.org.uk/

 

Friday
Sep232016

Caring for Creation 22nd October Lancaster

Caring for Creation  “Leaving an inhabitable planet to future generations is first and foremost, up to us” Pope Francis LSi 160  A day exploring hope for the future and our role in this  

How fortunate those of us who were able to attend the one day conference “Caring for Creation” were to benefit and be in the company of such gifted, informed and thought provoking speakers. It is a rare event indeed which collects together at the same time and in one place such a committed and theologically grounded group of people.

The day began with an inspiring reflection, a litany of our creation story from Fr Tom Cullinan, (available download).  Fr Hugh then set the context of the day and  the signs of hope.

Pat Gaffney (General Secretary of Pax Christi UK ) told us to run with the visions of our faith and lobby the government to get behind the banning of nuclear weapons, challenge the financing of nuclear weapon development,  to put forward positive models of security  and alternative investment and celebrate stories of peacemaking. to watch talk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9A97KN_1F2E 

Paul  Bodenham (Green Christian) spoke about travel and transport or living locally, having a dependency culture or one of hypermobility.   Hypermobility results in wider and shallower regions of social activity degradation of the social and physical environment.  By contrast he said if you go  local you grow and when you buy local you enrich your neighbourhood and your dependency on each other. This is simplified but Paul asked whether we can de-couple economic growth from    resource use and the evidence for the last twenty five years  is not  encouraging.

To view Sue Holden and Paul Bodenham talks: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL5UUtVasGFc-NOON0EsJsSJbr41FsklO7

Lya  Vollering reflected on the joy  in working with the soil and growing to eat at any scale whether a plant on the window-ledge or in an allotment. We also heard from Ann about the “Fur Clemt” cafe in Wigan that turns food destined for landfill into meals for the community. (Fur Clemt is local dialect for “very hungry”)

Sue Holden from Positive Money  explained an alternative understanding of money.

Paul Kelly spoke on  Energy and gave us clear information on energy generation and how energy is used. He spoke about Government policies, both past and current and how the Government is responding to  existing commitments. The current policy will not be enough to deliver the existing carbon budgets that Parliament has set.

Paul reminded us that we must find “a firm purpose of amendment.   This in turn must translate into concrete ways of thinking and acting that are more respectful of creation.” LS211 and

“What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?” LS160 

To view all the talks: https://www.facebook.com/jpliverpooljp/videos/

 Organised by Liverpool Archdiocese Justice & Peace Commission and Lancaster Faith & Justice Commission

 

Tuesday
Jul192016

Rutilio, Romero and Pope Francis

This year the annual Archbishop Romero Lecture will be in St Wilfrid's Preston  PR1 8BU on the 4th November at 7pm given by Fr Rodolfo Cardenal SJ

All welcome to download poster St Wilfrid's is only 5 minute walk from the railway station

Pioneering alliance to provide green fuel could slash the costs of running Catholic parishes

The costs of lighting and heating parishes are being reduced thanks to a new deal between two Catholic organisations to provide renewable electricity to churches across the country. Interdiocesan Fuel Management Ltd (IFM) this month entered into an alliance with Churchmarketplace (CMP) to bring renewable energy to 16 of the 23 Catholic dioceses of England and Wales. Their collaboration means that more than 3,200 parishes are buying electricity from “green” suppliers of renewable sources.

The new agreement brings together the dioceses served by IFM, a fuel procurement company which was set up by a number of Catholic dioceses in 1994, and the eight dioceses that have been procuring energy from Churchmarketplace, a collaborative buying group serving the Catholic Church in England and Wales. The new alliance was formed some six months after the exemption from Climate Change levy was withdrawn from renewable electricity bills, a development which meaning that all dioceses were facing an increase in their electricity costs. There was also a premium cost attached to purchasing renewable electricity which meant that the dioceses previously outside of IFM could face significant costs in moving to renewable energy.

But by combining the buying power of all 16 dioceses together, significant savings were achieved that offset the impact of Climate Change levy as well as making renewable energy available to all at a manageable price.The premium for purchasing renewable energy through IFM is about £5 per meter per year compared to about £49 per meter per year outside of the contract, a total saving of more than £180,000 for all dioceses.

The 16 diocese served by the agreement are Arundel and Brighton, Birmingham, Cardiff, Clifton, East Anglia, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, Menevia, Middlesbrough, Northampton, Nottingham, Plymouth, , Salford, Shrewsbury and Westminster. Both partners in the alliance hope that the remaining five dioceses will soon join the buying group so they too might enjoy the same benefits gained from obtaining their energy on a 100 per cent renewable tariff. In addition to the work being carried out among the parishes, CMP and IFM are now exploring how their new partnership can replicate the successful collaboration the parishes are enjoying for Catholic schools, academies and universities. By pooling together the huge volumes of energy, CMP/IFM’s intentions are to make renewable energy an affordable option for all Catholic organisations in England and Wales.

Jenny Williamson, director of Churchmarketplace, said: “We are delighted to have partnered with IFM, another Catholic organisation to deliver an affordable renewable energy solution for parishes. We look forward to doing the same for Catholic schools with IFM, stronger together.”

Carol Lawrence, director of Interdiocesan Fuel Management Ltd, said: “This agreement is great news for Catholic parishes throughout England and Wales. Both IFM and CMP have been for a long time deeply committed to helping parishes to have access to affordable renewable energy. Our new partnership helps to advance that objective in harmony with the teaching of Pope Francis on the care for the environment. It is a real breakthrough and it puts us in a strong position to expand these highly valuable services to other Catholic institutions.”

For further information: Please contact Jenny Williamson on 01332 253839 or Carol Lawrence on 0151 652 9855. Website for Churchmarketplace: www.churchmarketplace.org.uk  Press Release from Churchmarketplace and Interdiocesan Fuel Management Limited 18th July 2016

Report from Paul Donavon on speakers at the National Justice & Peace Network Conference July 2016   : Justice, Power and Responsibility: How can democracy work for the common good?

Jon Cruddas calls for creation of a virtue based politics based on the common good: Labour MP Jon Cruddas outlined how this would look to a more holistic vision of a person living in society, as part of community – rather than simply a commodified being judged almost entirely on a transactional basis of money exchange. He declared that the Catholic Church is uniquely placed to enter the public square on these issues, with Catholic Social Teaching providing the blueprint for the development of such a virtue based model. “The virtue based model of justice can rehabilitate the political sphere,” said Cruddas. The model would look at concepts like what it is to lead a good life, what is justice and what can be done to nurture people to live a rewarding life.

Jenny Sinclair calls for people to “come out of the silos” Jenny Sinclair, the founder and director of the Together for the Common Good project, called for the establishment of a relationship based model grounded in the common good. “It’s time to climb out of our silos and see what else is going on – looking across sectors, and ecumenically – from parish to boardroom,” said Sinclair. The challenge for those in the Church working on social justice issues is how to get more people involved.  She outlined the challenge of working for the common good as being prepared to work with any and everyone, from whatever walk of life. “It starts with conversation. Locally, by people talking to each other. I cannot create the common good on my own, or by just talking with friends. To build a common good requires people who may disagree, and whose interests and circumstances are different, to encounter each other in relationship. The results are surprising, It’s kind of alchemy,” said Sinclair, who stressed that the demand was all the more pressing post EU referendum, which had highlighted how polarised and excluded large parts of the UK have become. Echoing Cruddas, she asked whether “our notion of justice has come down to handing out bits of money.” Sinclair highlighted how the Church is well placed to play “a special role in strengthening civil society.” “We can foster a culture of encounter, where people of different experience meet – at all levels and in all sectors. We can build the links between local institutions and between estranged groups,” said Sinclair, who highlighted how her father Bishop David Sheppard and Archbiship Derek Worlock had played just such a role a generation ago.  Sinclair praised proponents of the common good in the world today such as Citizens UK, the Church Urban Fund and the Catholic Worker Movement,  On an individual level she pointed out how people can invest ethically.

Polly Jones warns of the danger of unchecked corporate power as found in TTIP Polly Jones, head of campaigns and policy at Global Justice Now, outlined the dangers of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) which would enable corporations to sue governments if they do something that cuts profits. Under a similar agreement, the Egyptian government has been sued by waste and energy company Veolia, after it brought in a minimum wage. This was deemed to eat into profits. Jones warned of the possible implication for the common good in terms of how these agreements can bite into public service provision. She told how the idea of trade agreements like TTIPS were born out of the financial crash of 2008, being sold by corporations as a way of enhancing growth in the world economy. “It has been about carving out new markets in areas where they were not able to trade before,” said Jones. Jones pointed to examples of how TTIPs and other such agreements being resisted, with 250,000 Germans coming onto the streets recently to protest about the agreement.

“We have to find a way to enforce our standards on the corporation and cut their power,” said Jones.

*Compiled by Paul Donovan – more writings available at www,paulfdonovan.blogspot.co.uk  

CDs of all the talks are available at the F&J office

Wednesday
Apr062016

"Faith in the New Economic" excellent day on 14th May in Kendal, talk by  Jonathan Dawson "Economics as if People and Planet Mattered" and David Midgley "The Soul of Money & the Soul of the World"

Update from Calais

Tuesday
Mar292016

An account is from a Kurdish refugee who fled from Syria.

She has been called Julia as she is fearful of being identified. She is a friend of my cousin and my cousin has translated her words from Arabic. She responded to 11 questions that formed as I reflected on the Stations of the Cross. Clare Cobb, St Wilfrids Deanery Faith & Justice Group A copy of the questions is included

I’m from Qamishli in the north-east of Syria, on the border with Turkey. I am 30 years old and my husband is two years older than me. I have two sons, who are 5 and 7 years old. Life used to be peaceful and beautiful in Qamishli, a small city where Kurds and Christians lived together as brothers.

I used to work as an accountant in a government department, and my husband worked as a taxi driver.      We lived a quiet life in our small city until my husband was    conscripted into the army at the beginning of the revolution. He was ordered to move to the city of Homs, where he was ordered to kill anyone who took part in protests. He could not tell his commander no, because he would have been killed, and he couldn’t fight against his own people because we, the Syrian people, are all brothers – and brothers do not kill each other. So he helped some young men in the city to get out of doing       military service and flee illegally to Turkey. We got a call from him in Turkey, and because I was his wife I was scared for myself and my children, who were 3 and one and a half years old at the time. I was scared of being tortured by the regime or of them hurting me or the children in order to get my husband to come back (and if he had returned he would have been executed straight away), so I decided to flee as well.

I took the children to Turkey straight away, and then to Europe. Fleeing to Europe was difficult and there were many people traffickers, and I was even more scared when I heard that I would have to flee on foot through forests or across the sea, because my children were still very young. But we were lucky, and were able to travel by plane (my parents were scared that my younger son would cry loudly in the plane, or that we would fall out of the plane). Of course, in the end, we arrived safely in a European country – and until that moment we did not believe that we had managed to escape the danger, that we had arrived in a safe country which would give us security and stability. Of course, our fear did not evaporate then – my family in Syria are still scared, and so is my husband. It was difficult to communicate with my family because when we phoned them we were scared to use our names in case their phones were being tapped. We feared they might then be tortured in order to force us to return.

Of course, we didn’t know the smuggler who smuggled us out on fake passports. We met him just a few minutes before we got onto the plane, and he took the passports from us as soon as we arrived at the airport. Then he told us to wait for him for a few minutes. We waited for more than three hours. We had no idea where we were – not even which country. All we knew was that we were in an airport in a European country. The smuggler had led us to believe that we would continue our journey by taking another flight. We waited for more than three hours but did not see him again. It was late, the children were hungry and wanted to sleep, so we had to hand ourselves in at the airport. It was then that we realised that we were in an airport in Austria.

At the beginning of the war in Syria, there were only very few refugees, so the Europeans who met us were sympathetic. I was happy to live in a safe, beautiful country, and I felt sorry that they were sympathetic to me because I did not experience the same sympathy in my own country because I am Kurdish. We were     oppressed ever since I was a young girl, and we were not even allowed to exercise our freedoms in public in the simplest of ways – by speaking our own language.

For me, the worst moments I have experienced since the beginning of the war have been seeing the Syrian people driven out of their homes, killed by bombs and bullets, seeing children orphaned, and prisoners dying under torture. The pain of every mother trying to bring her children to safety, fleeing from the war, but who drowns in the sea. The pain of every mother who sends her son away to Europe seeking safety, but who must instead receive a drowned corpse. It pains me to see children about to take their last breath who say “I will tell God everything”. A little girl buried under the ruins of her house screaming “I’m alive. I didn’t die!” Children crying and saying “O God, please let me die. Why is there no bread? Take us to heaven so we will have bread to eat.” 

My wish is that life would return to normal, for the war, killing and destruction in Syria to end. I wish for every person to be able to live in freedom, for children to return to their schools and start learning again. War has destroyed education and there are no schools for the children to learn in. Ignorance has begun to rule in the country. It’s as though we have lost 30 years of progress.

People around the world can do a lot to help refugees. Syria has become like a toy in the hands of politicians. European countries will not be able to stem the flow of refugees as long as the war continues. What people can do to help refugees is to help them with language at the beginning, and to show them how to live their lives in the new country – because everything is different to what they are used to. They can help refugees to find work, or to learn a new profession.

As I am a refugee who knew nobody in Austria and did not speak German, I have had to depend on myself to help my children without having a translator. I have been through hard times and my psychological state has suffered. During the four years that I have been here in Austria, I have learned German, studied to become a social worker and have now been given a job for six months where I help people, including other refugees. While I studied, I helped other refugees with the language, or to find accommodation, or to register their children in school.

My wish for myself is to find a permanent job and to live in safety, to be able to provide for my children and give them a good life. I hope one day to be able to see my family, some of whom I haven’t seen for nine years. This is my story. (It’s good that somebody else will be telling it instead of me, because I wouldn’t have been able to get to the end myself, because I am going through a hard time at the moment. I really want to see my family.) Thank you.

These are the questions to which Julia responded.

1. Where is home?

2. What was life like before you left home? What was your job/social interests etc?

3. What was the final straw that made you leave your home?

4. Did you know what your journey would entail? How did you envisage your journey before you set off?

5. What did your journey entail?

6. Did you travel with family and friends? Have you had to leave anyone behind or split up on the way? How, if at all, are you keeping in contact with them? Are they safe?

7. Has anyone stood out who has helped you on the way to your present place ie family, friends or strangers?

8. How do you perceive the different reactions to ‘refugees’ from people in this country and around the world?

9. What was your lowest point?

10. What are your hopes and what sustains that hope?

11. What can your global brothers and sisters do to help?                    

 

Tuesday
Dec082015

Urgent Message from Calais Warehouse

From “Seeking Sanctuary”

URGENT MESSAGE FROM CALAIS WAREHOUSES: PLEASE DO NOT STOP BRINGING AID!!

There is a crisis of aid supplies in Calais right now: because of the demolition of the "Jungle" people assume Calais is "over" and they've stopped bringing donations, BUT there are thousands of people still there and needing help!

  • Please share this message with any others who may be able to help!

On Monday, 1,300 people in Dunkirk will start to move into a new MSF-built camp. However, due to the risk of scabies, people will not be able to bring their possessions or clothes with them from the previous unhealthy site. This means that a new set of clothes, boots, sleeping bag - and tents, in some cases - will have to be found for EVERYBODY in only a few days!! The warehouse run by Auberge des Migrants and HelpRefugees supplies both Calais and Dunkirk, but stocks have run out! PLEASE do not stop collecting and bringing aid over to the Calais Warehouse because you think Calais is "over" and if you are making a collection, bring it as fast as you can! There are still thousands of people to be clothed and fed.

 

You can buy on-line via the LeisureFayre page set up with refugee-specific items at http://www.leisurefayre.com/section.php/86100/1/help_refugees (with a 20% discount at the checkout) but goods take five days to arrive.

For those who have not been over, the warehouse is 15 minutes OUTSIDE the "Jungle" camp and it is NOT DANGEROUS to deliver there at all. Please, if you can make a trip there, do so as soon as possible. The warehouse is about 15 minutes drive from both the ferry port and the Eurotunnel arrival point if traffic is good.

To allow those working in Calais to devote their time to delivering aid rather than to sorting donations, when delivering goods to the warehouse, please first email calaisdonations@gmail.com

  • You will be asked to supply details of the kind and amount of aid you are dropping off; and your intended date and estimated time of arrival. You will then be informed of the delivery address.
  • The donations coordinator does all her admin after a long day in the warehouse and camp.  Please try and give at least 48 hrs  notice when you email her with details of donations you wish to drop off.

MOST URGENTLY NEEDED ITEMS:

Tents, warm sleeping bags, roll mats, toiletries, hats, socks, gloves, tinned food, bottled water.

ESPECIALLY
Men's gloves,
Men's underwear s/m
Men's joggers s/m
Waterproof coats (small)
Shoes/ sturdy trainers/ walking boots - Euro sizes 41 - 43

Please help - or buy online via leisurefayre - thank you!

About 'Seeking Sanctuary'. There are currently still over 5000 migrants in Calais (March 2016) and many more nearby.  'Seeking Sanctuary' aims to raise awareness about this situation and is organising basic humanitarian assistance through Faith Communities and Community Organisations in partnership with experienced aid agencies such as 'Secours Catholique'.

For further information on how you or your organisation can help,  contact Ben Bano on 07887 651117 or Phil Kerton on 01474 873802.  To check the latest news, visit our website on http://www.seekingsanctuary.weebly.com.

 

Friday
Nov082013

 Refugee Crisis - Open Your Hearts Catholics in England and Wales are urged to respond to the refugee crisis with prayer, practical action and advocacy. Whether it's donating time, skills or money, you can make a valuable contribution to the humanitarian effort. Information and suggestions from the Bishops of England and Wales.  We have also been asked to take this refugee crisis E-Action.

The government’s promise to accommodate a further 20,000 refugees over the next five years is an important step and it is crucial that this begins immediately. We are asked to:    urge our MP to Contact the Home Secretary encouraging   her to devote sufficient resources for domestic and   international resettlement mechanisms, so that as many   people as possible can be accommodated within the first year   and the potential of extending the government’s offer of sanctuary to   others can be considered.

Churches Together in Cumbria Refugee Support Leaflet  

Reflections and Discussions in Kendal on the Paris Climate Conference  Fr Hugh Pollock and Dr Paul Kelly shared with us their experiences that brought them to be part of the CAFOD group that went to Paris for the climate conference. Paul began with his personal story of how he came to be concerned as a Christian about the environment; this was a great concern of the last three popes, not only Pope Francis. Paul reminded us of the principles of Catholic Social Teaching: the common good – everyone, everywhere should flourish; solidarity between generations; choose the least harm – damage limitation; live simply – avoid waste and excess consumption and responsible stewardship. A good template for us all.  This lead on to discussion on how to decarbonise UK and how to create the political to do it -our role. 

Fr Hugh started with the disappointment of the Copenhagen Climate Conference and described how the Paris conference was organized in a way that was more inclusive of smaller less powerful nations. This enabled a more successful conference. We heard about the many constructive projects and campaigns that Caritas International groups were involved in, and the stories people told helped make it a positive experience.

Fr Hugh spoke about his own reading of Laudato Si’ and the hopes it gave, and how it is being used to inspire people of faith and used to influence politicians.

Expectations of Paris were high- could something meaningful be achieved, some came away pleased, others believed an opportunity had been missed.

The positives from the conference -all 195 countries agreed with final text, including US, China and India, the three biggest emitters; and the link between poverty and climate change was recognised.
The aim now is a temperature rise of no more than 2degC above pre-industrial temperature, and if possible only 1.5degC . There should be increasing decarbonisation and financial support for poorer countries to help with this.
The concern is that the agreement is just promises and not solutions. There was no clarity about financial help and there was no reference to human rights. Food security was removed from “mitigation & finance” during the later stages, and trade agreements may undermine

COP 21. Current proposals by each country would not restrict the temperature rise to 2degC even if enacted in full.  

Columban Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation have  produced Laudato Si’ Study & Action Guide for Individuals & Small Groups  available at  http://www.columbans.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Laudato-Si-Study-and-Action-Guide-by-JPIC-Britain.pdf

Fracking:  bringing an Christian perspective to the debate  - Stephen Garsed

Fracking has been a hot topic in Lancashire for the last four years. The Environment Groups of the Anglican Blackburn Diocese and the Lancaster Catholic Diocese’s Faith and Justice Commission looked independently at the issues a couple of years ago and produced guidance for their communities. The main aim was to help Christians ask the right questions in a sea of claims and counter claims by the proponents and opponents of fracking. The papers were considered and endorsed by the church leaders in Lancashire.

We then received an invitation to present a Christian view at a public meeting in Preston Minster organised by Friends of the Earth. We used these two papers as our reference and set out the principles of love of God/love of creation and the consequent imperative for environmental stewardship from the First Commandment and for Social Justice from the Second. We stated that fracking itself was neither right nor wrong, but it was the context in which it was carried out that created the moral issues. We posed a number of questions about how the current proposals fitted with the concepts of stewardship and justice.  The presentation was extremely well received. A number of people who  evidently had little connection with faith commented that it gave them a framework within which to consider the complex and interacting issues.

One thing led to another and we were invited to give presentations to Lancashire County Council’s        Development Control Committee, which were listened to very attentively - concepts of environmental stewardship and social justice clearly resonated with Committee members. We also discussed the term “social licence” which is used by the industry to imply that the communities accept the presence of the     industry. We pointed out that the term effectively meant “informed consent” - and that that consent could only be properly informed where there was “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth”.

To proceed without informed consent might be considered to be oppression.  Other speakers had already brought to the Committee’s attention areas where the industry had been very reticent on the true nature of the proposals and the environmental consequences.

We ended with these words of Pope Francis:

"Brothers and sisters: creation is not a property, which we can dispose of at will; much less so is it the property of some, of a few: creation is a gift, it is a present, a wonderful gift that has given us to take care of and to use for the benefit of all, always with respect and gratitude”

We believe that the councillors fully understood the Pope’s message in the tussle between those who wanted to  exploit the Bowland shale gas and those who wanted to protect the environment from industrial-scale activities.

Some may question the churches becoming involved in this debate. However, it is very clear that decisions about energy are now moral issues and it is right that Christians have the opportunity to raise those questions. Furthermore, the fact that different denominations demonstrably worked together to bring a prophetic voice to the debate showed many non-believers that Christian concepts and values really are relevant to life in the 21st century.    

Fracking: my story -Stephen Garsed's input into study day at Tabor in Preston

 

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