Putting a plan in place for 2016/17

By Steve Atherton, Justice & Peace fieldworker

The Justice and Peace Commission begins every academic year with an extended meeting to establish the priorities for the 12 months ahead. There is much to be done but we have learned over time that if we try to do everything we end up doing nothing. It is better to focus on trying to do what is achievable. After much discussion, the decision was made to continue with our priorities from last year and to add a third, resulting in the following areas of focus for the coming year:

1) Asylum seekers & refugees       
2) The environment               
3) Inequality

Last year, two of the younger commission members set up social media accounts to promote our work and this has become a 'communications group' to highlight the work of the sub-groups working on these priorities. This includes a dedicated YouTube page, along with various social media accounts (see details below).

Update 1): Asylum aeekers & refugees
Because the work with asylum seekers and refugees needs to be done locally in association with local authorities, the commission is trying to support groups across the Archdiocese. The situation for asylum seekers is not getting any easier: a third of all asylum seekers who arrive in the UK are 'dispersed' into the north-west of England. The government is still determined to make the process hostile despite the first of the Syrian Resettlement Programme families having arrived in our area. 

NB: There is activity in most parts of the diocese and if you are interested or would like to become involved, please contact the J&P office so we can put you in contact with one of the active groups. 

Update 2): The environment          
We began September with a resource for groups to use during 'Creation Time', which is the period between 1 September and 4 October, the feast of Saint Francis of Assisi. This resource brought together the Sunday Gospels, challenging stories from home and abroad, and quotations from Laudato Si' to help us to be inspired to take more responsibility for the way we live and how we respond to the state of the world. It has been used in parishes across the diocese.

We are following this up by working with Lancaster Diocese's Faith and Justice Commission to put on a one-day event titled 'Connecting with Creation'. This day will comprise prayer, talks from specialists, and discussions. We hope participants will leave the event feeling not just better informed but also clearer about what they can do to make a difference. 

NB: Information about the 'Caring for Creation' day is available on the diocesan website and via the J&P social media accounts. We are keen to encourage homes, parishes and schools to work together on a 'LiveSimply' project. Watch this space!

Update 3): Inequality
This is our new priority. We hope to bring together information and suggestions for action to make a difference to the growing inequalities we see around us in education and employment opportunities, wealth and access to housing.

NB: Our current involvement is with Feeding Liverpool. Further concerns are grammar schools and the shortage of social housing.

• Social media links:

Email: j-p@rcaolp.co.uk