In the last two Bishop’s Letters from memory I talked about our collective call to be good shepherds. As part of being good shepherds I want to draw your attention to our responsibility to care for the most vulnerable of the flock: the lambs.
In the 2013 and 2014 Synods we prioritised child poverty as an issue that we felt as Christians in the Anglican Diocese of Wellington deeply concerned us. We have agreed that we cannot be complacent when so many children within our country and Diocese are impacted by poverty outside of their control.
Last year on 5 August, together with the Catholics, we gathered in our Cathedral to listen to politicians, and to send a clear message that this is an election issue for us. We filled the Cathedral. We were encouraged to hear the issues of child poverty picked up by many politicians in the run up to the election.
Probably the greatest encouragement to us was post-election in September when Prime Minister John Key ordered The Treasury and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet to present new ideas to tackle child poverty. He said:
“The recognition I think we all have is that there are some extremely poor children who are missing out,’’
“And so then the question is, how do you resolve those issues, it’s not straightforward but there will be more you can do.”
So as the 2015 Budget is delivered tomorrow, it is important that we remain vigilant as to how this impacts the most vulnerable in our society. Child poverty is real and changeable. What is lacking is the will power to enact the changes necessary.
As good shepherds may I encourage us all to care for our lambs:
- Keep the conversation alive, gossip at every level the need to not accept the reality of child poverty
- Keep praying
- Talk and write to influential people, let your MP know that the Church is concerned
- Work locally to respond to local need
- Do not give up working for change for the next generation
Bishop of Wellington