We express our collective humanity by gathering in silence and presence. All cultures have this element, of gathering together to pray, to be in silence, to go beyond the thinking to feeling and connecting. Whilst most readily associated with collective grief after a shocking and public atrocity or with seasonal religious festivals, actions from the heart have also been associated with political movements. Many leaders of change movements have and do hold strong spiritual convictions. This can underpin the sense of¬†importance¬†of a cause and strengthen resolve to walk a long and difficult path to see change.
Quaker Peace Vigils
Quaker Peace Vigils †are a way of expressing a commitment to peace visibly in the world. Many of us feel a need to do this, especially at times of acute international crisis.
Paul Nicholson, †Tax Payers Against Poverty
As part of a protest with Unite Union Community outside the headquarters of the UK's Department for Work and Pensions, Paul shared a prayer with the gathered crowd. This was also shared, in advance, across social media and an online community, allowing supporters who couldn't be at the protest to share a moment of grief and a call from the heart for politicians to act with courage in the face of injustice.
A PRAYER FOR THE END OF SANCTIONS and the renewal of social and economic justice at DWP headquarters' front †door. .
I will remember all who have died while their income was sanctioned, who were overcome by any feelings of humiliation or shame, by fear or distrust, insecurity or loneliness; or by a sense of being trapped and powerless under the abuses of power by the State in a time of austerity.
And pray in solidarity with the †1000s †of UK citizens currently suffering sanctions, which are imposed †with †the maximum use of the media to blame decent people for their own unemployment and poverty, including those who would like to be demonstrating outside the DWP on the †19th †March but cannot be.
For the millions of UK citizens who are suffering under unmanageable debts due to high rents, the council tax, the caps and cuts in social security imposed by Parliament, made worse by sanctions.
I pray too for those in power and seeking power on the 7th May that they may find;
The courage to work for and implement social and economic justice.
The will to build a well-being state on the ashes of the welfare state in which rich and poor and Parliament are in solidarity with each other.
The policies to ensure that no one will have to choose between heating or eating, the rent or the streets, or life or death due to the unjust enforcement of debts against inadequate incomes, or no incomes at all, due to a sanction.
In the name of Jesus Christ,
Rev Paul †Nicolson
End Hunger Fast
A †national day of fasting †was launched publicly on †20th †February 2014 with a letter signed by 27 bishops condemning the government's welfare reforms as more and more people are turning to food banks to feed themselves and their families. Faith groups across the UK joined in a collective fast to raise awareness of the issue and to shame politicians into taking actions:
'Why do Christians Fast for Change? Through the bible and in contemporary Christian traditions, fasting is both a spiritual and social practice of drawing closer to God and to our †neighbour. It is in fasting that we discover the stranger in need and offer them our support.'