The cuts are upon us. As a church leader in an area where 86% of people receive benefits I feel a bit stuck. This community, which is I think 80%+ social housing, will have budgets cut around it. There may be a little bit more money for the school but only if it buys into the idea that poor people are not capable of looking after their children (extra nursery hours).. or that everyone wants the upper middle class work an family set up.
In my church I am aware that a quarter of my folk could face their benefits (incapacity) disappear even though they are not fit to work.
This will be tough.
But I'm not going to just moan and complain.. I'm hoping that we can do something about it.
Yes, I will follow the long tradition of Christian socialism and will campaign and be civilly disobedient if necessary.
But I will also subvert, and I will ask the church to be involved.
So people I am asking you to consider unofficial redistribution. Remembering this gospel is about the other, I ask you that if you have people who will still receive Winter fuel payments, that they might donate them so I can keep my after schools work going through the winter when we need to heat the space.
If you have people who beat the margins on child benefit, would they contribute it to help feed families, or help people to deal with debt and get job advice.
There are things we can do- but I believe it will require the church to get hold of its call to love people who aren't like us.. The ideal is surely that we have friends who we can share with, but in the absence of that, perhaps redistribution through church is a good alternative..
If you want to know more leave me a comment or email.