The bishops of the church have signalled their intention, post the election, to do their bit to keep child poverty high on the national agenda.
They are meeting in Napier today, ahead of the ordination of Andrew Hedge as the 16th Bishop of Waiapu tomorrow.
And they took time this morning to formally receive and commend Children Living in Poverty – which is a booklet developed by the Social Justice Commission to equip Kiwi Anglicans to reflect, pray and take action on child poverty here.
In the runup to September’s General Election, the archbishops published an open letter in which they suggested some principles for voting – and in which they identified four key issues facing Aotearoa New Zealand.
They named child poverty as their first concern back then – and they also identified income inequality and lack of affordable housing as issues which directly contribute to child poverty.
We can't forget
Archbishop Philip Richardson said today that there’s a need to maintain and build momentum on the issue of child poverty.
“The risk with pre-election rhetoric,” he says, “is that it gets lost.
“But we just can’t forget this issue. These are real children and real families.
“We’re talking about 1 in 5 of our children who don’t have enough to eat.
“They’re living in poor housing.
“They’re living in families which don’t have the income to provide them with the opportunities that most of us just take for granted.
“We can’t be content with that – and as a church we can’t allow our concern to simply die, because the election season is over.
“This booklet is about keeping that focus on child poverty.”
What can you do?
Children Living in Poverty includes eight sections – Sunday to Sunday, inclusive.
Each day’s entry shines a spotlight on a particular aspect of the overall problem of child poverty – the theme of Monday’s entry, for example, is: Child poverty, incomes, and work.
It deals with that subject under three subheadings: Wealth and Inequality in New Zealand; Do people deserve what they get? and A just wage for all.
And each day’s entry concludes with reflection questions, a karakia and a ‘what can you do?’ section. The material for the last Sunday also includes a liturgy resource.
There is no suggested period for using the booklet – the publishers, the Social Justice Commission, simply say the booklet “is to lead you through a week of reflection, reading and actions on the issue…
“You can choose how to use this booklet, whether in small groups, with your whanau around the table, or during your individual reflection time.”
“Our hope is that it will take you on a journey of better understanding the situation of children living in poverty in Aotearoa New Zealand.”
To download the PDF of the new booklet, click the link below.