JONATHAN CLARK, the Bishop of Croydon, in his Easter message, says that we should be trying to help asylum-seekers and those on benefits
One of things that really concerns me in our country is that we have started to load all our problems on to certain groups, as if they were the only problem and there is no other difficulty in the world.
That just isn’t true, and I think we need to return to a Biblical principle.
When the prophet Micah was speaking about what God required of people he says, “What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness?”
And I think we need to do justice but we also need to love kindness and, particularly in our response to asylum seekers, we do not do justice in this country.
There are some people who treat those who come seeking asylum as if they were worthless, but what I find very interesting is that some people are generally condemnatory, but when they actually meet individuals, they realise that they are human beings like them, who need help like them.
The great growth in food banks is meeting a pressing and immediate need.
We need to continue to question the decisions that have been made about some of the changes in benefits to say: “Is this actually about responding to a real situation, or is it more about a rhetoric of finding victims?”
We should not be taken in by rhetoric which actually isn’t true, about ‘hoards of spongers’, which don’t exist.
All over the borough there are churches who are actively helping the poor and not just fishing people out of the stream but asking why they fell into the stream in the first place.
We are not created to live in isolation. We are created to find our fulfilment in community and in helping one another, as Paul says to the Galatians, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ”.
If you say to someone, “Oh, I wish you well”, and then don’t do anything, then you are not really living out the faith.
Easter offers a message of hope, a message of life. A Promise of resurrection. The future as a place of hope.
It isn’t part of the English characteristic to be unrealistically optimistic. It is, in fact, somewhat the opposite.
Easter stands as a challenge to that sort of predisposition to think of the future with a certain of amount of dread and anxiety and to say actually that is where God is.
- Bishop Jonathan was interviewed by Andrew Pelling
Coming to Croydon
- Hauntology – the architecture of Croydon, Apr 5-May 2
- TickIt vote campaign launch, Apr 16
- Norwood Society Talk: Crystal Palace, Apr 17
- David Lean Cinema: Inside Llewyn Davis, Apr 17
- Opening of Marlpit Lane bowling and putting greens, Apr 17
- Arts and Crafts Market, Exchange Square, Apr 19
- Private Peaceful, Charles Cryer Theatre, Apr 23-26
- Alison, A Rock Opera, Spread Eagle Theatre, Apr 23-26
- David Lean Cinema: Short Term, Apr 24
- Stop The Incinerator Beer and Bingo fund-raiser, Apr 28
- Norwood Society Talk: West Norwood – a place of change, May 15
- Croydon RFC charity memorial day, May 17
- Norwood Society Talk: The Concrete Church, June 19
- Crystal Palace Overground Festival, June 26-29
- Norwood Society Talk: War Memorials, Sep 18
- Norwood Society Talk: From Fire Station to Theatre, Oct 16
- Norwood Society Talk: Lambeth’s Archives, Nov 20
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