Bishop voices concerns for poorest facing household debt
During November, Bishop Alan drew attention in the House of Lords on two occasions to the crisis of household debt facing many in the UK. This was ahead of more recent reports bearing out his concerns.
Among the problems associated with debt are risks to the economy. The Bank of England Financial Policy Committee says rising debt levels pose: “a risk to (Banks’) ability to withstand severe economic downturns”, and, “they have been underestimating the losses they could incur”. Bishop Alan said:
“The banking industry has an obligation to heed these warnings and act responsibly. I hope that deep and productive partnerships can be formed between financial institutions and the FCA to make changes that benefit consumers and encourage them to save, and that the Government will step in to regulate if needed.”
Other risks are to individuals. To their lifelong prosperity and their health, dignity and wellbeing. Bishop Alan is particularly concerned about the effects of debt on children and the poorest members of society. He cites rising consumer debt, gambling and benefits freezes as among most significant causes and the ones about which most can be done.
He said three principles should govern how the benefits system works, fairness, generosity, and sustainability.
Speaking after the debates, Bishop Alan said:
“The worst effects of debt on individuals are on the very young and other vulnerable people in our society. Child poverty is rising and there is an increasing number of people accessing help for problem gambling who are in debt. Rising levels of child poverty are unacceptable.”
Dates have just been announced for Thy Kingdom Come 2018. Last year, Thy Kingdom Come celebrated and dedicated the days between Ascension Day and Pentecost in prayer for new disciples.
In 2018, the dates for your diary are 10th to 20th May.
One of the new resources for 2018 has already been made available. It is the ‘Evangelism for the Local Church booklet’, which you can download now. Also, coming soon is a national Lent Course to encourage and enable every Christian in their witness.
Recently, Thy Kingdom Come won the Jerusalem Award for the best short film ‘Light’ by Luke Bradford and also came second in the Best Digital Campaign category at the Premier Digital Awards! ‘Light’ is about what happens when the light of Christ shines in the darkness, narrated by Archbishop Justin. The video can be viewed here
– Lost Abbot found at St Albans Cathedral
Archaeologists from the Canterbury Archaeological Trust (CAT) working at St Albans Cathedral have discovered the grave of John of Wheathampstead, a former Abbot of national and international renown, who died in 1465, and whose burial site has remained a mystery to this day. In an extremely rare development, the team also discovered three papal seals, known as ‘papal bulls’, inside the grave, issued by Pope Martin V (1417-1431).
It is the presence of these bulls that confirm that this is the grave of Abbot Wheathampstead. Professor James Clark (University of Exeter), who is an expert on the Abbey’s medieval history, has found that early in his career Abbot John secured three special privileges at an audience with Pope Martin and that he was remembered ever after for his great success when visiting the papal court.
The dig is taking place in advance of the construction of a new Welcome Centre, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, and part of the Alban, Britain’s First Saint project. Archaeological work continues at St Albans Cathedral until early 2018 and the new Welcome Centre opens in June 2019.