The issue matters to the church, and the church is trying to make a difference. Churches Together in North East Lincolnshire always tries to gather us together for an event in the January Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, and it always aims to make us tackle something important together. This year we were at St Giles’ and couldn’t ignore the big issue of the economic situation.The Treasurer of the local Credit Union told us that five hundred members benefit from something the local churches set up together as our main project at the Millennium. Members save a small amount each week (at several collection points including St James’ House) and are then able to borrow at a level they know can be repaid at low interest. The well off can both save and help others, and the less well off have an alternative to loan sharks.
A Liverpool priest who works for a charity called Stewardship told us about different places where advice and practical help can be given to those struggling with debt or with money worries. These include the charity StepChange (formerly The Consumer Credit Counselling Service) whose freephone help line is 0800 027 4995 (Monday to Friday 8.00 a.m. to 8.00 p.m.) and whose website is www.cccs.co.uk
The Bishop of Lincoln told us that he is a member of both the General Synod and the House of Lords, and that the church is trying to use both in February to exert pressure for much better systems of financial regulation and much more humane support for those who are victims of past problems. Canon Peter Mullins