09 November 2010
Churches partner with local MPs to end global poverty
Christians are showing that working with their local MPs can actually make a difference to the lives of poor people across the world.
Churches across the UK have been expressing their concern and calling their leaders to act on ending poverty as part of the Micah Challenge.
On the historic date 10.10.10, the campaign brought together an estimated 60 million Christians from across 70 different countries for a day of prayer and promising to do their bit.
The promises are now being delivered to key decision makers across the world to remind leaders of their commitment towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
In 2000, 189 countries, belonging to the United Nations, agreed to halve the numbers of people living in poverty within the next 15 years. With five years remaining, Christians are keen that the MDGs do not slip off the agenda.
In South London, Heidi Alexander, Labour MP for East Lewisham, joined the congregation at St Mildred's Church to receive their promises.
Mrs Alexander is well aware of the problems of poverty as she herself has recently returned from a Parliamentary study trip to Kenya to learn more about the continuing challenges of malnutrition and hunger.
She said: "If the MDGs are going to be met, we all need to play our part. I will be doing my level best to make sure that the government meets the commitment they have made."
Andy Clasper, UK Director for Micah Challenge, added: "Even in times of austerity we still have a duty to our neighbours. The parable of the Good Samaritan demonstrates this kind of love in action."
Elsewhere MPs agreed that meeting Christians had instilled a greater sense of urgency in fulfilling the Millennium goals as well as giving them a reason to instigate debate in the House of Commons.
Jeremy Corbyn, Labour MP for Islington North in London, told a congregation at St Augstine's Church in Highbury that their promises had added more weight to his own campaign to raise awareness about global poverty.
Meanwhile the congregation at St James, Woodside Church, have struck up a partnership with their local MP Stuart Andrews, of Pudsey, Leeds, that is also set to improve the lives of those in their own neighbourhood.
Mr Clasper explained: "This started with the church talking through the promises. So good was the rapport, that the MP was then invited back to discuss ways to improve community life."
He added: "With more than 400 constituencies still waiting for their promises, this is a great start and example of how other churches can also get involved in the campaign."
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Notes to Editors
The Evangelical Alliance
We are the largest and oldest body representing the UK’s two million evangelical Christians. For more than 165 years, we have been bringing Christians together and helping them listen to, and be heard by, the government, media and society. We’re here to connect people for a shared mission, whether it’s celebrating the Bible, making a difference in our communities or lobbying the government for a better society. From Skye to Southampton, from Coleraine to Cardiff, we work across 79 denominations, 3,500 churches, 750 organisations and thousands of individual members. And we're not just uniting Christians within the UK – we are a founding member of the World Evangelical Alliance, a global network of more than 600 million evangelical Christians. For more information, go to www.eauk.org.