Parliament in your parish: Parishioners voice their concern as the UK hosts global meetings in 2021

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Over the summer parishes across the Brentwood Diocese will be organizing online meetings with their local MP to urge the UK to demonstrate leadership on climate change as host of two major global events this year.  The G7 Summit, a gathering of government leaders from some of the world’s richest nations took place in Cornwall from 11-13 June and in November the UK will also host the COP26 UN Climate Talks in Glasgow.  

The coronavirus crisis has proved that we need greater cooperation between nations, solidarity between people and a greater focus on the poorest in society, as they struggle to cope with poverty, hunger and in many places, the impact of climate change.

“As Catholics, we are called to not stay silent and not to be passive. And our voices are needed more than ever this year, as the UK hosts two major global events – the G7 Summit in June in Cornwall and the COP26 UN Climate Talks in Glasgow in November. The UK can have significant influence on these meetings as host, so we need to make sure our political leaders hear, now, that we want the world poorest people to be at the heart of these talks”.

Chris Driscoll, CAFOD Brentwood

Parishioners from St Joseph RC and St Lawrence CofE churches in Upminster meet with Julia Lopez MP

Parishioners from St Joseph’s Catholic Church and St Lawrence’s CofE Church met online recently with Upminster and Hornchurch MP Julia Lopez. Last week parishioners from Blessed Sacrament, Holy Name and Our Lady Immaculate parishes in Chelmsford met their MP Vicky Ford.

Vicky Ford MP hosts a meeting with Chelmsford parishioners

The Green Guardians group from Brentwood Cathedral will be meeting their local MP Alex Burghart in September having already met the leader of Brentwood Council to discuss the borough’s environmental strategy this month. Other parishioners in Woodford Green, Wanstead, Danbury and Shoeburyness are hoping to arrange similar meetings over the summer. 

Two issues have the greatest potential to make a difference. Firstly, as poor countries struggle with the devastating effects of the pandemic, parishioners are urging that the crippling debt repayments that they continually make to richer nations and private banks be cancelled to help them cope. Read more here

Secondly, parishioners will insist that decisions are taken to keep global temperature rises below the disastrous 1.5-degree threshold. Many of the world’s poorest countries are struggling to cope with the effects of climate change such as increased droughts, floods and cyclones. We must urge the Prime Minister to make sure communities hardest hit by the climate emergency are listened to at COP26.  

Could you and fellow parishioners organise an online meeting with your local MP to discuss these issues? Full support is given by CAFOD including setting up the meeting, advice on speaking to MPs and information on the issues at stake. 

You can read about Parliament in your Parish here on CAFOD’s web site https://cafod.org.uk/Campaign/Campaign-with-us/Parliament-in-your-parish  

An online petition has also been organisation and CAFOD is inviting parishioners to sign their name urging the Prime Minister to make sure world leaders show the ambition needed to stop temperatures rising beyond a disastrous 1.5 degrees, with each country committing to do its fair share. Please sign the online petition here https://action.cafod.org.uk/page/73304/petition/1

Exciting news from St Alban’s Harlow CAFOD Club

It’s always a pleasure to find out what our pupil led CAFOD clubs having been doing in primary schools. St Alban’s Catholic Academy  in Harlow CAFOD club have been very busy this year, Head of School Ann-Marie Black got in touch to let us know what they’ve been doing.

Despite the lockdown in the Lent term the club lead a family Walk for Water  appeal across the weekend of 20 to 21 March, raising £226 through a Just Giving page. All the classes produced work inspired by this; year five wrote lovely heartfelt prayers and year six reflections on the value of water.

This term the club watched the CAFOD’s  Eyes of the World National Assembly , which focuses on the climate crisis and CAFOD’s campaign calling on the Prime Minister to support the world’s poorest communities affected. They shared the CAFOD Assembly with the rest of the school and have started speaking in school assemblies about climate change. Every class was inspired to get involved in drawing eyes and recorded the school’s participation on the CAFOD website.  

As part of the school’s application for a Live Simply Award the club led the schools involvement in Big Pedal through which pupils are encouraged to walk, bike or scooter to school to The school came second in Essex with 94% of the school taking part, many pupils are now cycling to school on a regular basis. The next project is a drive to reduce paper waste in the school and at home. The club has made sure that there are paper recycling bins in all the classrooms and are making posters to share with families.

School volunteer, John Birbeck, who has visited the school said,

‘What a heart-warming message to receive from St Albans. It’s so pleasing that you continue to be aware of and support CAFOD’s Walk for Water and the Eyes of the World campaign. The posters and messages that you have created, clearly show how much you all care about the less fortunate communities around the world. Your endeavours show that you continue to be committed to CAFOD and making Our Common Home a better place for everyone.’

CAFOD themed displays in the school.

Staff have been busy too, a corridor display of CAFOD alphabet cards links the activities of the CAFOD club to the RE curriculum. Mrs Black explained,

‘Many of the pictures and words reference with our Caritas Curriculum through the year so the children can look at this and make links with their learning or ask about things they would like to learn more about.’

Well done St Alban’s – if you’ve been inspired to find out more about CAFOD clubs take a look at https://cafod.org.uk/Education/For-teachers/CAFOD-clubs or contact us at brentwood@cafod.org.uk

St John Payne School Walks for Water

Cheerful walkers in the school grounds

St John Payne School in Chelmsford have supported CAFOD in prayer, giving and their actions faithfully for many years. Despite all the difficulties schools have faced during the the last year they raised a fantastic £2086.50 for CAFOD during Lent by joining our Walk for Water and holding a Non-Uniform Day

Hannah Kelly, the school chaplain, said

”We had a competition to see who could walk the farthest and some teachers took students to make up some steps around the school grounds. We always love supporting CAFOD and I’m so thrilled that, considering the restraints and issues of the past year, students, staff and families got on board and did what they could for CAFOD.’

CAFOD in Brentwood would like to thank everyone in the school community for their support. Our volunteers are looking forward to presenting a virtual assembly to the whole school after half term as part of our Eyes of the Word campaign. https://cafod.org.uk/Education/Secondary-and-youth-resources