The Bishop of London Calls for Ordinary Heroes (@Tearfund) #OrdinaryHeroes

Politics needs big ideas and less short-term thinking, says the Bishop of London, who today (16th April) launches Tearfund’s  new report and campaign, calling for a restorative economy.

This is a campaign I can get behind. Watch the video, and see the rest of the press release below.

The Rt Revd and Rt Hon Dr Richard Chartres said:

We live in a century of mingled promise and peril. The decisions we take now and the way we live now will have an impact on our children and on generations to come – for good or ill. The scars visible on the earth are the accumulating signs of a world in crisis – conflict, corruption, climate change. Yet with these crises, we have made the mistake of concentrating only on short term issues.

The Bishop of London has written a foreword to Christian relief and development agency Tearfund’s ‘Restorative Economy’ discussion paper which suggests that the development success of the past fifty years will be jeopardised by increasing levels of consumption.

Paul Cook, Tearfund’s Advocacy Director, said:

We’ve come a long way. Globally, levels of poverty have halved in the last 25 years alone. Life expectancy, health and education indicators are better than ever before, and technology has helped save millions of lives and improve productivity, especially for smallholder farmers in poor countries.

But if we don’t fundamentally change the ways we produce wealth and create prosperity, we will undo all this progress and push millions of people back into poverty.

The report argues that high levels of consumption and carbon emissions have stretched the earth’s systems to breaking point, and that the impact – already being felt among some of the world’s poorest communities – is most likely to affect people in the UK who are currently children, as well as generations to come.

There is a scientific consensus that an increase in the earth’s temperature by more than 2 degrees will cause irreversible damage to our food and water systems, inequality and poverty levels. The latest data confirms that we are experiencing a mass extinction and that the world’s vertebrate species population has declined by 52 per cent  in the last 40 years.

Calling on Christians, among others, the Bishop of London will launch the Ordinary Heroes campaign to encourage people to make small but significant changes in their lifestyles.  As well as calling for policy change, the campaign seeks to encourage a grassroots movement of people to take responsibility for bringing about change.

Ordinary heroes are people who do simple but bold things to change their own economy, says Paul Cook.

Some people will fly less or consume only fairly traded products, others choose to use renewable energy in their homes or invest their savings in ways that avoid exploiting others.

Using our power as voters, campaigners and consumers is extremely important, and part of our calling to pray and work for the Kingdom of God on earth – a world of peace, justice and hope.

The campaign draws on the Biblical concept of Jubilee, which promotes a rhythm of productivity, rest and community to counter debt and exploitation.

Read more information about the Ordinary Heroes campaign.


#BigRead13: Day 18: Time (#tfbloggers)

#LentPhotos: A Blessing


In two ways the following photo indicates blessings from today …

  1. That we were allowed in to hear the stories of the villagers. There has been misunderstanding, from a previous visit from an NGO (and there are scams, although we think this is more of a misunderstanding), which has led to some ill-feeling in the village, so we thought that we may have to go home without hearing any stories – as always – such inspiring stories of how PEP has transformed their lives. We were encouraged that the villagers thought that their stories were worth using as a bargaining chip – good to see empowerment. 
  2. Ugandan babies don’t wear nappies, and apparently if they wee on you it’s considered a blessing. One blessing I’ve been fortunate to avoid this week!

#BigRead13 Thoughts

So today’s extract from C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

Nothing is very strong: strong enough to steal away a man’s best years not in sweet sins but in a dreary flickering of the mind over it knows not what and knows not why…

and the accompanying Bible verses:

Proverbs 6:9-11

New Living Translation (NLT)

But you, lazybones, how long will you sleep?
When will you wake up?
10 A little extra sleep, a little more slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest—
11 then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit;
scarcity will attack you like an armed robber.

seems to sum up the message of PEP that we’ve heard this week. Throughout this week we’ve heard how villagers were “happy” to while away time chatting, but when famines hit – people starved because nothing had been put by – and were then dependent upon handouts. Villagers have learnt to look at the resources that they have, including time, and see how they can put it to better use, to get themselves, and their families out of the poverty cycle.

It’s something that we can all look at as well – apparently a bit of my catchphrase this week has been that everything that Ugandans have been challenged to think about – whether taking responsibility, using time more wisely, or washing hands – are all things that many people in the UK could do with hearing. My problem with responsibility is that I tend to take it for others, and therefore lose a lot of time .. so seeking to change that … and the snooze button (and yes, a quick check online) can take over quite quickly if you’re not careful!

“Does the Way You Spend Your Time Truly Reflect Your Values?”


Amen to today’s prayer: 

We thank you for allowing us to enjoy life on earth, and pray that we would learn to use our lives wisely.


So, today’s challenge is to live on a fiver, as an asylum seeker would. I remember watching Chine doing this for a week – but I think it was then a fiver for food in a week – incredibly hard to eat a decent range of foodstuffs – but the challenge is to survive on a fiver cash, including travel – I guess that will be easier for some than others… I’m sure we’ve not spent that much today, but £5 would be seen as a feast over here in Uganda – we heard tales of Jennifer today who started a business effectively on 20p, and from that grew it until she could afford a cow, which has now had calves, etc…

I’m now trying to think what I spend in an average day. Milk/cereal or toast. £1.70 park & ride. Lunch given by St Johns but what would that cost if I bought it? Evening meal tends to be simple .. quite cheap, partly because it tends to be a lazy meal and I’ve already had lunch. Very fortunate I know…

Really interesting to read the linked blogs.


Brian Draper asks us to the look for “the stillness between the two waves of the sea” (that time between being busy, lonely, etc..) and just take the time to be… very much as #notbusy has been doing all Lent. And #Do1NiceThing encourages us to buy Fairtrade when we can- apt as we’re in the middle of FairTrade Fortnight … and there are many more Fairtrade goods than there used to be – better quality, and reasonably priced.