If you think that poverty means the absence of material possessions or that there is nothing you can do because “the poor will always be with us,” a new booklet could offer some fresh theological perspectives.
Living Justice: A Gospel Response to Poverty, published this year by the Citizens for Public Justice (CPJ), is a learning guide to help people understand poverty in a deeper, more engaged and empowering way. Based in Ottawa, CPJ was founded in the 1960s by a group of Canadian Christian activists to promote social justice.
“Our hope is that (the booklet) will prove to be a useful tool in educating, engaging and inspiring Canadian Christians in both reflection and action on poverty issues,” said Simon Lewchuk, CPJ socio-economic policy analyst, in an interview.
While some gains have been made through public advocacy, “much more needs to be done” to address poverty that affects 1 in 10 Canadians, said Lewchuk. To date, Canada has no national poverty reduction strategy, he noted. “[It is] something that has been promised several times [by various governments] but never delivered. We believe it is essential that we focus our energies on ‘getting out there,’ getting Christians thinking and engaged, and building a grassroots movement on poverty issues that government won’t be able to ignore.”
The booklet includes reflections that represent many different Christian traditions and each chapter ends with a prayer, discussion guide and suggested activities that are designed both for “prayerful contemplation and action.”
Poverty “is a crisis that we as a Church must attend,” writes Bishop John Chapman of the Anglican diocese of Ottawa in the booklet. “I heartily endorse this resource as a means to this end. For some it will assist your beginning. For others it will encourage you and help you continue the ministry that you have already begun.”
For more information about Living Justice: A Gospel Response to Poverty, please contact CPJ at 1-800-667-8046 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org