John and Betty Fleetwood- inspiring their parish communities to take action for global justice

Volunteers are the face of CAFOD and are key to facilitating opportunities for our parish communities to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters overseas.

We’d like to acknowledge two of our parish volunteers, John and Betty Fleetwood, for their creative, dynamic and energising approach.Fleetwoods- useEvery Fast Day, John and Betty speak at Masses at Our Lady of Peace, Shottery and St Gregory the Great, Stratford-upon-Avon about our work.

The past year, with special thanks to the Children’s Liturgy Group and leaders, Fast Day has taken quite the creative twist at Our Lady of Peace parish! At Lent, the Children’s Liturgy Group really embraced the ‘Turn on the Tap’s’ theme and performed a play all about water.

At Harvest, the Children’s Liturgy Group really got hands on in sharing with their parish the story of Nicanora and Ruben and the difficulties they have to overcome to grow crops on the Bolivian Altiplano high up in the Andes. In addition to performing a rap, the children really stood in solidarity with the community and built their own wormery. Betty invited parishioners to adopt the CAFOD ‘Brighten Up’ theme and dress colourfully like the people of the Bolivian highlands. Fairtrade teas and coffees, which are served weekly by John and Betty at Our Lady of Peace, were enjoyed after along with colourful cakes and Bolivian biscuits.

Thank-you for all your hard work John and Betty, it is much appreciated. It sounds like a lot of fun has been had by all along the way and we look forward to hearing what comes next!

Would you like to join our Parish Volunteer team, inspiring your parish community to take action for global justice? We’d be delighted to hear from you! Do just get in touch at birmingham@cafod.org.uk or on 01922 722944.

School Volunteers gather for Summer term Refresher

On Monday 8 May, our lovely team of School Volunteers across Birmingham Archdiocese gathered for our Summer Term Refresher.

It was a pleasure to be joined by Gemma Salter, from our Education Team, who helped unpack some of our Summer Term assemblies and workshops for primary and secondary schools.

These included assemblies and workshops on our Power to be campaign. We got hands on and created our own sun of messages calling on the World Bank to support local, renewable energy so that children everywhere have the power to achieve great things and lift themselves out of poverty.

SV Summer Refresher- use

Our Birmingham Archdiocesan team of School Volunteers with their ‘Power to be’ sun

We also heard a moving account of the impact of climate change and CAFOD’s work in Cambodia from our Step into the Gap Volunteer, Charlotte Bray’s, recent visit.

Thank-you very much to all who joined us, for your energy and enthusiasm and for being such a great inspiration to children and young people across our Archdiocese.

Would you like to join our School Volunteer team? http://cafod.org.uk/Volunteer/Volunteer-with-us/Education-volunteer

We’d be delighted to hear from you at birmingham@cafod.org.uk or on 01922 722 944.

Coventry campaigner travels to parliament to ask MPs important questions before the general election

Local campaigner Kris Pears, travelled from Coventry to Westminster to speak with MPs in Parliament to ensure the interests of the world’s poorest people will be kept in mind during the upcoming general election.

On Monday 24 April, sixty supporters of the aid agency CAFOD travelled from across the country to meet with MPs from different political parties at Speaker’s House in Parliament.

Kris Pears and Jim Cunningham

Kris met his MP, Jim Cunningham, the Labour MP for South Coventry. “We spoke about the climate agreement that was made in Paris at COP21 and what we thought about Trump’s attitude. Then very generally about social justice issues, both at home and overseas,” said Kris.

“The single most important question is: Will your party maintain the UK Government’s commitment to 0.7% for overseas aid into the future? Not only that, but also commit to making the money totally auditable, preferably through the Department for International Development, rather than hiving off parts of the budget to other departments who are not faced with the same level of probity.”

Commons Speaker the Rt Hon John Bercow MP told the reception:

“For my part, I always think the greatest moral challenge of our times is to try to do something about the gross crisis and disfiguring scar of global poverty. The fact that 1,000 million people around the world exist on less than a dollar a day and very large numbers of people besides exist on only moderately more than that is, frankly, a source not only of anxiety but of real shame to us all.”

The campaigners at the Parliamentary reception are CAFOD ‘MP Correspondents’, supporters who write to MPs on international development issues such as the impact of climate change and trade practices.

CAFOD is encouraging Catholics to ask election candidates to support UK commitments on tackling poverty overseas and climate change, as well as working to ensure that Britain remains an outward-looking and welcoming nation.

Neil Thorns, CAFOD’s Director of Advocacy, said:

“It is so great to see local constituents raising their voices before the general election and making their local political representatives aware of issues that are important to them.

“Pope Francis himself warns that people living in poverty can often be an ‘afterthought’ in political discussions and that’s why it’s so important that we remind candidates of the need to remain an outward-looking nation – one that cares for the interests of people in the world’s poorest communities.

“This is why the commitment to maintaining UK support for overseas aid is crucial for saving lives and pulling people out of poverty.”

Kris added he felt it was important that everyone got involved before the election. “We have been presented with an opportunity that wasn’t there a week ago, we were expecting to have an election in three years’ time and be stuck with what we’ve got until then, now is our chance to question not only our MP but also other candidates who want to take their place.”

Find questions to ask your candidates at cafod.org.uk/election