Each day during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, we provide a starting point, reflection, questions and a prayer based on the theme. Here you can turn your reflections into action with our Go and Do points.
‘Charity is no substitute for justice withheld’.
Take time to reflect and remember campaign successes of the recent and distant past, e.g. the abolition of transatlantic slavery and the end of apartheid in South Africa.
There is much still to be done in the journey to tax justice but take a moment to reflect on the incredible journey of the tax justice campaign so far.
We all pay our taxes, which our governments take and invest in local services and infrastructure. But companies like Amazon, Google and Starbucks can get away without paying what they owe.
Organisations such as the UN and the IMF have estimated that developing countries lose between $100billion and $300billion every year to tax dodging. These funds could be used to provide clean water, healthcare, education and many other essentials that we take for granted. And in developing countries, these services can make the difference between life and death.
The unbelievable thing is that big corporations often do this legally, by taking advantage of tax rules that are currently rigged in their favour. The secrecy in the international financial system is an added bonus for tax dodgers.
With the help of campaigners, Christian Aid has raised the profile of tax dodging and secured some key changes in the law. In 2016, as part of our Sourced campaign, Christian Aid campaigners persuaded 15 councils in England and Northern Ireland (who together spend billions of pounds!) to put tax justice at the heart of their procurement policies.
This sent a clear signal to companies that councils and local people will not tolerate tax dodging.
To achieve these tax campaign successes campaigners have dressed up as pirates, given out tax superhero awards at the tax awards ceremony in London, took a double decker bus around the UK to raise awareness and hold conversations about tax justice, amongst many others creative approaches.
Creative campaigning doesn’t have to be extrovert though, Sarah Corbett, the founder of the Craftivist Collective wrote a book about this.
Get together to celebrate these campaign successes and discuss what action your community of churches could take to challenge injustice that is happening now.
For example you could check to see if any of your clothes were made in Indonesia, as you hold each item of clothing consider all the hands that touched it before it made it into your wardrobe. Imagine who made it, then find out how you can take action.
Not everything we read or see in the news is true. ‘Fake news’ has become a catch-all term for stories that are deliberately made up and also those that have some truth to them but are not reported accurately.
Hold a newspaper breakfast for the churches in your area. Get a selection of daily national papers and take time to discuss the headlines and equip yourselves with the skills to discern what is true in this ‘post-truth’ age? Some steps for identifying fake news that you can discuss over breakfast are outlined by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA).
You can find out about and join the campaigns that challenge negative and scaremongering reporting in the media for example, Christian Aid’s ‘Change the Story’ campaign challenges how refugees are written about in the newspaper. Find out more about this campaign.
And to help cheer you up, read some good news stories on the Good News Network.
God stands with those who are most marginalised. Consider how your churches might join with those who are most marginalised in our societies. Contact local organisations working to support destitute asylum seekers and find out how you can help best.
Visit the CTBI Focus on Refugees website to find out what the latest campaign actions you can take around issues of migration and challenges facing those seeking refuge.
Take action to ensure those who are displaced but excluded from the UN resolutions on rights of refugees are included and given the support they need.
The UN and its member states are working on two new agreements on refugees and migration, but these do nothing to support the 40 million people displaced within their own borders.
Christian Aid believes that any deal that does not include internally displaced people would be a huge failure. The UK Government is a major donor to the UN’s humanitarian system, and a permanent member of the UN Security Council. It can therefore play a vital role in creating such a deal.
Christian Aid invites you to call on the UK Government to ensure no one is left behind in the UN negotiations and to support better protection for all displaced people. Take action with Christian Aid.
Pay attention to the advertising messages you receive, on buses, billboards, TV, newspapers, online. Reflect on the messages that we are absorbing everyday about what we supposedly need.
Reflect on your identity as a consumer and consider the steps we can take as individuals and as a community of churches to live simply so others can simply live? Watch this reflection to help you.
Find out more about the buy nothing day and discuss with others in your church and churches how you might live out the practice of simple living. Plan a Lent action between the churches in your area that involves fasting from buying non-essentials for Lent.
Take part in the Christian Aid’s Lent campaign which encourages us to reflect on the realities of climate change in the Philippines and take the steps we need to live more simply, by counting our blessings.
The World Economic Forum meets from 22nd – 25th January 2019 in Davos, coinciding with when many churches mark the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. It is a moment that highlights the extreme disunity and inequality across the world. 42 people own the same wealth as the poorest 50 percent (Oxfam 2018).
Take time this week to work together for a world where there is unity not just between Christians but also in how we as human beings can flourish together. Renew your commitment to trade that is fair and ethical and to continue to campaign for taxes to be paid.
Continue to campaign for Fairtrade and make sure it remains in UK and Ireland supermarkets. Find out about and get involved in current Fairtrade campaigns.
Organise a nature walk with churches in your area. Wrap up warm, pack a flask and plan a route that takes you into nature. Take it as time to journey together and to reconnect with the natural world of which we are all a part. You could go to a park if you are in the city, or step outdoors if you are in the countryside.
You could film the walk on a smartphone and provide a virtual nature walk for those who can’t manage journey. Or watch a nature programme together.
Pray for another way for the world than the chaos and suffering caused by climate change, often experienced most by those who are least responsible. And resolve to restore our relationship with and as part of nature so we might work with Creation rather than against it.
If not already, consider getting your churches to be part of Eco-church or Eco-congregations.
Take action in the Christian Aid Big Shift climate justice campaign.
Gender inequality violates human rights and keeps people in poverty.
Side by Side is a growing global movement of people of faith who want to see gender justice become a reality across the world. Side by Side highlights the innovative tools and approaches which faith communities have used to ensure gender justice becomes a reality.
Plan and organise a local event with the churches in your area to mark and celebrate International Women’s Day on Friday 8th March. The theme of IWD 2019 asks the question ‘How are you continuing to #PressforProgress. Visit the International Women’s Day website to find out more and get ideas for your event.
Wear black each Thursday in solidarity with women all across the world who are working and longing for the day when there is an end to violence against women. Read more about the Thursdays in Black movement.
Generate hope by sharing your actions and prayers for justice on the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity wall using the #wpcuwall hastag on Twitter and visit the wall to see the actions others have taken.
Consider how the churches in your community might come together to support and stand in solidarity with communities in Indonesia. For example you might want to find out more about and contribute to this EU funded project with Habitat for Humanity that tries to secure land rights and build secure homes to replace slums that have no land security –
The Christian Aid Week 2019 packs for organisers will be landing on doormats across the UK and Ireland this week. Plan to get involved in this other week of the year that witnesses Christian unity across the UK and Ireland. Find out more about Christian Aid Week.