Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Get Mad!

Yesterday at Gloucester Outdoor Church was a celebration and a sadness. Alex Cole, it's co-founder, is leaving. A dozen of us, congregants and trustees, sat under the bandstand in Gloucester Park and broke bread together. It was a moving ceremony. There was a party afterwards, with cake. 

We must look a funny old bunch to passers by. 

I shared a pew (read, 'folded blanket')  with a brand-new Christian, who we'll call Karen. 

She's late-thirties, struggling. 

I wonder, what does, "struggling" mean to you? To Karen, it's trying to live down a life of every type of abuse, it's trying to cope with severe depression, and it's coming to terms with limited access to her teenage children, who are in foster care. 

She's in tears. 

"I have to 'phone in every month to say if my circumstances have changed (to receive Universal Credit). The man I spoke to sounded distracted, I think he was talking to someone else. My call wasn't recorded, and I got sanctioned for not calling in." "Sanctioned". Read, "Punished with the threat of homelessness and starvation, for (in this case NOT) forgetting to make a 'phone call."

"They say it's to to teach me a lesson." 

Now I'm in tears.

Oh, Karen appealed, and her rent was reinstated, but for the rest, she's not believed. She's told she  can apply for a loan, which she would then have stopped from her benefits payment. 

When did we allow our politicians to use hunger to, "teach people a lesson?" I never voted for it. Did you? Is THIS what we have become?


If a pet-owner deliberately starved a dog, they'd be in court. We're doing this to PEOPLE, people, and IT MUST STOP! 

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