Anti-Poverty Sunday 11 October 2020

Poverty exists. Poverty Hurts us all. We can all do something about it. 

John Wesley wrote: "One great reason why the rich in general have so little sympathy for the poor is because they so seldom visit them. Hence it is part of the world does not know what the other suffers."

The Moderator warmly invites Uniting Churches in SA to join UnitingCare Wesley Bowden (UCWB) in the fight against disadvantage by having an Anti-Poverty Sunday this October.

Since 2002, Anti-Poverty Week has been active each year in the week around the 17th of October, the United Nations Day for the Eradication of Poverty.

You may like to follow these networks and share their posts with your community.

UnitingCare Wesley Bowden on Facebook>

Anti-Poverty Week Website>

  1. Online Worship>
  2. Message from the Moderator >
  3. Theology/Sermon Starters>
  4. Message from UCWB and St Vincent de Paul>
  5. Video Infographics>
  6. Historical and current events Context with current events>
  7. Statistics and further resources>

UC-Enews Article

Read a bit about Anti-Poverty Week and UnitingCare ERCs here> 

Online Worship 

Please find some resources for online worship here>

Including a message from UnitingCare Wesley Bowden Chief Executive Fiona Kelly. 

  • A conversation between the Moderator and Fiona Kelly
  • A message from the Moderator to churches in SA about poverty 
  • Full online worship (available the week before Anti-Poverty Sunday)

Video message from the Moderator 

Moderator Bronte Wilson asks the public to consider how we can help eliminate poverty>

Moderator Bronte Wilson by painting of Outback Australia

Theology/Sermon Starters

Uniting Church Statement to the Nation: 

“...We pledge ourselves to seek the correction of injustices wherever they occur. We will work for the eradication of poverty and racism within our society and beyond. We affirm the rights of all people to equal educational opportunities, adequate health care, freedom of speech, employment or dignity in unemployment if work is not available. We will oppose all forms of discrimination which infringe basic rights and freedoms...”

Theology of Service, prepared for UnitingCare SA Emergency Relief Centres 2020 (pdf download) 

"The expectation that God’s people are those people who will welcome strangers and care for them runs throughout the Bible. This is presented as a moral imperative for those shaped by the Hebrew Bible and New Testament. This imperative is a response from knowing the love God has shown to us."

Rev Elenie Poulous: "Inequality and the power of imagining a different world" What is the responsibility of the Church? UnitingJustice website. (article)

"The Christian church, I believe, has a particular responsibility to challenge the mythology that there is no other way and to offer an alternative vision for what is possible."

Sermon Outline - Revised Common Lectionary Year A: 11 October, Isaiah 25:10 - Ecumenical Poverty Initiative USA (pdf download) 

  • Antithesis: The actions of the architects of radically unjust actions and policies seem unstoppable.
  • Thesis: God is the agitator for justice and righteousness, ending ages-old practices of social and political humiliation, while reversing the realities of both the oppressed and the oppressors.

Christian Understanding of the Economy in an Age of Growing Scarcity - National Council of Churches in the USA

"All creation shares in an interdependent destiny, and all human communities must work to devise a sustainable future. The vision of the new and redeemed creation that ends the New Testament is of a city in harmony with nature, where—even after great suffering—“the leaves of the trees are for the healing of the nations”
(Rev 22:2). This document stands in a century-long tradition of ecumenical social witness that has advocated a cooperative, stewardship society."

Messages from Anti-Poverty Week SA Co-Chairs

Including a letter and videos from the Anti-Poverty Week Co-Chairs, Fiona Kelly (UnitingCare Wesley Bowden) and Louise Miller-Frost (St Vincent DePaul)>

Video Infographics

Average Matt and Average Amanda - Salvation Army (available as YouTube, or download as MP4, WAV)

Jess' day on Newstart: watch and see if you could live on $40 a day - Vinnies (live play only)

A visual on inequality, if wealth was a swimming pool - Australian Council of Social Service (YouTube)

Historical and Current Events Context

Poverty used to be considered a social good - Ecumenical Poverty Initiative USA (article)

"In the early 18th century the dominant economic view was shaped by mercantilism and viewed poverty as a social good, which would increase the country’s economic growth. Bernard de Mandeville noted in 1732, “it is manifest, that in a free Nation where Slaves are not allow’d of, the surest wealth consists in a Multitude of laborious Poor... It’s still common to hear the argument that benefits like food stamps or unemployment will prevent people from working by lulling them into a hammock of dependency.” 

Related current news articles:

  • Welfare payments making recruitment tougher, Coalition backbenchers say The Sydney Morning Herald (may be subscribers only - email if interested) - 8/09/2020 "Some Coalition backbenchers are worried the government's JobKeeper and JobSeeker programs are making it harder for businesses to recruit staff, particularly in regional areas...Dr Burn said the elevated rate of JobSeeker, which will drop to about $800 a fortnight later this month from $1100, was also a deterrent for some people to work."
  • Calls for changes to JobSeeker as employers struggle to fill vacant positions Newscorp "A million people are out of work in Australia but there are still some jobs that surprisingly no-one wants to apply for. One boss is blaming JobSeeker. 'Once the JobSeeker and JobKeeper came in, we saw a massive increase in difficulty in trying to find people…The landscape industry offers the lower end of wages, and the gap between JobSeeker is so close, there’s no incentive for someone to go to work.' " 

  • Unemployment and precarity have spread through the community like a secondary infection The Canberra Times (limited articles per month - email if interested) "Neoliberal governments are obsessed with making life harder for people. They achieve this, for example, by promoting the idea that the more you give unemployed workers, the more "they'll" expect in wages and so the less likely "they'd" be to accept a job. This is coupled with the deceitful framing that taxpayers' money (creating a tantalising but utterly empty illusion of common ground between the ultra rich and working people) is siphoned from "our" pockets into the pockets of the undeserving and non-taxpaying (both frames, of course, untrue), be they students, carers, people with a disability, or workers who are unemployed."
  • JobSeeker made them 'feel human again', but now the payment is winding down   ABC News ' "Sometimes late at night, I would actually sit there and cry because I really couldn't work out how to stretch the money any further," she told 7.30. "It was always robbing Peter to pay Paul." If her children noticed her crying she would pretend it was nothing.'

Statistics and further resources

Children's Poverty - UnitingCare Australia

  • In 2016, one in six Australian children aged 0-14 years were living in poverty but many children experienced disadvantage on multiple fronts, lacking the opportunities and family resources to be socially connected and to be able to participate fully in their local communities.
  • Between the last two censuses life became harder for all families owing to housing stress and labour market changes.

Poverty Premiums - when being poor costs you more money - South Australian Council of Social Service (pdf download)

Poverty and Inequality website - Australian Council of Social Service

"Excessive inequality in any society is harmful. A system that leaves people behind is bad for the economy as well as people. When resources and power are concentrated in fewer hands, economic growth is diminished. People trapped in poverty face harsh barriers to finding paid work or gaining skills to improve their chances in the competitive job market. When people have to go without meals, sleep on the streets or can’t afford healthcare, we are seeing the impacts of inequality.

By reducing inequality, we can enjoy the collective peace of mind that there is enough funding for the services we need, such as health and aged care, and that when people fall on hard times they still have enough to meet their basic needs."