A meeting with Caroline Lucas MP for Brighton Pavilion and Member of The Green Party

Siobhan Doyle with Caroline Lucas

Campaigning can seem challenging, it can feel like nothing is making any difference and that no one is listening. We often feel powerless when it comes to influencing decisions at top level. But we can make a difference, if we all take small actions to make our voices heard together we can be powerful! Campaigning is often rooted in feelings of powerlessness and struggle, it’s important that we use these feelings and turn them into useful tools for positive action, a desire to make the voices of the world’s poorest heard. As Oscar Romero said, ‘Be God’s microphone on earth’. One way in which we can do this is by speaking with our MPs, they are our link to Parliament!

As part of the Climate Coalitions campaign #showthelove I went along to one of my MP Caroline Lucas’ surgery appointments. It was easy to set up a meeting with her, I emailed her local office and asked for a meeting and one was scheduled a few weeks later. Since she is already an excellent advocate of protecting our common home against climate change as the former leader of the Green Party; there wasn’t much to ask. But, by speaking to her she can say that her constituents care. She was really interested in my year as a CAFOD climate champion, I gave her a green heart and shared why I am passionate about protecting our common home. A few days later, Caroline tweeted saying she was at PMQs wearing the green heart I gave her.

Find out more about becoming an MP correspondent

You can become CAFOD MP Correspondent (MPC) because it is so important climate change is brought up more in Parliament. The reality is that we only have 12 years to limit a climate catastrophe. You don’t need to be an expert, CAFOD will write to you three to four times a year with all the information you need to write a letter or even meet your MP face to face. And if speaking to your MP isn’t for you, there are plenty of ways you can incorporate campaigning into your daily life, whether it be by tweeting, a conversation over coffee or in the way in which you consume products. Every action you take can have a ripple effect.

Find out more about campaigning with CAFOD

Siobhan Doyle, CAFOD Climate Champion, PV, MPC and Communications Volunteer

LEARNING TO LIVE SIMPLY IN EWELL

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It all began when a small group of St. Clement’s parishioners met to study the papal encyclical Laudato Si.  We were inspired by the writings of Pope Francis, who was himself inspired by the life of his namesake, St. Francis of Assisi.

We reflected on the messages in Laudato Si and considered how we as a community could respond practically to protect our world, act with tenderness to each other and reach out to those in our community in need. We were keen to bring together young and old and encourage those who do not always get involved in the day to day life of the parish.

Our answer was to become a Live Simply parish and to apply to CAFOD for their Live Simply award.    

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With the backing of our Parish Priest, Fr. Graham Bamford, and the parish we launched the initiative in May 2017 and were registered by CAFOD as a participating parish on 10th July 2017.

Since then we have

  • made a Live Simply banner and a special notice board
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  • built a vegetable garden, which has been a great success, despite our very dry summer this year, producing good organic vegetables for sale. The proceeds from the sales went to our Connect 2 Cambodia appeal
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  • made sure that all coffee and tea served at St. Clement’s is Fairtrade. We have purchased recyclable cups and started a compost bin
  • set up a walking club to encourage spending time together and appreciating our surroundings
  • held a walk to church weekend encouraging car sharing for those who couldn’t walk
  • held a “Live Simply” reflection during Lent, leading the Stations of the Cross
  • produced a Parish Christmas card, as an alternative to individual cards
  • run a parish social in aid of Epsom and Ewell Food Bank, raising £620
  • raised awareness about refugees and migrants by taking part in CAFOD’s Share the Journey.
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We are now hoping to become the third parish in the Diocese to receive CAFOD’s Live Simply award and we shall be submitting our evidence very soon.

We hope the experience of working towards the award will continue as a positive opportunity for everyone in the parish, young and old, to come together with one goal: to make God known by the way we, as a community, act.

Story: John Farrell, Jonathan Inns and Charlotte Gregory    Picture:  Charlotte Gregory

CAFOD would like to wish Fr Graham, John Farrell, Jonathan Inns, Charlotte Gregory and all the St Clements Parishioners luck in their forthcoming assessment and to thank them for all their hard work in striving to achieve this award.

CAFOD is proud to support ‘The Justice and Peace Assembly 2019 Human Trafficking: Slavery On Our Doorstep’

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Last Saturday around 160 people from the Diocese attended the Justice and Peace Assembly at the St Philip Howard Centre (DABCEC) on the theme of “Human Trafficking: Slavery on our Doorstep.”

A very interesting talk was given by Richard Lancashire from Sussex Police about ‘What is Modern day Slavery which is often hidden from plain view. It could be happening to people working as car washers, in care homes, cleaning hospitals etc. He emphasised that although some of them may think they were better off in this country, it was unacceptable practice to exploit them for miserable wages. People were encouraged to contact the Police and the Modern Slavery Helpline – if they suspected exploitation.

Mick Duthie, Deputy Director of Santa Marta Group spoke about ‘The Church and Law Enforcement Combating Modern Slavery’ and the great work being done by the Catholic religious sisters in tackling the issue to overcome modern day slavery in conjunction with the police. Pope Francis instigated the Santa Marta Group to bring the Church and law enforcement agencies together.

Sr. Pat Mulhall (Brigidine) who works at Bakhita House in London spoke movingly about the work of supporting women victims who have been trafficked. Deacon Roger Stone who was the Apostleship of the Sea Port Chaplain for Southampton highlighted the challenging problems of helping victims of human trafficking but of the necessity for the Church to play a key role in supporting them.

John Paul de Quay (Ecological Conversion Group/Social Action Commission) ran some thought provoking workshops challenging us to look at every aspect of our lives and how it effects others and the earth.  Although the problems that the world faces may seem insurmountable and our efforts insignificant; every little bit helps – he reminded as to do all things well – even  recycling!

 

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There were many stalls representing a wide variety of charities and it was clear to see how each one is meeting a need in our society today.  Furthermore, there was a fairtrade stall with a huge array of fairtrade goods to buy. I enjoyed chatting to people about CAFOD and was very impressed to see so many of our CAFOD parish volunteers at ‘The Assembly.’ 

Should you wish to find out more about volunteering for CAFOD please visit our website.

https://cafod.org.uk/Volunteer/Volunteer-with-us