Poverty and economics
A Right Relationship With Money
The Church of Scotland established a high-powered Commission on the Purposes of Economic Activity, chaired by Professor Charles Munn OBE, in 2010 to look into what had gone wrong with our economic system and to suggest how it might be improved.
It set as its principle task to establish how the Church could "best offer Scottish society a new vision of what might be achievable in the economic, social and community life of the nation" and reported to the General Assembly in May 2012.
- Right Relationship with Money: Read the General Assembly 2012 report
- Economics Working Group report to the General Assembly 2010
- Formation and membership of the Commission
- Discussion points leaflet Money Matters? Christian reflections on consumerism
Amongst the vehicles identified as being able to help deliver an ethical approach to finance, was the Credit Union movement. The Church is increasingly actively engaged with the Credit Union movement, recognises the positive role it plays in Scottish Society and welcomes the growth and development of the Credit Union Sector and the affordable financial products credit unions offer communities and families.
Churches Mutual Credit Union (CMCU)
The CMCU was launched in February 2015 and is a collaboration between the Church of Scotland, the Church of England, the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Methodist Church in Briton and the Church in Wales.
Membership is initially to clergy and ministers, licensed lay ministers, elders and trustees and employees of churches and church charities, many of whom will be able to transact by payroll deduction.
The CMCU currently offers a founder member bond, a regular savings account, corporate savings account (open to church councils, sessions and presbyteries) personal loans and car loans. For more information visit the Churches Mutual Credit Union website.
Good Money Week
Good Money Week is a campaign to ensure that everyone knows that they have green and ethical options when it comes to their finance and investment decisions.
Good Money Week brings together Advisers, Charities and Churches, Financial Organisations, Faith Groups, NGOS and Community Groups to spread the word about green and ethical investing.
Your Faith Your Finance is a website which helps people and churches explore their financial decisions in the light of their Christian faith.
For more information, visit the Good Money Week Website.
Truth and Lies About Poverty
In the spring of 2013 a joint report from the Church of Scotland, Methodist Church, United Reformed Church and Baptist Union of Great Britain was published called The lies we tell ourselves: ending comfortable myths about poverty. You can read the full report on the Joint Public Issues team website
This report exposed some of the myths about poverty that many people assumed to be true – but which were in fact false. The worst thing is that many politicians were using these myths and lies about poverty as reasons to make dramatic changes and big cuts to social security.
The Scottish Government published a discussion paper on 'Tackling Child Poverty in Scotland'. You can read the Church's response to this below.
Christians Against Poverty
Christians Against Poverty (CAP) is a national debt counselling charity working through a network of centres based in local churches.
The Ethics of our Clothing Choices
- Are we what we wear? The Ethics of our Clothing Choices - Read the Church and Society Report to the General Assembly 2011
Fair Food and Fair Trade
International trade may seem a remote issue, but when commodity prices fall it has a catastrophic impact on the lives of millions of small scale producers. Many are forced into crippling debt. Countless others lose their land and their homes. Too many farmers in the developing world have to contend with fluctuating prices that may not even cover what it costs to produce their crop.
As a consumer, you can play a vital role to improve the situation for producers. Simply look for the Fairtrade logo on all the products you buy. For lists of products and suppliers, and news from the Fairtrade Fortnight, please visit the Fairtrade website.
Fair Trade in Food is a report highlighting the need to support Fair Trade for the developing world. It also emphasises that our local producers in Scotland struggle against trade regulations which cause many farmers to go out of business. The message is to 'buy local' and 'buy fair trade' whenever possible. The full report examines issues relating to the production and trade of food, and dealing with international trade justice, justice for Scottish producers and fairness to consumers.
What can we do about Fair Trade? includes ten ideas for congregations to respond to the challenge of the Fair Trade movement, including Bible study and discussion material.
Make your church a fairtrade church
- Show for children - this is a script for a fun, interactive presentation to help children in schools and Sunday schools to understand the balance between 'Fair Food' and 'Food Miles'. It is adaptable for different ages.
- Fair Food roadshow script
- Children's worksheet for roadshow script
Other resources which might be useful
The Church and Society Council submitted a paper to the Scottish Fuel Poverty Forum stating the views of the Church of Scotland
Living Wage Campaign
Even in a wealthy society like the UK, people who work full-time can still live close to the margin of subsistence. Campaigners and churches are calling for the Government and employers to provide a living wage. Find information here:
Just Church Resources
How just is your church? These resources consist of 12 modules which can be adapted to suit house groups, youth groups, guilds and church services. The material could be used for a single evening focussing on justice or it could provide a six month programme. Resources are available to download free. A DVD with multimedia resources and extra support material is also available and printed copies can be ordered for a small charge.
Visit the Just Church website for more information
Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility
ECCR works for economic justice, environmental stewardship, and corporate and investor responsibility. ECCR builds awareness of these issues in the Church, links responsible investment and mission and uses international church networks to hear and give voice to the experience of communities impacted by companies' behaviour. Find out more from Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility website.