19 May 2004

Methodists show solidarity with the Jubilee movement in giant style

Last Sunday's World Day Debt (WDD) saw Methodists help raise awareness of the world debt problem in style - in £3 style.

Revd Simon Topping of the Gloucester circuit explained: "We dressed up as giant £3 coins to stress the theme that it would only cost each of us in the UK £3 per year for the next 10 years to cancel our share of Third World Debt."

He continued: "It is important to keep in people's minds that the job is far from finished. Debt cancellation needs to be broader, deeper, and faster. Countries in sub-Saharan Africa are still paying more in debt payments than they are receiving in aid. Heavily indebted poor countries haven't a hope to grow until the debt is cancelled."

Services were conducted with the help of worship materials, printed in the Methodist Recorder. Worshippers around the connexion found the WDD service 'uplifting' and 'thought-provoking'. One minister, echoing President Neil Richardson's view that 'one of the great moral challenges of our time is the struggle for a fairer global economy', said: "This is a high priority issue for the church and it is important to raise awareness of it."

Audrey Miller, Co-Chair of Jubilee Debt Campaign, said: "It was a wonderful response from grassroots Methodism yet again. The observation of WDD came at the right time. Many heavily indebted poor countries are facing huge challenges in eradicating poverty, but because of substantial debt repayments few advances are being made in social services and investment. There is a danger that people are taken in by the spin and think the debt issue has been dealt with, but it is still causing death and despair worldwide."

She continued: "I received emails of support from around the world, the first on 15th May from campaigners in New Zealand to point out that WDD had already begun with prayers in Tonga. I think this really bought home to me that it really was a WORLD debt day and not just UK based."

World Debt Day gave fresh impetus for the Jubilee Debt Campaigners that are hoping to get the issues of debt, trade and development to the forefront of the public and political agenda. For more information click here.

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