Church policy group appoints poet-in-residence

lucy-berryThe Revd Lucy Berry, a performance poet and United Reformed Church minister, has been named as the first poet-in-residence for the Joint Public Issues Team (JPIT).

JPIT responds to current social, political and policy issues on behalf of the Baptist Union, the Church of Scotland, the Methodist Church and
the United Reformed Church.

Ms Berry will write and perform poetry related to the policy areas JPIT work on such as poverty and the welfare system in the UK, immigration, political engagement and broader themes around peace and justice.

The unremunerated position will commence on Monday 3 September and is marked with a poem specially written by Ms Berry, entitled ‘An Empire and a Village’.

Explaining how the joint venture began, Ms Berry said: ‘It came about through my residency at JPIT’s last national conference, ‘Brave New World: faithful living in a time of change’, in Manchester in March.

‘We all hit it off brilliantly. JPIT has an attractively practical attitude towards the issues of the day and I love practical Christianity.’

A new page will be created on JPIT’s website entitled ‘poetry hub’ and will feature all poetry she writes during her time with the organisation.

She explained what lay behind the inspiration for her work.

‘It’s the Bible,’ she continued. ‘It seems to me that what is happening in the Bible is always happening; which makes the Bible eternally – and urgently – relevant.’

Lucy Zwolinska, JPIT Policy and Engagement Officer, added: ‘We are delighted to welcome the Revd Lucy Berry as our poet in residence. When Lucy joined us for our Brave New World conference in March and performed her poem “Ideas, like doves” the positive feedback was overwhelming, demonstrating the power of her work. Lucy’s words allow people to engage with issues of justice and peacemaking on a deeply spiritual and personal level. We look forward to working with her more closely.’

Watch Ms Berry perform the poem here.