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Reform Magazine | May 23, 2024

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All are welcome? Poverty - Reform Magazine

All are welcome? Poverty

I can’t afford the church collection

I wonder what feeling genuinely welcome means to you. In this column I am speaking to a range of people from around the United Reformed Church about their experiences of church and what welcome might feel like for them. In churches, we hope to be able to say ‘All are welcome!’, but sometimes it is hard to know where to start. In talking about equality and diversity, I regularly meet people who have felt less than welcome in churches. That needs to change. In the UK, the 2010 Equality Act protects people from discrimination on the grounds of certain protected characteristics. These do not include poverty, although poverty is often a related factor.

This month, I have been hearing from a URC member, who has asked to remain anonymous due to the stigma they face, about their experiences as someone who feels excluded due to, in their words, usually being strapped for cash. They feel strongly that poverty should be a protected characteristic. Their testimony challenges us to rethink how we speak, think, act and react around money in churches. They highlight the importance of three valuable tips:…

This column is curated by Alex Clare-Young, a leisure sector pioneer special category minister for the URC in Cambridge. This month’s contributor is anonymous


This is an extract from an article published in the December 2022 / January 2023 edition of Reform

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  1. Alison Bayne

    Hugely agree. I haven’t been able to find the whole article on this website (I don’t subscribe to Reform) but I think the current crisis brings poverty into sharp focus – for some of us, it is nothing new to be watching every penny – even down to feeling awkward about staying for tea and coffee or attending social groups when there is a pot for donations. Things come up like: “let’s consider sponsoring a child for £30 a month each on a long term basis” – as the only church-goer in my household, I just can’t join in with it, and yet I also feel guilty because I know I am very wealthy compared with many people on the planet.

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