SCPO News – October 2017

EVENTS

Chloe Clemmons (SCPO Parliamentary Officer), Wendy Young, Pauline Edmiston (Vice Convenors), Martin Johnstone (Secretary) and Richard Frazer (Convenor) of the Church and Society Council of the Church of Scotland in Westminster.

SCPO visits Westminster
On 10-12 October, SCPO parliamentary officer Chloe Clemmons and representatives from the Church and Society Council of the Church of Scotland met Scottish MPs from different parties to discuss social justice issues.

The focal point of the visit was an event hosted for the Church of Scotland by Alison Thewliss, MP for Glasgow Central. All Scottish MPs were invited and Richard Frazer made an informal presentation on “Speak Out – Tackling Injustice, Living Hope”.

During the visit there were face to face meetings with 10 MPs, and conversation was wide ranging, from Gaelic Language church services to the need for greater respect in political dialogue, and the hardships caused by the current roll-out of Universal Credit. A theme of many conversations was the impact of Britain’s Exit from the EU (Brexit).

One particularly current issue discussed with Deirdre Brock, MP for Edinburgh North and Leith, was access to welfare for people with disabilities. Deirdre introduced an Adjournment Debate on “Upholding the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities” in Westminster Hall during the visit.

 

Challenge Poverty Week 2017
Challenge Poverty Week took place on 15-21 October 2017. To mark this, SCPO compiled a short ecumenical prayer resource, with prayers supplied from a variety of denominations. To download please click hereAn Afternoon Tea was also held for Church of Scotland staff in Edinburgh where they heard personal stories from people who have direct experience of poverty.
New supporters for the Give Me Five campaign
SCPO is delighted that the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Scottish Unitarian Association are the latest denominations to back Give Me Five: The Child Benefit Top-Up Campaign.The campaign was launched by Rt Rev Dr Derek Browning, Moderator of the Church of Scotland, and the Bishop of Galloway, Bill Nolan, at the end of August 2017.To find out more and to sign a petition asking the Scottish Government to top up Child Benefit click here
Meet Your MSP projectOver 90 Meet Your MSP meetings have taken place so far – if you know of any of your churches / church groups that have met with one or all of their MSPs, please let us know at SCPO.

For ideas on what to discuss, how to arrange a meeting and or further information click here

 

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GUEST WRITER

Martin Johnstone, Secretary of the Church and Society Council 

The 17th of October was the United Nations Day for the Eradication of Global Poverty.

On that day, across the world, people come together in solidarity with those who suffer poverty and injustice. For a number of years, I have attended one such gathering in Glasgow’s George Square. As I have listened to the injustice that people suffer, tears have welled up in my soul and anger in my stomach.

In recent years, the Poverty Alliance has promoted Challenge Poverty Week around the 17th of October. Its purpose is to highlight the scandal of poverty and to encourage us all to take action.

As Christians there are very specific reasons why we should be involved in that struggle, including:

  • Our understanding that all of humanity is made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). Therefore, whenever a person is scarred by poverty, that person is less able to reflect the beauty and wonder of God. We are all poorer as a result and the glory of God shines a little less brightly in the world.
  • Jesus’ promise to continue to be with us in the poor and the dispossessed (Matthew 25:31). So whenever we choose to take sides with those who struggle for their dignity in the face of poverty we take sides with Jesus. I do not fully understand this mystery but I know it to be true in my own life and in the lives of others.

I would also encourage you to make friends with those who struggle against poverty. This is more than serving those who experience poverty, important though that is. Jesus calls us to friendship and not just service.

Get involved in the messy work of solidarity and justice. Our calling is not simply to feed the hungry but to ask why, in a world and nation of such abundance, too many do not have enough to survive let alone flourish.

LEGISLATION
Scotland
Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Bill
The final proposal was lodged on 24 October 2017 by John Finnie MSP.

Child Poverty (Scotland) Bill
A Bill to set targets for the ultimate eradication of child poverty, and to make provision for plans and reports relating to the targets. The stage 3 debate has been scheduled for Wednesday 8 November 2017.

Children and Young People (Information Sharing) (Scotland) Bill
This Bill was introduced on 19 June by Deputy First Minister John Swinney MSP to amend the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 on the provision of information in relation to the named person service and the preparation and implementation of child plans. It is at stage 1.
 
Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Bill
A Bill to create an offence of engaging in a course of behaviour which is abusive of the person’s partner or ex-partner; and to make rules of criminal procedure for that offence and also for offences involving abuse of partners or ex-partners. This bill was introduced to the Parliament in March by the Justice committee and is at stage 1.

Islands (Scotland) Bill
A Bill to provide a national islands plan; to impose duties in relation to island communities on certain public authorities; to make provision about the electoral representation of island communities; and to establish a licensing scheme in respect of marine development close to islands. It was introduced to the Parliament on 9 June by Cabinet Secretary Fergus Ewing and is at stage 1.

Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Repeal) (Scotland) Bill
A Bill to repeal the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012. The Member’s Bill was introduced by James Kelly MSP on 21 June and is at stage 1.

Social Security (Scotland) Bill
A Bill to make provisions about social security. It was introduced by the Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities, Angela Constance MSP, on 20 June and is at stage 1.

CONSULTATIONS
Public consultations are published by the Scottish Parliament and by the Scottish Government and include the following:

The Salvation Army responded to the Scottish Government consultation on Section 10 of the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Act 2015 in October, and this can be viewed here

 

BRIEFINGS

Named Person Scheme
A report produced by the Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee has recommended that the Scottish Government reconsider its code of practice approach to its Named Persons proposal. For more information click here

Lobbying Register
From Monday 12 March 2018, all regulated lobbying in Scotland, as defined in the Lobbying (Scotland) Act, will have to be registered on Scotland’s new Lobbying Register. For more information click here

PETITIONS
Scottish Parliament
All petitions in the Scottish Parliament can be viewed here

  • PE01677 Make more money available to mitigate welfare cuts
  • PE01675 Attendance at Children’s Hearings

UK Parliament
All petitions in the UK Parliament can be viewed here

SURVEY
Scotland’s National Action Plan for Human Rights
The Scottish Human Rights Commission would like to hear from people across Scotland about their experiences of human rights. They have issued a survey here and are keen to hear from people of all walks of life.

Responses to the survey are anonymous and confidential, and information received will help shape the next phase of Scotland’s National Action Plan for Human Rights.

INVITATIONS

Through the Roof’s 20th Anniversary Fundraising Coffee Morning
Saturday 11 November from 10.30am-1pm
Barclay Viewforth Church of Scotland, 1 Wright’s Houses, Edinburgh
The Roofbreaker Network works to make churches more inclusive, supporting everyone and valuing those with disabilities.

Hope Within
Prisoners Week, 19-26 November
The ecumenical National Launch service for Prisoners Week will be at 6.30pm in St Margaret’s, Drip Road, Stirling, FK9 4UA, followed by refreshments. There will be sharing some of the hopes from prisons and communities across Scotland.

The theme for the week is Hope Within – highlighting the gifts, talents and potential within prisons, within communities, and within ourselves. Prisoners Week is an initiative of the churches that aims to stimulate discussion, highlight concerns and share hope, in prisons and communities across Scotland. A calendar of events can be viewed at www.prisonersweek.org.uk

Who is Normal: Disability and the Image of God
Saturday 25 November from 10am-5pm
St John’s Church, Princes Street, Edinburgh
This event will look at Christian understanding of human people created in the image of God.The speakers are Professor John Swinton of Aberdeen University and Dr Medi Ann Volpe of Durham University – both well known for their work on how people with disabilities or mental illness can teach us what it means to be human.

The event is free but donations are welcome for lunch and drinks. To register or for more information contact Revd Dr Stephen Holmes at stephen.holmes@stjohns-edinburgh.org.uk or on 0131 229 7565.

 

APPEAL FOR ARTICLES
We would like to invite denominations to contribute articles for future monthly newsletters. Please contact SCPO if this is something that you would be interested in doing. It could relate to an issue that is politically current, or tie in with events highlighting a specific cause.We would also like to encourage groups to share the information enclosed in their newsletters and online – and please let us know if you do!
STAYING IN TOUCH
Follow us on Twitter @SCPO_ or like us on Facebook hereKeep up to date with news and briefings on our website here and to subscribe / unsubscribe to the SCPO monthly newsletter. If you would like to receive a postal copy, please call us on 0131 240 2276.
SCPO News – October 2017

EVENTS

Chloe Clemmons (SCPO Parliamentary Officer), Wendy Young, Pauline Edmiston (Vice Convenors), Martin Johnstone (Secretary) and Richard Frazer (Convenor) of the Church and Society Council of the Church of Scotland in Westminster.

SCPO visits Westminster
On 10-12 October, SCPO parliamentary officer Chloe Clemmons and representatives from the Church and Society Council of the Church of Scotland met Scottish MPs from different parties to discuss social justice issues.

The focal point of the visit was an event hosted for the Church of Scotland by Alison Thewliss, MP for Glasgow Central. All Scottish MPs were invited and Richard Frazer made an informal presentation on “Speak Out – Tackling Injustice, Living Hope”.

During the visit there were face to face meetings with 10 MPs, and conversation was wide ranging, from Gaelic Language church services to the need for greater respect in political dialogue, and the hardships caused by the current roll-out of Universal Credit. A theme of many conversations was the impact of Britain’s Exit from the EU (Brexit).

One particularly current issue discussed with Deirdre Brock, MP for Edinburgh North and Leith, was access to welfare for people with disabilities. Deirdre introduced an Adjournment Debate on “Upholding the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities” in Westminster Hall during the visit.

 

Challenge Poverty Week 2017
Challenge Poverty Week took place on 15-21 October 2017. To mark this, SCPO compiled a short ecumenical prayer resource, with prayers supplied from a variety of denominations. To download please click hereAn Afternoon Tea was also held for Church of Scotland staff in Edinburgh where they heard personal stories from people who have direct experience of poverty.
New supporters for the Give Me Five campaign
SCPO is delighted that the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Scottish Unitarian Association are the latest denominations to back Give Me Five: The Child Benefit Top-Up Campaign.The campaign was launched by Rt Rev Dr Derek Browning, Moderator of the Church of Scotland, and the Bishop of Galloway, Bill Nolan, at the end of August 2017.To find out more and to sign a petition asking the Scottish Government to top up Child Benefit click here
Meet Your MSP projectOver 90 Meet Your MSP meetings have taken place so far – if you know of any of your churches / church groups that have met with one or all of their MSPs, please let us know at SCPO.

For ideas on what to discuss, how to arrange a meeting and or further information click here

 

Share
Tweet
Forward

 

GUEST WRITER

Martin Johnstone, Secretary of the Church and Society Council 

The 17th of October was the United Nations Day for the Eradication of Global Poverty.

On that day, across the world, people come together in solidarity with those who suffer poverty and injustice. For a number of years, I have attended one such gathering in Glasgow’s George Square. As I have listened to the injustice that people suffer, tears have welled up in my soul and anger in my stomach.

In recent years, the Poverty Alliance has promoted Challenge Poverty Week around the 17th of October. Its purpose is to highlight the scandal of poverty and to encourage us all to take action.

As Christians there are very specific reasons why we should be involved in that struggle, including:

  • Our understanding that all of humanity is made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). Therefore, whenever a person is scarred by poverty, that person is less able to reflect the beauty and wonder of God. We are all poorer as a result and the glory of God shines a little less brightly in the world.
  • Jesus’ promise to continue to be with us in the poor and the dispossessed (Matthew 25:31). So whenever we choose to take sides with those who struggle for their dignity in the face of poverty we take sides with Jesus. I do not fully understand this mystery but I know it to be true in my own life and in the lives of others.

I would also encourage you to make friends with those who struggle against poverty. This is more than serving those who experience poverty, important though that is. Jesus calls us to friendship and not just service.

Get involved in the messy work of solidarity and justice. Our calling is not simply to feed the hungry but to ask why, in a world and nation of such abundance, too many do not have enough to survive let alone flourish.

LEGISLATION
Scotland
Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Bill
The final proposal was lodged on 24 October 2017 by John Finnie MSP.

Child Poverty (Scotland) Bill
A Bill to set targets for the ultimate eradication of child poverty, and to make provision for plans and reports relating to the targets. The stage 3 debate has been scheduled for Wednesday 8 November 2017.

Children and Young People (Information Sharing) (Scotland) Bill
This Bill was introduced on 19 June by Deputy First Minister John Swinney MSP to amend the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 on the provision of information in relation to the named person service and the preparation and implementation of child plans. It is at stage 1.
 
Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Bill
A Bill to create an offence of engaging in a course of behaviour which is abusive of the person’s partner or ex-partner; and to make rules of criminal procedure for that offence and also for offences involving abuse of partners or ex-partners. This bill was introduced to the Parliament in March by the Justice committee and is at stage 1.

Islands (Scotland) Bill
A Bill to provide a national islands plan; to impose duties in relation to island communities on certain public authorities; to make provision about the electoral representation of island communities; and to establish a licensing scheme in respect of marine development close to islands. It was introduced to the Parliament on 9 June by Cabinet Secretary Fergus Ewing and is at stage 1.

Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Repeal) (Scotland) Bill
A Bill to repeal the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012. The Member’s Bill was introduced by James Kelly MSP on 21 June and is at stage 1.

Social Security (Scotland) Bill
A Bill to make provisions about social security. It was introduced by the Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities, Angela Constance MSP, on 20 June and is at stage 1.

CONSULTATIONS
Public consultations are published by the Scottish Parliament and by the Scottish Government and include the following:

The Salvation Army responded to the Scottish Government consultation on Section 10 of the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Act 2015 in October, and this can be viewed here

 

BRIEFINGS

Named Person Scheme
A report produced by the Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee has recommended that the Scottish Government reconsider its code of practice approach to its Named Persons proposal. For more information click here

Lobbying Register
From Monday 12 March 2018, all regulated lobbying in Scotland, as defined in the Lobbying (Scotland) Act, will have to be registered on Scotland’s new Lobbying Register. For more information click here

PETITIONS
Scottish Parliament
All petitions in the Scottish Parliament can be viewed here

  • PE01677 Make more money available to mitigate welfare cuts
  • PE01675 Attendance at Children’s Hearings

UK Parliament
All petitions in the UK Parliament can be viewed here

SURVEY
Scotland’s National Action Plan for Human Rights
The Scottish Human Rights Commission would like to hear from people across Scotland about their experiences of human rights. They have issued a survey here and are keen to hear from people of all walks of life.

Responses to the survey are anonymous and confidential, and information received will help shape the next phase of Scotland’s National Action Plan for Human Rights.

INVITATIONS

Through the Roof’s 20th Anniversary Fundraising Coffee Morning
Saturday 11 November from 10.30am-1pm
Barclay Viewforth Church of Scotland, 1 Wright’s Houses, Edinburgh
The Roofbreaker Network works to make churches more inclusive, supporting everyone and valuing those with disabilities.

Hope Within
Prisoners Week, 19-26 November
The ecumenical National Launch service for Prisoners Week will be at 6.30pm in St Margaret’s, Drip Road, Stirling, FK9 4UA, followed by refreshments. There will be sharing some of the hopes from prisons and communities across Scotland.

The theme for the week is Hope Within – highlighting the gifts, talents and potential within prisons, within communities, and within ourselves. Prisoners Week is an initiative of the churches that aims to stimulate discussion, highlight concerns and share hope, in prisons and communities across Scotland. A calendar of events can be viewed at www.prisonersweek.org.uk

Who is Normal: Disability and the Image of God
Saturday 25 November from 10am-5pm
St John’s Church, Princes Street, Edinburgh
This event will look at Christian understanding of human people created in the image of God.The speakers are Professor John Swinton of Aberdeen University and Dr Medi Ann Volpe of Durham University – both well known for their work on how people with disabilities or mental illness can teach us what it means to be human.

The event is free but donations are welcome for lunch and drinks. To register or for more information contact Revd Dr Stephen Holmes at stephen.holmes@stjohns-edinburgh.org.uk or on 0131 229 7565.

 

APPEAL FOR ARTICLES
We would like to invite denominations to contribute articles for future monthly newsletters. Please contact SCPO if this is something that you would be interested in doing. It could relate to an issue that is politically current, or tie in with events highlighting a specific cause.We would also like to encourage groups to share the information enclosed in their newsletters and online – and please let us know if you do!
STAYING IN TOUCH
Follow us on Twitter @SCPO_ or like us on Facebook hereKeep up to date with news and briefings on our website here and to subscribe / unsubscribe to the SCPO monthly newsletter. If you would like to receive a postal copy, please call us on 0131 240 2276.