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Archbishop sends off Poverty Pilgrimage

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, meeting poverty pilgrims at General Synod in York. (Keith Blundy | Aegies Associates)

Friday 5th July 2013

A national ‘Poverty Pilgrimage’, to highlight the plight of those living in poverty, will be launched at the Church of England’s General Synod on 7th July, 2013.

Departing from York, the Poverty Pilgrimage will visit 14 major communities before their welcome by MPs at the House of Commons, London on 12th July 2013.

The Poverty Pilgrimage is to draw on the experiences of the clergy, church members and their partner organisations, which have witnessed or felt the effects of poverty and deprivation.  These individual stories will be shown through Facebook, Twitter and YouTube video links as well as personal narratives and photos to be published after the journey.

The Poverty Pilgrimage is sponsored by the Diocese of Manchester and is part of its response to the Manchester Poverty Commission. Members of the Diocese of Manchester and other Poverty Pilgrims will travel by public transport, lifts and on foot over five days from the 7th – 12th of July. The Poverty Pilgrims will have a very tight budget of £53 per person for the week, mirroring the amount that some people have to budget on each week.  The Poverty Pilgrimage Pilgrims will have to share costs and call on the support of others such by sleeping on floors, catching lifts and sharing meals.

The Poverty Pilgrimage will also include significant contributions from the other poverty and fairness commissions that have taken place with a focus on Newcastle, York, Liverpool and Central London. 

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, who is to send out the Pilgrims from York with other leading Bishops, said: “When times are hard it is right that the Church stands side by side with those who are living in poverty and deprivation. We should value every single member of our society and be a voice for the voiceless. As Sponsor of the York Fairness Commission, I know of the important work that is being taken across the North of England to help those in poverty and those who rely on essential services in our communities. I wish these pilgrims well as they take this message to Westminster.”

The Bishop of Bolton, Rt Revd Chris Edmondson, will lead the Pilgrimage on its first stage from General Synod. He said: “Through this journey we would like to change the narrative from ‘undeserving poor’ and ‘scroungers and shirkers’ to tell the stories of real human beings who feel the negative effects of economic and social policies. This is not a party political message but is political - as poverty and deprivation always are – we want to tell the stories of those who currently don’t have a voice and this may understandably make some feel uncomfortable.”

Planned visits include: General Synod, York, Newcastle, Leeds, Rochdale, Bootle, Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Derby, Birmingham, Kineton, South Oxhey and London.

To follow the journey, visit:

Facebook: povertypilgrimage

Twitter: @povertypilgrims

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