Published on 2 October 2023
Rt Rev Sally Foster-Fulton, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has joined a group of Scottish religious leaders in signing a statement calling for prayers and actions to end poverty in Scotland.
Challenge Poverty Week runs from 2-8 October with events planned across Scotland. During the week Mrs Foster-Fulton will also attend an event organised by the Church of Scotland and Xaverian Missionaries joining Bishop John Keenan and others to explore the Minimum Income Guarantee as a means of tackling poverty.
Challenge Poverty Week 2023 –Religious Leaders’ Statement
Our different faith communities are united in a common concern for the welfare of all people, ensuring justice and compassion are values that our society upholds and strengthens.
We share a dream of a society where no-one is marginalised or disadvantaged because of their struggle against poverty.
Our experiences of religious practice and belief give us hope that when people of good intent work together, it is possible to change the world for the better.
For Challenge Poverty Week 2023, we commend to all those involved in the life of our places of worship the key themes:
- for a Scotland where we value our communities
- for a Scotland where we all have safe, secure and sustainable homes
- for a Scotland where we all have enough to live a decent and dignified life
- for a Scotland where we can all get to where we need to go
- and for a Scotland where no one goes hungry
In particular we reiterate the call of the Scottish Religious Leaders’ Forum to the Scottish Government for the provision of free bus transport for people seeking asylum in Scotland.
Transport is often an insurmountable cost for low-income households. Not being able to travel limits people in their ability to access food and essentials, education, doctor’s appointments and a large number of other services. It also restricts people in practicing their religion as travelling to a faith community becomes unaffordable. Access to free bus travel would be positively life-changing and mentally transformative for people who might be in the asylum system for several months or even years. It would help to foster two-way integration and help build stronger and more resilient communities as it allows people to actively participate in activities such as English language practice, and religious worship and fellowship.
This Challenge Poverty Week, please remember that poverty is not inevitable. We share a vision of a Scotland free from poverty and where everyone can flourish. We invite you to add your voice, actions and your prayers to work collectively to achieve this.
- Rev. Bob Akroyd, Moderator, Free Church of Scotland
- Zainab Alshaber, Scottish Ahlul Bayt Society
- Kate Arnott, Quakers in Scotland
- Most Revd. Leo Cushley, Archbishop of St Andrews & Edinburgh
- Rev Bonnie Evans Hills, Convener, Interfaith Relations Committee, Scottish Episcopal Church
- Rt Rev Sally Foster-Fulton, Moderator of the General Assembly, Church of Scotland
- Ian Galloway, Chair, Faith in Community Scotland
- Colonel Sylvia Hinton, Secretary for Scotland, The Salvation Army
- Madhu Jain, Jain Community and Hindu Mandir, Glasgow
- Ravinder Kaur Nijjar, Sikh Community and Chair of Religions for Peace UK Women of Faith Network
- Acharyaji Mishra, Hindu Temple, Glasgow
- David Moodie, Co-ordinator, Scottish Faiths Action for Refugees
- Isadora Quay, The Baha’i Office of Public Affairs (Scotland)
- Rabbi David Rose, Hebrew Congregation, Edinburgh
- Rabbi Moshe Rubin, Giffnock Newton Mearns synagogue and Senior Rabbi of Scotland
- Dr Maureen Sier, Director of Interfaith Scotland
- Joseph Sikora, Catholic Bishop’s Committee for Inter-Religious Dialogue
- The Rev Mark Slaney, Chair of the Methodist Church in Scotland
- Linsay Taylor, Chair of Interfaith Scotland and member of the Muslim Community in Scotland
- Srihari Vallabhajousula, Hindu Temple of Scotland, Rutherglen
- Revd Paul Whittle, Moderator, the United Reformed Church, National Synod of Scotland
- Zangpo, Samye Ling Tibetan Buddhist Community
You can find more information about Challenge Poverty events and resources online at the Poverty Alliance website.