Wednesday 16 April 2014

York and food banks

York and food banks

In York for interviews and had the chance to go to choral evensong at York Minster: an exceptional choir in a gorgeous building. We prayed for the Middlesborough Food Bank, which was opportune given today's publicity on Food Banks generally.

Religious leaders have called on the government to take action to tackle a "national crisis" of rising hunger and food poverty, as the latest figures suggest more than a million Britons have been helped by food banks in the past year. More than 40 Anglican bishops and 600 church leaders have signed a letter, calling on David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband to tackle the causes of food poverty, including low wages, rising food prices and an inadequate welfare benefit safety net.

They said the period running up to Easter had been a time of "sorrowful and deep reflection" for people of all faiths on what it calls the terrible rise in hunger in Britain, and urged society to "begin rising to the challenge of this national crisis".

It is time the Government took a more proactive stance on this issue, instead of the classic attack the messenger rather than evaluate the message. I’ve written before about the Department for Work and Pensions’ relationship with charities like the Trussell Trust

I was staying overnight at the "Guy Fawkes Inn" just next to the Minster. It’s the actual birthplace of Guy Fawkes in 1570. As I was born on Guy Fawkes day I was rather keen to stop there; a rather quirky place it has to be said but so much more fun than the usual hotel chains.

And there was a rather Roman Catholic theme to the evening as I went past the small shrine to St Margaret Clitherow, who, in 1586, was crushed to death under a door for hiding Priests during the protestant persecutions of the 16th century. She was canonised in 1970 and her house (it was a butchers shop in the Shambles) is now a rather lovely and quiet place of reflection away from the tourist throng outside.

I had dinner with an old friend, the actual "Vicar of Dibley" as was. The Revd Malcom Macnaughton is currently the Chief of Staff to the Archbishop of York but was previously the parish priest in the village where they filmed Dibley (in the Hambleden Valley). He tells me one day he emerged from the vicarage to see Dawn French who shouted "imposter" at him! It’s amusing to note that the Vicar of Charlbury, shortly to become Archdeacon of Dorchester, is Dawn's sister.

So all in all a rather interesting day.

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