It was announced a couple of days ago that Justin Welby has become the first patron of the Christian debt counselling agency, Christians Against Poverty (CAP). It’s been quite a year or so for the Archbishop. Whilst the Church has been doing its duty in speaking out on usury and economic injustices, the Church has also had to face some of its own skeletons in the closet. First there was the embarrassment of the Church of England’s investments in Wonga, a big pay day loan company. And secondly, there was the “Living Wage” hypocrisy.
But having said that, there have been good news stories for the Church. The Archbishop has set up the “To Your Credit” initiative, an organisation aimed at helping those in debt. Also, the Archbishop as well as the Church as a whole has reviewed its policies on these subjects, and has encouraged people to use credit unions.
The latest bit of good news is that Justin Welby is now the Patron of well know, and well loved Christians Against Poverty (CAP). CAP is a Christian Debt Counselling charity which helps get people out of debt. You can’t fault that, can you?
But what about my question?
What do Justin Welby, Christians Against Poverty, and Provident Financial all have in common?
Well, here’s the answer:
Justin Welby is the patron of Christians Against Poverty. Provident Financial (which is one of the major personal loans provider in the UK) give monetary support to Christians Against Poverty.
As good a charity as CAP is, I think that it’s categorically wrong for a debt counselling charity to be receiving money from an organisation that makes its profits from providing personal loans at high interest rates. An organisation that is, therefore, a means by which people can get into debt.
If you don’t believe the fact that Provident Financial and CAP are in bed together, then don’t just take my word for it.
Considering there is still a huge problem of financial poverty in the UK, I have found this instance to be an example of spiritual poverty in terms of the Church’s response to the financial suffering of many in our country. It is a massive danger for a charity aimed at eradicating debt to be so closely linked with one of the major sources for financial debt in the UK.
I only hope and pray that Archbishop Justin will bring attention to this matter and help to pave a better way forward for CAP to be financed.
What about you? Do you think that CAP should receive money from Provident Financial?
Dean is a Minister in the Anglican Church. Currently he is Curate in the parishes of Bedwas, Machen, Michaelston-y-Fedw and Rudry in South Wales. He was born and bred in Wales, is married to Megan, and has two dogs called Taliesin and Melyn, and two cats named Sinsir and Hâf. He graduated from Cardiff University with a BA Hons. in Theology & Religious Studies, and has studied for an MA in Theology, Ministry & Mission at Trinity College Bristol. He also holds a Cert.RSCM from the Royal School of Church Music. He loves playing music, walking, reading, blogging and horse riding as well as going to the cinema and theatre.
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