He came to Nazareth where he had been reared. As he always did on the Sabbath, he went to the meeting place. When he stood up to read, he was handed the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. Unrolling the scroll, he found the place where it was written,
God’s Spirit is on me;
he’s chosen me to preach the Message of good news to
Sent me to announce pardon to prisoners and
recovery of sight to the blind,
To set the burdened and battered free,
to announce, “This is God’s year to act!”
He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the assistant, and sat down. Every eye in the place was on him, intent. Then he started in, “You’ve just heard Scripture make history. It came true just now in this place.”
Today marks the start of Anti-Poverty Week, and I’ll be focussing on this vital issue by highlighting issues related to Poverty all week. It is with a sad heart that in this age of great prosperity, that this needs to be done, and I pray that the governments of the world can work to help all those who find themselves living in Poverty.
Poverty in Australia
Wikipedia, that illustrious source, reports that poverty in Australia is the Highest amongst the World’s developed nations. True or not, it is an issue full of complexities and political arguments. The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) defines poverty as “a relative concept used to describe the people in a society that cannot participate in the activities that most people take for granted.” It goes on with an example of while many Australians will juggle bills, people living in poverty juggle much more difficult choices, such as skipping a meal to pay for a child’s textbooks.
The Causes of poverty in Australia are many and diverse. Some live in poverty, yet are working, trying to support a family on the minimum wage. Low levels of education make it difficult to get a job that earns more. In 2004, 97.5 of the 236,000 new jobs created eventually went to people with skills and qualifications such as a university degree, TAFE diploma, or equivalent work experience. Housing again can send people into poverty. Rent prices in Major cities have increased so much that there is no longer any “affordable” housing in the Perth Metropolitan area. How this affects people close to poverty is that they are either spending a large amount of their income on housing, are forced to find housing farther away from where the work is (and then having to spend more on transport), or are forced into homelessness, which then makes it very difficult to secure a job.
So today, spend some time in prayer for those in Australia who are struggling below the poverty line. Take a trip over to the Anti-Poverty week website and read some of the resources they have there.
Each day this week, I’m going to focus on an organisation who works with those in poverty. I don’t have time to highlight all of them, but the idea is that I can highlight a few organisations in which (if you feel so inclined) you might wish to donate to help them in their very worthy work.
Today, I’ve chosen to open with Anglicare. Anglicare Australia is the peak body of a national network of Anglican care agencies serving disadvantaged Australians and their communities. In 2007-08 Anglicare agencies served over 512,340 clients in rural, remote, regional and urban communities using the services of 12,000 staff and 21,000 volunteers and spending over $624 million. Their agencies run community and emergency housing for homeless people, but also run youth programs, elderly care, financial counselling, and drug and alcohol rehabilitation.