Friday, 30 November 2012
VP - A launch and a celebration
Action for Children invited me to the official launch of the Junior ISA.This scheme has been jointly promoted by AfC, Barnardo's and Sharefound, together persuading government to give £16.7m to close a loophole created when the Child Trust Funds ceased to receive state funding in 2010. This left young people, leaving the safety of the care system at 18, very vulnerable. e.g. how to find a deposit for a rented flat? Govt is providing £200 for each young person in care to set up individual ISAs; and the charities are now asking all of us to add what we can to these individual pots in order to give youngsters, such as the two who spoke so movingly on Wednesday at the launch, a chance to succeed. This is surely something that churches might like to focus on when charitable donations are discussed in church councils. Straight from there, across the Thames to Lambeth Palace to take part in Evensong and a special reception for leaders of Churches in England and other ecumenical partners to mark Archbishop Rowan's ten years as Primate. The Archbishop's short address centred on hearing God in the quiet places, and the importance of listening carefully to each other in ecumenical circles; loud noise is not usually God's way of communicating. Somewhat ironically, Evensong was followed by a rather noisy reception, which included a gift, in the form of an icon, from Churches Together in England. The varied conversations that I was involved in included bishops and women, the ecumenical dimension to future Methodist training, how to offer appropriate spiritual support to Christian financiers involved in the City of London, and the costs involved in running institutional Churches of all denominations. It's always good to hear and share different perspectives amongst friends.