This prayer “In a time of austerity” was first said outside the DWP Headquarters, Tothill Street, Westminster on 19th March 2015, at a demonstration called by UNITE Community.
This prayer "In a time of austerity" was first said outside the DWP Headquarters, Tothill Street, Westminster on 19th March 2015, at a demonstration called by UNITE Community, of which I am a member, We were with the relatives of people who had died after their income was stopped by a jobcentre with sanction.
The prayer has now been published by The Iona Community, of which I am an associate, in “In the gift of this new day” Neil Paynter. ISBN 978-1-84952-447-6.
The first paragraph draws on the work of Psychologists Against Austerity who have listened to low income people sanctioned and in debt. It all draws on my own work with people struggling with unmanageable debt imposed by the State over the last 30 years.
IN A TIME OF AUSTERITY
We remember all who have died while their income was sanctioned,
who were overcome by any feelings of humiliation or shame,
by fear or distrust, insecurity or loneliness;
or by a sense of being trapped and powerless
under the abuses of power by the State
in a time of austerity.
In a time of austerity we pray,
in solidarity with the 1000s of UK citizens currently suffering sanctions,
which are imposed with the maximum use of the media
to blame decent people for their own unemployment and poverty;
for the millions of UK citizens who are suffering under unmanageable debts due to high rents, the council tax, the caps and cuts in social security
imposed by Parliament, made worse by sanctions.
We pray too for those in power, and seeking power, that they may find;
The courage to work for and implement social and economic justice,
The will to build a well-being state on the ashes of the welfare state
in which rich and poor and Parliament are in solidarity with each other.
The policies to ensure that no one will have to choose between
heating or eating,
the rent or the streets,
life or death
due to the unjust enforcement of debts
against inadequate incomes,
or no incomes at all,
due to a sanction.
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Rev Paul Nicolson