Sue Wilson of the Office for Systematic Justice, Federation of Sisters of St. Joseph of Canada, says Anglicans need a strategy to eliminate poverty.
Poverty has an outside voice and an inside voice.
Sue Wilson of the Office for Systematic Justice, Federation of Sisters of St. Joseph of Canada, talked about the two voices last month in Kingston, Ont.
She was speaking to about 60 people from the Anglican diocese of Ontario and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kingston. They had gathered for a workshop organized by their joint justice and peace commission to discuss “Beyond the Food Bank,” a strategy to eliminate poverty.
Ms. Wilson said the outside voice people hear comes from everyday assumptions about power and getting ahead. “We create a world of winners and losers,” she said. “We hardly blink at the notion of maximizing profits or about shopping where you can get the best bargain.”
On the inside, there is another voice, she said. It is the voice of “an indwelling God…who chooses to work in and through us,” she said.
If we listen, she added, we’ll “take the plunge” and do much more than provide emergency food relief.
Elaine Power, a Queen’s University sociologist, told the group that, although food banks are necessary, their help is limited. “Charity cannot promote human dignity,” she said. “Food banks are not the answer.”
She added we are living in a divided society where some people get to go to the grocery store and others have to scrounge for food. Those “others” are not full citizens, Ms. Power said.
“Join a group of like-minded people,” she urged, “even if it’s only two people. Work together. Vote for parties that talk about poverty, not tax cuts. Politicians respond to pressure.”
Francie Healey is editor of Dialogue, the newspaper of the diocese of Ontario.