Taking a stand to eradicate poverty

Published October 16, 2009

The congregation of St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Edmonton stands up against the injustice of poverty.

Parishioners at St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Edmonton will be on their feet during this Sunday’s service. Participating for the third year in the “Stand Up, Take Action to End Poverty” event, they are part of a grass-roots global movement to push world leaders to live up to their commitments to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, which included eradicating extreme poverty.

Last year, the campaign recorded 116 million people participating, which broke a Guinness world record for the largest mobilization around a single cause, and organizers are hoping to have significantly more people involved this year in events held around the world from Oct. 16 to 18.

Inspired by a study of Micah 6:8, “Do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with your God,” the youth at St. Paul’s got the congregation involved in this campaign, youth pastor Amy Croy said.

Last year, St. Paul’s held a “Justice Sunday.” Croy explained that during the church service the children and youth began to make noise and were then joined by the adult members of the congregation. They read the words of the former primate of Southern Africa Desmond Tutu: ‘If everyone who wants to see an end to poverty, hunger and suffering speaks out then the noise will be deafening. Politicians will have to listen.'” Then the youth invited the congregation to stand while they read the pledge to end poverty, joining with the record-breaking crowd.

This year, the youth also planned to make presentations about the campaign in their schools and to tell Sunday school classes about the Millennium Development Goals.

St. Paul’s parishioners have also been taking a hands-on approach to social justice. Young and old have worked in a local soup kitchen, on letter-writing campaigns, and on a parish sponsorship project that helps children in Kenya go to school. Croy said that every three years they do an international mission. They travelled to Guatemala to build latrines in a remote village. And in Brazil, they worked on some children’s programs and youth work. The congregation has also been raising money to build a four-plex home for families there. “The youth started it, but we’re sending a team from the church to go back and help with the build.”


  • Leigh Anne Williams

    Leigh Anne Williams joined the Anglican Journal in 2008 as a part-time staff writer. She also works as the Canadian correspondent for Publishers Weekly, a New York-based trade magazine for the book publishing. Prior to this, Williams worked as a reporter for the Canadian bureau of TIME Magazine, news editor of Quill & Quire, and a copy editor at The Halifax Herald, The Globe and Mail and The Bay Street Bull.

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