Commitment for Life
The Cause for the Month in October is our regular ‘Commitment For Life’ offering. Until 1992, this was called the ‘1% Appeal’ which asked local congregations to give a penny in the pound towards development work.
What is Commitment for Life?
Commitment for Life is the URC’s global justice programme.
What do we do?
Commitment for Life helps local congregations to walk the way of Jesus. Christ overturned many things that caused suffering: things like hunger, sickness, poverty and debtors’ prisons. We see how Jesus was “moved by compassion” (Matthew 14:14, Matthew 20:1-16).
Like Jesus, we also want to show compassion and work for justice. Our hero partners are Christian Aid and Global Justice Now. Together, we show the love of Jesus in practical ways. We focus on things like poverty, injustice, the effects of climate disruption.
For example, Global Justice Now wants everyone, especially the very wealthy, to pay their fair share of tax. So, we call on our government to make just laws. Also, Christian Aid helps children, women and farmers who face climate disruption. We help them by walking the way of Jesus.
What can we do?
We can do three things.
- 1. We can learn more about the problems facing the poorest people. We listen to the stories told by our partners and learn about the issues.
- 2. We can pr You can use the prayers we provide or your own. Ask God to send the Holy Spirit to bring about justice. (See the end of this article)
- 3. We can act by working for justice. We can use our voices and write to our MP’s We can join in the campaigns hosted by Christian Aid and Global Justice Now. We can speak up at school, work, in church and online. We can share our gifts and money. Your gifts will support the people in our partner region Learn more by going to www.bit.ly/URCFL.
Ipswich Road has chosen Zimbabwe as its area of interest of the four areas of the world Commitment for Life supports through Christian Aid and Global Justice.
Below is a recent article on one project in Zimbabwe that has been supported by Commitment for Life.
Business skills to overcome poverty
In Mutoko Ward in Zimbabwe women farmers struggle to access finance to help them improve their income and businesses. This means it’s very difficult to be resilient to the challenges they face such as hyperinflation, unpredictable dry spells, economic crisis and Covid-19.
A group of people in Tafunga was offered the chance to participate in training through a project aiming to build resilience. Initially, people were sceptical. ‘At the beginning of the training, we did not notice the value in it, however, we started receiving training about internal savings and lending (ISALs), farming as a business, growing small grains and rearing small livestock,’ says Longina Chimbadzo.
The group has maximised the potential of their land through planning crop planting, dealing with pests early, and using savings to invest in small livestock. In 2018 the group formed a savings group of nine women and one man. They started with strong principles of book-keeping and governance.
The savings group and additional cash transfers that boost their monthly contributions have helped the community through the challenges of drought, inflation and Covid-19, which have come their way in the last year.
Using money from the savings and loans, the group has invested in kitchen utensils for every member, goats to rear and pass on kids to other members, and bakery and confection training. With this training and additional income they are now providing bread to sell in the surrounding areas.
The group also supports local young people who borrowed money to start an income-generating project growing beans, which has been a success.
The women have seen a change in their standing in the community. ‘Before, men did not want to hear us speak – three years ago we would only hear from them but now things have changed,’ said Josephine Kagoro, the group’s Chairperson. Women and men have been making decisions together about planting crops and spending money.
At a community level, having more income has meant that more girls are able to finish school. Josephine also mentioned that last year all the girls at Kaunye secondary school managed to finish Form 4. They hope that by keeping girls in school it will improve their future and reduce child marriage. Training and investment have given this community opportunities for the future.
Below are small selection of the prayer points that Commitment for Life have provided on a recent PowerPoint presentation :-
- Pray for the success of the savings and lending group, to help the Tafungawomen set up farming businesses.
- Thank God that the women have seen a change in their standing in the community by men and now make decisions together about planting crops and spending money.
- Pray for protection for Christian Aid’s partners in the four Regions that we support in Bangladesh, Central America, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Zimbabwe.
- Pray for wisdom and guidance as Christian Aid seeks to confront the climate emergency and its call upon the UK Government, to effect change as it hosts crucial UN Climate talks, COP26
If you would like to find out more about Commitment for Life, please go to the Commitment for Life website page, from which the general information above is extracted.