THE ledgers of the country's credit unions enjoyed a boost this
week, as dioceses and bishops deposited money, backing up warm
In a personal letter that is being sent out to 8000 members of
the clergy in mid-November, the Archbishop of Canterbury urges them
to support their local credit union: "Our faith in Christ calls us
to love the poor and vulnerable with our actions. That is why the
Church must be actively involved in supporting the development of
real lending alternatives, such as credit unions."
More than 40 bishops are taking up the call immediately, and at
least 11 of them planned to mark International Credit Union Day
yesterday by opening accounts.
The Bishop of Southwell & Nottingham, the Rt Revd Paul
Butler, was scheduled to visit Nottingham Credit Union to pay in a
cheque for £5000. He was also planning to deposit another £5000 in
a savings account at 2 Shires Credit Union in Worksop.
The Bishop of Dover, the Rt Revd Trevor Willmott, said that he
was "delighted to become a member of Kent Savers Credit Union. . .
I would also urge local employers to help their staff access the
services of a credit union by helping people to pay in through
payroll deduction. This is the most valuable way we can protect
people from the high-cost lenders that have become so prevalent in
In the diocese of Oxford, the Bishops of Oxford, Dorchester, and
Buckingham all joined the Oxford Credit Union. One of its members,
Alan Fowler, said that the union had helped him to get a job:
"There was no way I could afford my car tax or insurance on
benefits, and I needed my car for a course I was doing and to look
for jobs. The credit union helped me get a job that I've been in
for two years now."
On Saturday, Jubilee+, a charity originally set up by the
Newfrontiers churches in the UK, called for a focus on preventing
debt from accumulating in the first place. It has produced a
report, based on a survey of more than 120 church-goers; this found
that most of those who were asked about offering money advice were
responding to crises, but that there was "a great desire to spend a
greater proportion of time on preventative actions", such as
Archbishop Welby has opened a new account this week on the
photo-sharing website Instagram. In his first message, he calls for
support for credit unions: http://instagram.com/p/fhuLWztmlr/