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Join your local credit union, Archbishop and bishops urge

18 October 2013


Up and running: the Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Revd Christopher Foster, joins his local credit union, on Thursday 

Up and running: the Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Revd Christopher Foster, joins his local credit union, on Thursday 

THE ledgers of the country's credit unions enjoyed a boost this week, as dioceses and bishops deposited money, backing up warm words.

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 our society."

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 financial education.

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/

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