MOVING a private member's motion, the
Archdeacon of Llandaff, the Ven. Peggy Jackson,
explained that the two-clause motion "came alive" at the Penarth
and Barry deanery conference (synod) after "somebody got up and
said he couldn't possibly support the motion," and said that "If
the Church doesn't speak out to a society that has created the need
for foodbanks and the situations of food poverty that foodbanks are
addressing, then we are falling short of our task as church."
She spoke of the opening ceremony of a new foodbank in Barry,
which had been attended by representatives of the Citizens Advice
Bureau, and the Credit Union. "Their offices are at the far end of
the main street, about 300 yards from where this new foodbank
distribution centre was being opened," the Archdeacon said. "It was
pointed out that these three organisations often have to work
together to pick up the pieces of the results of our polarised
She concluded her speech by quoting Hélder Câmara: "When I give
food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why they are
hungry, they call me a communist." She added: "I hope the parishes
of the Church in Wales in the next few months will be labelled as
Carol Cobert JP (Llandaff), who was seconding
the motion, said: "We as a nation are failing to meet the very
basic needs of our citizens. Foodbanks represent a failing welfare
system if they become an established and standardised response in
how the family feeds its members."
Geraint Hopkins (Cytûn) said that society was
"regressing from collective solutions to these national and
community problems, back to a Victorian idea of charity".
The Revd Sally Thomas (United Reformed Church)
suggested that the creation of a "Welsh expression" of the Joint
Public Issues Team, which represents the Methodist, Baptist, and
United Reformed Churches on issues of public policy. She said that
a Welsh version of the body should be more ecumenical than the
existing national body.
Dean Aaron Roberts (co-opted) said: "People
coming to foodbanks are guests coming to a meal." He hoped that
"they will eventually come to the feast of bread and wine."
"The Trussell Trust is not the only organisation that runs
foodbanks in our country", the Revd David
Brownridge (Bangor) said. "In our diocese, there is only
one Trussell Trust foodbank, and there are three - perhaps four -
independent foodbanks. The downside of this is that all our figures
are completely hidden, and are not made public."
The Assistant Bishop of Llandaff, the Rt Revd
David Wilbourne, is the son of a priest, and remembers that life
was difficult when his father was in training.
Working as chaplain to the Archbishop of York, he read his
father's file, and saw that there had been a possibility of
doubling his father's grant; but this had been opposed by an
archdeacon who had written the comment: "No. A little holy poverty
will be good for them."
Bishop Wilbourne said: "Poverty is not holy, but wholly wrong.
It should be eradicated like smallpox." He said that the Church
should take a lead by ensuring that all its employees were paid a
The motion was carried nem. con. with one
That the Governing Body:
(i) applaud the work of the foodbank organisation in and for
communities across Wales;
(ii) urge all parishes to develop further their active
support of their local foodbanks;
(iii) deplore the social and economic conditions which have
made foodbanks a necessity; and
(iv) urge all Church members to work for a society in which
all people have an income sufficient to meet their needs.