Ministers gathered at Presbyteral Synod didn’t move a muscle yesterday to challenge the regime of sanctions applied to those receiving benefit payments. Synod was addressed by Paul Morrison of the Joint Public Issues Team (JPIT) which represents the Methodist Church on issues of social justice. Santions involve benefit payments being stopped for anywhere from one month to three years. Paul showed how the sanctions regime disproportionately affects young people, homeless people, young people leaving care, single parents and those with long term illness and mental health problems. Not surprisingly, receiving a sanction leaves people in a very vulnerable state. The Methodist Church is joining others in asking for a review of the sanctions regime.
In response, ministers took up the Mannequin Challenge, the latest craze hitting the internet. They held stationary poses to show them hearing about the problem, praying about it, sharing bread and wine and then going outside the church to protest against the injustice of the system. The video can be found here and will be linked to press releases. Please support the JPIT #RethinkSanctions campaign by sharing the video as widely as possible on social media. More information on the issue, with suggestions on how you can take action, is here.
A press release that ministers can use to share this video and the issue of Benefit Sanctions can be found here Draft Press Release.