Christians of all denominations are being urged to join in a national demonstration against the Coalition Government's cuts in public spending, and their disproportionate effect on poor and vulnerable people.
The 'March for the Alternative' on 26 March in London will bring together thousands of people to protest at the injustice of the cuts, and call for the UK's deficit to be tackled in a fairer way. Alongside other Christian churches and agencies, Church Action on Poverty is asking Christians to be a visible presence on the march, making it clear that churches are standing alongside the poorest people in Britain.
Christians will gather at 12:15 on the north side of St Martin in the Fields church on Trafalgar Square, and then join the March at an appropriate moment. The March will go through central London to finish with a rally in Hyde Park.
Church Action on Poverty Coordinator Niall Cooper commented: "It is becoming clearer every day that the Government's public spending cuts are falling unjustly on the poorest and most vulnerable people in society. As part of our campaign to Close the Gap between rich and poor, we'll be marching on the 26th to tell our politicians that there is another way - a fairer way. Before the March, we'll be attending a service of commemoration for Archbishop Óscar Romero at St Martin's church. We will gather inspiration from somebody whose stand with the poorest cost so much."
Other churches and networks who are mobilising Christians to join the March include the United Reformed Church, the Roman Catholic National Justice and Peace Network, the Student Christian Movement and Housing Justice.
Frank Kantor, the United Reformed Church's Secretary for Church and Society, said: "As Christians, I believe that one of our key prophetic tasks, in the context of the drastic austerity measures and policy reforms of the coalition government, is to stand in solidarity with those who are on the margins; the march will bring together more than 200,000 people from all over the UK and send a clear message to the government: There is an alternative to the cuts and it needs to be given urgent consideration. As members of Church Action on Poverty's Close the Gap campaign, the URC needs to be well represented, joining many thousands of other Christians in marching for a fairer way of dealing with the budget deficit."
Other Christian leaders have condemned the cuts recently - including the Bishop of Manchester, Revd Nigel McCulloch, who said: "When the announcements were made about cuts, I think everyone recognised that there had to be cuts. But whatever else the government cuts, it shouldn't cut compassion. My fear was and remains that it will be. The overall programme of cuts are really a very blunt instrument and in applying them there are bound to be some people who are very vulnerable who will be damaged... It is completely lacking in compassion."
Church Action on Poverty is a national ecumenical Christian social justice charity, For more information see: http://www.church-poverty.org.uk
Individuals and groups can Pledge to join the March by visiting http://bit.ly/marchforthealternative .