London's Catholic dioceses consider their response to emergencies

 More than 50 clergy, Religious and lay chaplains from the Dioceses of Westminster, Southwark and Brentwood, attended a major conference on the Catholic Church's response to emergencies. Organised by the Westminster Diocesan Department for Pastoral Affairs, the conference was underpinned by a theology of emergency planning by Jim McManus (Deputy Director for Public Health in Barking and Dagenham and member of Catholic Bishops Conference Healthcare Reference Group), based on Catholic Social Teaching and insights from the Holy Father's Encyclical "Deus Caritas Est." The Police and Fire services provided practical examples of how Clergy and their teams might be involved. Two Emergency Planning Officers showed what is happening locally and how churches are needed for a variety of reasons. The Conference looked at how a local model of ecumenically organized coordination of faith responders (Islington) could be a possible way of working, especially in moving towards a multi-faith level of coordinated response teams. The Conference also looked at the possibility of a flu pandemic and what affect this might have and the questions we need to consider. Questions on the latest developments of an official Pan-London Multi-Faith Emergency Plan being drafted by the London Resilience Team assisted by the Faith Sector Working Group at the Government Office for London were answered by Edmund Adamus (Director for Pastoral Affairs in Westminster Diocese and Chair of the Faith Sector Working Group) Source: Diocese of Westminster

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