On Wednesday 16th October from 10am to 10pm Christian Aid and St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast, are opening the doors of Belfast Cathedral to create an interactive prayer space in the cathedral themed around the issue ‘Roots of Poverty’.
Inside a global dome, and with interactive prayer stations, information boards, creative activities and a pilgrimage prayer walk through the cathedral building, visitors to the event will have the opportunity to pray, learn and think about some of the root causes of global poverty including gender inequality, conflict, climate change and poor governance.
The space within the cathedral is open to those working in the city or passing by, and to church, school and youth groups from 10am-10pm in St Anne’s Cathedral. This is also part of the inaugural One World Festival NI in Belfast.
Christian Aid have designed an interactive prayer space based on the style of a 24/7 prayer room with various creative ways to inspire people to pray for various global issues. Christian Aid focuses on tackling root causes of poverty as well as the symptoms. The prayer space will explore four different issues that exacerbate and entrench extreme poverty worldwide. The four themes are conflict, climate change, gender inequality and poor governance.
Conflict – many of the poorest countries in the world are those currently experiencing conflict or recovering from the impact of conflict. Violence can set back years of development progress and can prevent communities from lifting themselves from poverty. Countries can spend decades rebuilding and recovering from the damage done as a result of violence and conflict.
Climate Change – we know that those countries who have contributed least to the causes of climate change are on the frontline in terms of it’s most negative impacts. Drought, flooding, typhoons and sea level rise are affecting some of the poorest communities in places like Bangladesh, Bolivia, Kenya and the Philippines.
Gender Inequality – women disproportionately bear the burden of poverty. They have fewer ways to cope during crises and as they are often the main carers for children and family they often place their needs last. They can have more limited options for work, forcing them into exploitative labour and their access to education can be curtailed. Christian Aid believes that gender justice is about achieving equality and fairness between women and men.
Poor governance – Christian Aid doesn’t believe in giving hand-out, but in empowering people to become self-sufficient. When those in government and leadership positions are accountable to the people they serve and provide sufficient funding for essential services such as education and healthcare everyone can flourish.
Visitors to the Christian Aid prayer space can spend time learning more about these four root causes of poverty and commit them to God in prayer as they enjoy the reflective spiritual surrounding of Belfast Cathedral.