by Martin Newland A SEVERE financial crisis in the Archdiocese of Westminster has resulted in a 20 per cent cut in funding of its Social and Pastoral Action team which attempts to fight the effects of marginalisation due to homelessness, racial inequality, debt crisis and unemployment.
SPA's annual report, to be formally presented tomorrow at an open day at Campion House. Middlesex, gives an account of last year's activities in the five key pastoral areas of Westminster in fields ranging from home insulation projects for the aged to diocesan employment schemes. It warns, however, that "we are so thinly spread in the pastoral areas and in the specialist posts that to cut staff would be to withdraw services".
Despite fundraising, says the report, SPA has not been able to find replacements for key workers in the north and west of the diocese. "Workers can just keep the flame alive but we are approaching a crisis point when appointments must be made or very far reaching decisions about the nature of our work . . . must be faced", it adds.
The report outlines some of its successes, such as the attracting of considerable grant aid for diocesan unemployment schemes from London Boroughs, and also states its plans for the future for instance concerning a renewed caring and befriending policy for dealing with the growing AIDS problem in London.
SPA's presentation of the report will coincide with a day's examination of aspects of marginalisation due to "the crisis in the Welfare State", and Fr Michael Campbell-Johnston, recently elected Provincial of the British Province of the Society of Jesus, will be delivering a key note address on the challenge to the Church posed by this problem.