Joel Edwards to challenge Labour Party on poverty

A special church service with a focus on poverty will be taking place at the start of the Labour Party's annual conference.

Joel Edwards, leader of the Micah Challenge anti-poverty movement, will challenge Labour MPs and conference delegates to commit to ending poverty.

The Christian movement is mobilising the church worldwide to hold governments accountable to the Millennium Development Goals to eradicate extreme poverty by 2015.

Edwards will tell the Labour Conference delegates about The Jesus Agenda, which examines Jesus' mission statement and calls upon Christians to become advocates of the poor and vulnerable.

The service takes place at St Ann's church, Manchester, on 30 September and is being organised by the Christian Socialist Movement.

It is a traditional and well-attended gathering point for Christians from all around the country to be a prophetic voice and pray for the Labour Party.

The service will be followed at 12pm by CSM's conference reception, which this year is in conjunction with St Ann's Real Ale Festival.

CSM Director Andy Flannagan said: "The Labour Party's annual church service is always a great way to begin the Party's Annual Conference.

"Labour conference delegates and members of local congregations focus on applying what it means to follow Jesus in politics.

"CSM is active through Conference week as we seek to apply Christian values to some of the key issues of today."