New resources to make tax justice part of church worship
It may not be the most obvious connection in the world, but Christian Aid is launching new resources to help Christians think about tax justice during church worship.
The resources include prayers, sermon notes and small group studies, and are available from the Christian Aid website.
Tax evasion has been in the headlines lately, with the US and European Union changing laws recently to make the financial dealings of multinational corporations less secretive and more transparent.
Christian Aid said tax dodging was costing poor countries around $160 billion a year, more than they receive in aid.
Claire Aston, Church Resources Manager at Christian Aid, said: "God calls us to turn the present unjust world upside down so that His kingdom may come.
"These new tax justice worship resources are designed to help congregations get a deeper understanding of financial secrecy, which harms the world's poor and stops developing countries pay for essential services like schools and hospitals.
"We want churches to recognise that the hard questions Jesus asked about taxation are just as relevant to us today. Using Matthew 22 as a starting point for discussion, small groups can reflect on their own experience of taxation and consider our competing choices and values.
"It is our hope that churches across Britain and Ireland will pray together for greater transparency and accountability in secretive companies, as well as taking our latest campaign action."
The resources feature the Reverend Jacob Wandusim, District Minister for Tamale, who works for Christian Aid partner the Northern Presbyterian Church in Ghana.
He said churches and Christians had a responsibility to pay their taxes for the benefit of the wider community.
"Government and societies institute taxes so that the contributions that they get from taxes will be used for the larger interests of the community. As members of the church, we are also citizens of the country we belong to and so we should be contributing towards the general welfare of everybody," he said.
"That is why we need, as a church, to ensure that we pay our property rates, basic rates, our income taxes and, as individuals, the church taxes. In the church we pay something we call tithes. They show that we are prepared to share whatever we have with others because Christ has shared his life with us."