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News from Manna Gum

The main news from Manna Gum is that we are still here! The fact that this edition of Manna Matters is two months later than intended is an indication that a lot of good things have been happening, however, we still have more to do than we can manage. Below are the headlines of what has been happening, with news in more detail on p.2.

The Mekong Photo Exhibition which showed in Canberra and Melbourne in February and March, attracted good press coverage and was accompanied by a very constructive dialogue with the Government on its aid program to the Mekong region.

Along with the photo exhibition, Manna Gum and Oxfam released a new publication, Preserving Plenty - see back page.

We have just concluded an eight-week Bible study series on the Household Covenant, which was held at Urban Seed’s urban classroom in the city - see p.2.

Manna Gum and TEAR will be running a live-in exposure week in September - see p.3 for details.

 

Aid & Development

Our main piece of work at the moment is a research project (funded by Oxfam) examining the use of international financial institutions, such as the World Bank, to deliver Australian aid. In 2008 the World Bank was easily the single largest recipient of Australian aid money, receiving almost $400 million, followed by PNG. There are many voices coming from developing countries who are claiming that the World Bank is actually part of the problem, but in Australia we have not given much attention to how our aid is spent. This project aims to shed some more light on just how and how much aid is spent through these institutions, and what this might mean for the impact of aid.

 

Household Covenant Bible Study

Over eight weeks we met on Tuesday nights to examine each of the seven areas of the Household Covenant - work & leisure, consumption, environment, giving, savings & investment, debt, and the poor - plus an introductory night thinking about seeing the world Biblically. We had a solid and regular group of 8-12 people who braved the cold, which made for good disucussions. Nevertheless, we found that even giving a whole night to each issue there was always still so much more we would have liked to talk about. This is one of the ongoing challenges as we continue to think about how to resource the Covenant as a model for exploring Christian alternatives. How do we find the time and the spaces to conduct the long and deep conversations it inevitably provokes?

 

Speaking

At the Surrender:10 (March) and Soul Survivor (April) conferences Jonathan presented workshops on “A New Way of Living: Why the way we make money and spend money is central to the message, mission and hope of the gospel”. We are encouraged by the growing interest in these issues in various Christian circles.

At Seeds Bendigo (April) Jonathan gave a talk on “God’s Economy: What is it, where is it and how does it work?”. This was probably an over-ambitious subject for one night ...

 

The Robin Hood Tax

Manna Gum has added its support to the Robin Hood Tax Campaign (see below). This campaign is promoting an idea that is basically an adaptation of the Tobin Tax, a great idea that has been around since the 1970s, but with a funky, new media campaigning edge (we’re not holding that against it ... yet).

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