(In Gloucester)  “Public services like libraries were targeted for closure in mostly the poorest of communities. The library had been around nearly as long as this fifties-built social housing estate (Matson) and was one of the few facilities available to residents.  Old people who had once taken their children there  turned up one evening as did teenagers, young families, local councillors, and a former MP. Among these people, as we gathered round a six-foot wooden cross, most had little or no connection with organised religion. We had attached books to the cross as a sign of the way the county council were crucifying public service – scapegoating vulnerable services at the altar of an unjust system. Suddenly the Jesus-story was relevant to everyone.
People turned up with clinking bags full of candles in jars that spread out around the cross; a pool of defiant lights. Then we named the powers and their injustice and sang together our own version of a negro spiritual: “Were  you there  when they crucified our library?”  Speeches and stillness followed. The headlines that shamed the powerful and the broken system they represent came the next day.
… the library is not yet safe but the council have been forced into a rethink. Perhaps more importantly, an act of resistance, lamentation, and community-building has taken place that names and exposes both the powers and the sapegoating mechanism they rely on.”

Keith Hebden “Seeking Justice. The Radical Compassion of Jesus” Circle Books (2013)


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