Our Money Makes Change programme manager Rosie Venner catches up with the newest member of our team – George Amadi – as he starts his role as Resource and Training Officer, leading on a new pilot project with Black Majority churches in Greater London.
Thanks to funding from The MB Reckitt Trust and The National Lottery Community Fund we’ve recently recruited a Resource and Training Officer to work alongside Black Majority churches in Greater London as part of our Money Makes Change programme. George Amadi, who is also a Senior Pastor at the GoodNews Church in London, will be developing new resources and training up Money Makes Change Champions to share learning and ideas for action with their congregations.
Black Majority churches have a rich history in the UK and include some of the fastest growing denominations. They are diverse in membership and tradition and have a strong commitment to social action. Black Christian communities have also been pioneers of ethical finance in the UK. At our JustMoney conference we heard the story of the founding of the Pentecostal Credit Union in 1980, born from a desire to address the financial inequalities and exclusion that Black communities and Black Majority churches were experiencing at the time.
Racial injustice is deeply rooted in today’s economy too, with Black households facing statistically lower levels of savings and assets, ethnicity pay gaps at work and higher barriers to accessing financial products.
The Many Voices pilot project will be exploring the issues of faith, finance and justice that Christians in Black Majority churches want to address. We hope the project will also start to ensure that the wider JustMoney Movement is informed and strengthened by more diverse voices.
Rosie: Hi George, welcome to the JustMoney Movement team! Could you tell us a little bit about your background and what drew you to this role?
George: I have a Pentecostal evangelical church background and I am originally from Nigeria. I have a passion for justice and while in the University I wrote an article on oil exploration in the Niger Delta and its negative impacts on host communities with culprits like Shell, Exxon Mobil, and others yet to be held fully accountable1. I also have a law background – I am a lawyer by training and, finally, I am a minister of the Gospel. I was drawn to the JustMoney Movement through the work you do. I was inspired when I discovered that the organisation is fighting for justice and equity. The themes of the organisation happen to match my passion and I’m happy to be part of this fight to bring justice to the otherwise downtrodden and oppressed.
Rosie: How do you connect your faith and your finances? What inspires you to explore the ethics of money?
George: Money is powerful and makes a lot of changes and differences in the world we live in today. To practically get anything done this day, you need money. Money is an influencer. People influence outcomes, decisions, and policies through their money and influence. Major donors to organisations eventually get to have a say in what the organisation says or does. So as Christians we must understand the power that money wields in our generation. Christians can also lobby and influence policies, by the way they invest or spend their money. We must learn not to be silent in the midst of oppression. We must collectively and individually show that we care, and that we believe in justice and equity by the way we spend and by the way we invest. The Bible says that faith without works is dead. So, believers must show their faith by the way they act – ethically.
Rosie: What are your hopes for the project?
George: By speaking out and by educating people, we hope that people will take practical steps to make lifestyle changes, and also help to spread the news to those who may not be currently aware of the result of their choices or actions. We also hope to raise Champions who will be excited to be part of this assignment, who will voluntarily take the campaign to the next level at their local churches, organisations, and clubs. We finally hope that the impact of this campaign will be long-lasting and go a long way to effect changes in policies and companies.
If you are interested in the Many Voices project or are involved in a Black Majority church in Greater London that would welcome a conversation with George, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Money Makes Change Programme Manager
Training and Resource Officer