The Right Reverend John Arnold, Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster, has praised the good work of the Volunteer Missions Movement (VMM) at a reception at the House of Lords.
Bishop John spoke of his childhood memories when, at his convent primary school, the pupils were encouraged to give money “to the missions” which he then understood as providing food and medicines for the poorest people of Africa. While food and medicines are still important during times of humanitarian crisis, the understanding of the “missions” is much changed and understood as meaning “development”. People are no longer waiting for handouts alone. They ask for the possibility to demonstrate their own dignity and to develop their own sustainable livelihoods. He moved on to say that now the work of the VMM goes much further than just giving money to the needy – it is about fulfilling the potential of people. This theme of development, both professional and personal, was a key message conveyed by the Bishop and his praise for the VMM centred on this.
He praised the ‘fantastic work’ of the VMM in countries where their constitutions speak of rights but those rights are not upheld, and where the poorest of people want to realise their own potential and become world citizens in the twenty-first century.
The Volunteer Mission Movement began working in 1969 in Uganda. Since then VMM has worked in nearly 40 countries, with the principle that authentic human development must foster the development of each person and of the whole person. Today VMM remains faithful to the challenges of putting those values into action.