Our Church’s firm commitment to social justice is long-standing, ingrained and widespread.
Insights is highlighting the work of the Social Justice Forum within the Uniting Church in Australia, Synod of NSW and the ACT. In the last of five articles, we let you know how the Forum can help you stay updated about social justice issues.
Part of the Forum’s vision is to be the conduit for information on social-justice issues and concerns around the Synod. To bring this vision to life, members of our Church need to celebrate the work they do, as well as connecting people with the work of the Forum, and other groups within the Church. In this way, our Church’s resources and efforts are put to best use.
“One of the challenges for 2015 is how we engage and connect with people,” says Jon.
“We’re doing a lot of activities that many aren’t aware of, and there are parts of Church that are involved with social-justice initiatives that aren’t being shared as well as they could be. This means that we miss out on the encouragement of knowing what’s happening.”
Claerwen Little is chair of the Forum, which she believes is “just one way the Uniting Church in the NSW and ACT Synod speaks out on issues. But we hope to provide leadership and encouragement for Congregations, Presbyteries and other Uniting Church groups, to speak and act about the issues that concern them.”
“Communication plays a vital role in making this happen. In this way we can address a wide range of concerns that call for attention,” says Claerwen, who also is Director of UnitingCare Children, Young People and Families.
In response to the growing need to become more effective communicators, the Forum intends to share what it is doing via a Social Justice Forum Facebook page, and the Synod website. It’s also looking at ways to better promote its activities through Insights and other communication channels.
“We need to do a better job of informing each other about the many good initiatives in social justice and social concern that are happening in other places across the Synod,” says Claerwen. “I believe that together we can make change happen.”
- Click here to read about Giving Hope to Asylum Seekers
- Click here to read about The Battle for Affordable Housing
Where to from here?
We are a Church that is not afraid to be bold, courageous, and speak out on issues of injustice. Driven by our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, our commitment to justice is strong and woven right through the heart of who we are. It is demonstrated every day through our active engagement on so many issues.
“Telling stories is extremely important,” explains Claerwen. “We need to tell stories that emphasise what we have in common. We also have to demonstrate we are willing to be part of the solution ourselves.
“Gone are the days when we can just call on government to fix things. Issues are complex and we all need to make a contribution. When we put our money, time, passion and energy where our mouth is [and] when we work with other people of goodwill, that creates a positive momentum for change that is hard to ignore.”
Rev. Park states: “We will continue to work for a more compassionate response to asylum seekers and refugees. Thankfully, we are now seeing more children released from detention but there are other aspects of asylum-seeker policy that remain very troubling. Because of our DNA, which is very open and cooperative and willing to take risks, I think we need to do more in social justice.”
Gabe smiles as she adds: “People in the Church are just so ready and willing to support social justice in whatever way they can. It never ceases to amaze me how incredibly generous members of the Uniting Church are.”