Social Justice and Advocacy
Social Justice and Advocacy
Jesus inaugurated his public ministry by echoing the words of the prophet Isaiah:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
Jesus’ connection of himself to Isaiah and the biblical call to justice tells us that this is an important indicator of what Jesus is about, and therefore, what we are to be about (Karen Stiller, The Responding Church Network, World Vision Canada).
As followers of Jesus, we believe we are called to live out both Jesus’ call to radical compassion – for example, through our weekday outreach ministry, the Lunch Program – and his call to radical justice.
There is an intimate connection between compassion and justice. It is, in many ways, a bottom-up approach. We start with changing lives, not policies. But when we do so, justice will naturally follow. As Jim Wallis once said, “You can’t just pull bodies out of the river and not send somebody upstream to see what or who is throwing them in”.
It starts with us. We act compassionately and seek justice in our own spheres of influence – starting in our lives, then within our families, congregations and communities. ‘Justice’ cannot be an “out there” concept; it must begin with our own lives, choices and sacrifices.
We believe we should start working for change on a larger, systemic level only when we can’t create the change ourselves. For example, we can feed, clothe and care for people who are marginalized in our community, but we can’t, on our own, address the inadequate social supports for the elderly or people who live with illness or disabilities.
The Church of the Redeemer’s Social Justice and Advocacy Working Group meets several times a year to discuss justice-related issues and ideas for action. For now, we have decided to focus primarily on:
To these ends, we’ve run educational and awareness-raising efforts within the parish, partnered with groups such as the Diocese of Toronto and the Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition, written to Members of Parliament, etc.
Cabinet Minister Glen Murray Visits Church of the Redeemer
In October 2010 a letter was sent to the Hon. Glen Murray, MPP (Toronto Centre) by the Redeemer participants in the 'Do The Math' challenge, and members of Redeemer's Justice and Advocacy Working Group. They provided feedback from their experiences following the food bank diet, and urged the Minister to support an immediate $100 per month increase in social assistance.
On March 18, 2011 Glen Murray accepted our invitation to visit Church of the Redeemer to discuss our outreach to low-income people, including advocacy efforts. A summary of the meeting has been posted on the diocesan website.
A multi-sector network of more than 100 provincial and Toronto-based organizations and individuals working on eliminating poverty. The network’s goal is a plan to reduce Ontario’s poverty level by 25 per cent in five years and 50 per cent in 10 years.
A coalition of Ontario’s major faith communities working to counter hunger, homelessness and poverty in Ontario through education and advocacy with MPPs and other key decision-makers.
This campaign began in January, 2009, in response to the poverty reduction strategy of Premier Dalton McGuinty’s government, which did nothing to address the chronic hunger faced every month by thousands of people in Ontario. It is calling for an immediate increase of $100 per month for every adult receiving social assistance, and a fair and transparent way of setting social assistance rates.
A non-partisan Christian organization working to bring justice into Canadian public affairs through research, education and advocacy.
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