On February 20th, NZCCSS Council members gathered to celebrate 50 years since the New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services was formed. At Wellington Cathedral of St Paul, member churches, social service agencies and the public gathered to commemorate the ecumenical contribution made by NZCCSS since 1969.
The Joint Day of Worship, as suggested by Cardinal John Dew, was also a continued call to action, with many of NZCCSS’ previous efforts and submissions on display throughout the cathedral.
The kaupapa was also celebrated across the country with several organisations leading prayer and reflection in their own workplaces. Prayer resources were made available for those in different locations, with relevant Bible passages, songs and Te Reo blessings.
Executive Officer Trevor McGlinchey said it was important to celebrate “what we have and continue to achieve together as Christian churches through NZCCSS.”
Fittingly, the day also marked the United Nations Day of Social Justice. Each member church chose a social justice issue to highlight, and attendees were welcome to peruse the issues at different stations around the cathedral and join in prayer throughout the day.
Social justice issues from member churches included domestic violence, child trafficking, homelessness and child poverty. One exhibition encouraged attendees to write down an issue close to their heart and peg it to a clothes horse alongside Bible scriptures relating to social justice.
The event was visited by various faith leaders, organisations and civil servants. Labour MP Michael Wood attended the vigil and commended the ecumenical work NZCCSS has done for 50 years.
Nearly 100 people were present over course of the day, and each member church gathered for end of day prayers and to give thanks for the services that NZCCSS has helped provide. Council will continue to mark the 50th anniversary with more events throughout the year.