New Resources to Support Action on Social Justice from the Churches
New and creative resources to support action at community level and nationally emerged during September.
Kiwi Families – It’s Our Story
Caritas New Zealand led the way with a series of online and hard copy resources featuring some great stories of how communities around the country are taking action for social justice, to overcome poverty and build their wellbeing.
Taking action is about changing hearts, changing structures and changing lives. Four stories shared highlight the way that we can respond to justice issue in our local communities and faith traditions. The people of Panguru and Motuti in the North Hokianga shared their struggles with unemployment and people moving away to the cities in the search for work. Hope is build around the commitment of those who remain to maintain traditions and uphold tikanga. Many whānau feel the draw home and community leaders there talk of their hope and vision for better lives in their community. In South Dunedin local Catholic parishes have combined with Catholic Social Services to offer cooking classes, community dinners, distribute food and run an interest-free loan scheme. In Auckland, De Paul House works with families in housing need to help them find stability and access to affordable housing. The story of the Living Wage movement highlights how finding work is not always the end of poverty for many working families. The experience of struggling workers who have seen their wages lifted through the commitment of employers such as Wellington City Council to implement a living wage show the way towards justice in employment.
The stories also show the kinds of things that help families to thrive. Moving from low income to having enough to thrive; from poor housing to a good home; taking struggling provinces and making them flourishing regions; bringing stability to transient families; and overcoming isolation to build community. Find out more on the Caritas website: http://caritas.org.nz/resources/social-justice-week.
Justice & Action
The end of September saw the launch of a new highly readable and very useful booklet was launched by Presbyterian Support and the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa NZ. It seeks to answer the question:
Why should the Church be engaged in action to change outcomes for these vulnerable Kiiws? Why should we be involved in social transformation?
The focus is on children – the impact of child poverty and family violence and the structural inequalities in our society that lead to this. Stories of transformation are threaded through the booklet, like the Breakfast Club in Randwick School, the Waimana Māori Pastorate ‘Messy Church’ or the community meal at St Andrews by the sea in Whitianga. In each of those places small initial steps have grown over time to help real change for peple and communities.
The booklet helps us to make the link between these community level responses and the bigger picture issues where Government policy changes and legislation is needed. Churches’ advocacy through support of groups such as the Child Poverty Action Group (and indeed our work at NZCCSS) is the essential part of this wider social transformation towards a more just society. Find out more and download the booklet or order hard copies go to the PCANZ website Justice & Action page.