The lunchtime session for the Working for Justice Circle considered ways to engage with members of Parliament and the wider community in order to create a just world.
Rev. Craig Collas from Perth Uniting Church in the City spoke about the impact of the sanctuary movement when churches across Australia offered a safe place for refugees who were at risk of being deported from Australia.
“It put an enormous amount of pressure on the government, to have 10 Churches on the front page of the paper saying ‘stop’,” Rev. Collas said.
“It really gave voice to the witness we have.”
“Acting on justice is a form of evangelism, speaking into the public space about the values we hold as Christians.”
Uniting Church in Australia members have been involved in the Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce’s #DignitynotDestitution campaign against cuts to basic financial support and services for people seeking asylum in Australia.
Others spoke about the collective impact of working together across the Church and with groups sharing a common cause.
It was noted how increasingly change came from the ground up with local communities leading the charge. Local Governments around the world have been the first to act on climate change.
The group talked about the Inspiracy Festival in Newcastle which brought people together around justice with theological input, stories of lived experience, art and music.
Margaret Mayman from Sydney’s Pitt Street Uniting Church shared her experience of the Inspiracy festival.
“I loved the awesome diversity of musicians, artists and activists all being given a place,” said Rev. Mayman.
“It showed that we do justice along with the joy and celebration of our whole selves.”
Associate General Secretary Rob Floyd shared how the Assembly will continue to advocate for justice through the Working for Justice Circle and the Assembly Resourcing Unit.
“UnitingJustice will continue to be used to describe the collaboration and shared work in the justice space across the Uniting Church,” said Rob.
“We will continue to share those connections in the work we are doing, coming in behind each other to build on the impact we can have.”
Tomorrow the Being a Multicultural Church circle will invite people to gather on the fala (mat) to share stories and worship together with singing from the Canterbury Uniting Church Tongan choir. Come to the Boyland Room for a 1pm start.