A concern for social justice lies at the heart of Christianity and there are plenty of causes to get behind to show you care about our world. But sometimes starting off can be the toughest challenge. Sue Hutchinson, Queensland Synod research officer, offers five ways to get started.
Join the Reach Out Speak Out Synod Facebook group, where group members are invited to share information, events and other items of interest with the wider community.
There are so many areas of social justice which are important to us as Christians but it’s a good idea to choose a single area to begin. How do you choose? Think about what your congregation is already involved in, or something happening in your local area that is important to community members. Sometimes there are people who are passionate about something specific like domestic violence or people seeking asylum. Don’t be afraid to take time to become familiar with the issue, then take it from there!
Consider how you and your congregation can make more ethical and sustainable choices. Some ideas include changing to Fairtrade products such as coffee and tea which reduce slavery and help farmers build better futures for themselves; organising recycling at your church; or organising carpooling to church.
In long-term engagement in social justice it is important to be able to keep going, to renew yourself, your enthusiasm and your commitment. It is easy to get burned out, so keep an eye on your stress levels and get help if things are getting out of control. Practise gratitude. Take exercise daily and eat a healthy diet. Get enough sleep and form a support network—you need people you can talk to about the challenges and joys. Find meaning and hope in what you do and take time for spiritual practices like prayer or spending time in nature.
Organise a Faith in Action workshop for your congregation, a group of congregations near you, or your presbytery. The first workshop was conducted by Queensland Synod research officers David Weddell and Sue Hutchinson in Brisbane in late May. They explored the what, why and how of social justice.