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News from the Pews

Read personal stories of changing attitudes, transforming hearts, and congregation members being moved to action. Learn how churches and individuals have responded when faced with injustice. 

Seeking Justice Inch by Inch: Practical Ways to Honor the Image of God in Everyone

In day to day life, I experience what I call “extreme empathy,” meaning that at times I feel the pain of others very deeply—almost as if it’s my own. Because of this extreme empathy, often when I look at the world around me, I am overwhelmed by the pain and sorrow that is seemingly everywhere. I want to fix it all and feel completely insufficient to make even the slightest difference or improvement. The ironic reality is that if I allowed myself to stay in those moments of despair, I would neglect to do the very thing I long to do: seek justice.

The First and The Last

Mark 10:31 “But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

Grappling in the dark?

We can all affirm that the months that ended 2020 and began 2021 were quite eventful.

The COVID-19 pandemic led to months of lock down intended to minimise the spread of the virus. However, as the socio-economic and political situation became challenging, the lockdown was lifted up in many parts of the world including Uganda. The situation had created limitations to community interactions. The opening up of international boundaries basically culminated into more community infections of the COVID-19 virus. We are locked in between the rock and the wall.

“Loving Everyone” and Learning to Listen

I am hoping that someone reading this will learn from my failures. I am still developing the muscle-tone at midlife to have conversations with people of color where I mostly just listen, the way God listens to me. I am a white male leader at a multiethnic, majority-white church, and I’m learning from my mistakes. I’m offering them here in the hope that if you need to, you might learn from them too. 

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Messy Noetic Spaces

“The metaphor for love is Arishi*”. I heard this beautiful line in my leadership masters class recently, and it resonated deeply. Arishi means, ‘to speak mutually’. When I reflect on the meaning of Arishi, speaking mutually, its meaning extends beyond dialogue. In a conversation, the assumption and hope are to share thoughts and be heard and perhaps even be respected. To speak mutually is to enter the conversation on the premise of a joint agreement in each other’s value. 

Welcoming Immigrants During COVID-19

Ladner Christian Reformed Church (Delta, B.C.) welcomed former refugees Kukuye and Kiya, along with their daughters, to Canada on October 1st.  The family shared some of their story with the church community while they were in quarantine until October 16th.  This interview between Kukuye and Kiya and Bev Bandstra was originally published in Ladner’s Community Connections newsletter and Do Justice has been given permission to republish it here.

Defining Neighbour

We as image-bearers of God have an unprecedented opportunity to re-engage with our community tables that have been set before us. Our tables need to be large enough to invite our neighbors to join us for food, laughter and conversation. So naturally we ask the question, who is my neighbor? 

Top 5 Indigenous Books for Kids!

We are quickly approaching Orange Shirt Day on September 30th!  Orange Shirt Day was started to honour the history of children who were sent to residential schools and give an opportunity for everyone to learn more about the history.  If you’re looking for a way to start introducing kids to residential schools in an age appropriate way, this list can help.  We have also included some books in this list that are just plain fun and offer an Indigenous perspective.

Churches Against Annexation

 Over the past several months, many of us who work on behalf of justice and an end to the conflict in Israel-Palestine, have been particularly concerned with the possibility of unilateral annexation.  Annexation is the extension of Israeli sovereignty over significant portions of Palestinian land in the West Bank. 

The Mandate

In my area land rights violations and abuse have escalated during the COVID-19 pandemic. Abusers have taken the weak structure and desperate situation communities are experiencing as an opportunity for exploitation. Land grabbing and displacement is prevalent in communities and institutions that have not formalised their ownership (such as the church). If the churches are also erased, what remains in the social and moral fabric of society that will hold it together for future generations?

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