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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. 

“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?

Should Christians love creation as we love ourselves? No, we should love God.

I spend some of my time volunteering with the Christian Reformed Centre for Public Dialogue doing advocacy in creation care, and with this call comes some strange experiences. A few months back I had a discussion with a friend (who has no relationship to the church), and I mentioned my “hobby”. Though she was impressed with our efforts, she was also perplexed by my motivation. She explained that in her experience, Christian faith is fundamentally about human salvation, and that it is hard to see how this motivates change.

Justified in Christ’s Love

Recently, I spoke on the phone to one of my neighbors who was terminally ill. She was excited to hear my voice though from afar due to COVID-19 pandemic. Social distancing is a necessity as we have to abide by preventative measures.  But support for those in need, in person, is our social safety net - especially in the African culture. Support, care and encouragement from others is a critical piece in life.  At the end of the conversation, I could hear from her feeble voice, “Yes,” to Christ’s lordship. She was introduced to Christ.

Treaties are Here Now

You can be forgiven if you find yourself not thinking about treaties very often.    After all, it is 2020 and for most Canadians, the term “treaty” conjures up ideas and images that seem to be part of a long-forgotten high school History or Social Studies class.   The relevancy of treaties to our everyday, ordinary lives seems non-existent.  Treaties – well, they tend not to make the news very often.  So, it is easy for us to assume they do not matter.

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