By Bill Mous
Published: April 2009
Prophetic Social Justice is at the heart of who we are as a people of faith. It flows from the words of the prophet Micah to "act justly", from Jesus' commandment to love God and our neighbour, and from the waters of our baptism where we commit to strive for justice and peace among all people.
The pursuit of excellence in ministry calls on us to renew our commitment to seek the development of a just society. Our strength as church is our capacity to bear witness and give voice to the injustice and suffering that surrounds us in our communities whether that is in our neighbourhoods or as members of the global community. God's justice requires a response from us; standing idly by in the face of injustice is not an option.
Through a process of discernment, Bishop Michael and our diocese have come to identify two areas of focus for this work: poverty reduction and the care of creation.
Bishop Michael has already spoken out for the need of a comprehensive poverty reduction strategy for Ontario, committed us to the Millennium Development Goals, and called upon all of us to be better custodians of creation. To add to this, he has also committed both himself and the Diocesan Resource Centre to speak out more often on these issues and to be an example for the rest of the diocese.
The vision is already giving new life to other initiatives. The Greening Niagara committee is working on a Green Parish Accreditation program to animate and affirm parishes in their Greening work. A coordinating committee has been formed to organize a national Community Justice Camp, which will gather Canadian Anglicans of all ages together in 2010.
But the vision of excellence in ministry calls for much more. It calls us to develop tools and training to integrate justice-making into the lives of our congregations and their members. It challenges every congregation to take on an additional initiative related to prophetic social justice making, be that an act of advocacy, an event or an educational project. The vision also calls for an animator to be recruited in the coming years to assist us as we live out the vision.
By pursuing excellence in prophetic social justice making we have an opportunity to more fully live out God's reign on earth. The result? People's lives and God's creation will be transformed and Niagara will be recognized as leader with regards to poverty reduction and environmental sustainability.
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