On Saturday, July 8, representatives from St. Margaret’s, St. David’s, St. John’s and St. Paul’s met at St. John the Evangelist Church to pool their wisdom and do some 'synergizing' on issues of Global Justice.
The discussion was chaired by the Rev. John Gee, diocesan treasurer. John began by asking us to outline what we thought global justice meant and to give a brief statement about how our parishes were involved in global justice issues. It seems each parish has a different view of what “global justice" entails and not surprisingly parishes developed their own way of reacting to the issues God seems to have brought their way.
Two things stood out as a result of our discussions. The first was that engaging in social justice issues is not a one-shot quick fix. It requires a long-term approach and the intentional development of a relationship. It also requires that we put our western expert ‘we know what you need to do’ approach in the waste bin and learn to listen and ask questions and then respond as we are able or asked to. The consensus also seemed to be that it’s most effective to allow individual parishes to respond as they are led to the issues that come their way, as opposed to having the diocese organize parish resources in support of one or two diocesan wide undertakings. In other words a bottom-up approach rather than top-down driven initiatives. That way youth and Sunday School children could participate in mission activities and fundraising. One of the parishes has actually had youth go on a mission.
Having said that, several representatives felt that it would be very useful for them to know what other parishes in the diocese are doing so that they could exchange ideas with other parishes and share experiences. Perhaps a section on the diocesan web site or some form of diocesan Facebook page would provide a market-place for visiting and sharing, or simply periodic get-togethers might do it as well.