• Tea and Toast: Take aways and reflections on Voices for Justice

    Posted by Micah

    26 September, 2011

    On the long drive home from Canberra, in the wee hours of the morning, I was asked what I will take away from Voices for Justice. I have come to realise that many of the things I have taken away can be applicable beyond Voices participants.

    I spent Sept 17-20 in Canberra at Voices for Justice, organised by Micah Challenge. Micah Challenge is a unified movement of over 50 Christian denominations and aid and development organisations who believe that seeking justice for the global poor and marginalised is an integral expression of the Christian faith.

    Voices for Justice is a campaigning event that builds community and trains everyday Australians, facilitating the opportunity to advocate and lobby politicians to meet our commitment to the Millennium Development Goals and reduce global poverty.

    "Take aways"

    // The call to do justice and to use our voice is for all of us
    - aware that God has gone before us, goes with us, and will follow after us. This was my first Voices for Justice, and I was amazed at both the diversity of organisations, traditions, denominations and demographics represented. It was beautiful to see participants from the ACL, Uniting Church, Churches of Christ, Baptist Church, ACC, old, young, highly qualified and unqualified alike come together and share a common vision. The unity of the movement to see justice as an integral aspect of faith was obvious. Practically speaking, politicians loved the diversity of lobbyists. Over and over again they commented on the power and value of everyday Australians meeting with them and sharing their thoughts. Nurses, tradies, retirees and students alike - not slick and shiny, but humble and filled with integrity - this call is for all of us.

    // We all have unique skills and vocations, most (not all!) of which can be used to seek justice. We aren't all development experts, we aren't all theologians, we aren't all media and communications experts, we aren't all cooks (though we all should be able to cook Thai Green Curry after a workshop on Saturday night...). Let us embrace our diversity, learn from those with different skills and celebrate the skills we do have.

    // The beauty of community and hospitality. Firstly, there was beautiful community within the Voices group. However what really stood out for me was the couple I and three other participants stayed with. They were an older couple who had heard that some people connected to GMP would need somewhere to stay in Canberra. Having never met us and being almost completely unaware of why we were in Canberra, they opened their home to us and treated us like sons and daughters. This was complete with lots of tea, toast and good conversation - this is the sort of generosity and openness I wish we could all live with!

    Micah Challenge and all of the Voices for Justice participants keenly emphasised the need to continually do justice - with the closing prayer focusing on the ripples of change that occur when we aren't in Canberra. My prayer too, is that we can participate in those ripples, the ripples of the Trinity that requires, encourages and empowers us to do justice.

    Mitch Kay works for Global Missions Partners in Youth and Young Adult Engagement.

    This post originally appeared on Mitch's 'Scribbles and Scratchings' blog. Click here to read Mitch's blog post in full.