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Office of Social Justice News | May 2017

World Refugee Day Toolkit

For decades, CRC members in Canada and the United States have been faithful in welcoming refugees. By marking World Refugee Day this June, you can play an active role in continuing this commitment to welcome the stranger and bear witness to hope.

OSJ, the Christian Reformed Centre for Public Dialogue, and World Renew invite you and your congregation to recognize World Refugee Day throughout the month of June by celebrating the contributions of refugees to your community and remembering the plight of refugees around the world in prayer and calls to action. We plan to release this toolkit in the last week of May. Sign up here to receive the World Refugee Day toolkit when it's ready!

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ACTION ALERT - CANADA

Speak Up for Those Affected by Hunger and Poverty

Canada’s new budget proposes no new increase to international assistance and fails to indicate how Canada will provide leadership in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Canada’s contributions are currently at a 50-year low. Join the Centre for Public Dialogue, World Renew, and Canadian Foodgrains Bank in advocating for all who are affected by hunger and poverty around the world. Urge Finance Minister Bill Morneau to increase international assistance today. Click here to act.

IMMIGRATION

Become a Blessing Not Burden Partner!

Calling all justice seekers! Are you looking for ways to educate your church community about immigration and to help your church address immigration in worship? We are looking for 90 CRC members to be Blessing Not Burden Partners! Blessing Not Burden partners are three or more people in a congregation who have signed the pledge and are committed to deepening their church’s understanding of immigration. Check out this page to learn more about being a partner, and fill out this form to sign up!

RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION

Religious Persecution and True Godliness

by Neil (Middle East columnist)

“My friend told me that within minutes of the explosion he was already asking himself why he had survived—what did God expect of him? For what purpose was he saved? What differentiated him from his dead peers, or those who had been seriously injured, and not him?” Read more »

DO JUSTICE

Advocacy Works: Advocacy as a Spiritual Practice

by Anna Vogt (MCC)

“One my favourite songs is ‘Vos Sos el Dios de los Pobres’ (‘God, You Are the God of the Poor’), with lyrics that acknowledge the way God is found within those who are often overlooked by the powerful.” Read more »
 

INDIGENOUS JUSTICE

Be a Youth Ambassador of Reconciliation!

The deadline is approaching to apply for the Youth Ambassador of Reconciliation Program! Coordinated by our partners at the Office of Race Relations and the Canadian Aboriginal Ministry Committee, this program empowers non-Aboriginal CRC young people in Ontario to act as bridges between their church community and a local Aboriginal community. Participants will learn and practice reconciliation skills by participating in a week-long trip to a northern reserve and developing a Reconciliation Action Plan with their church community. Apply here.

CREATION CARE

CWP Group Combines March with Advocacy Day

A group of 25 CRC members joined a crowd of more than 200,000 people at the People’s Climate March in Washington, D.C., on Apr. 29. Most of the CRC members who marched are involved in the Climate Witness Project (CWP). Group members also attended advocacy training and worship and met with members of Congress on Monday. Read about their experience here.

The group that attended was also featured on PBS NewsHour last Sunday. Check out the clip here!

OSJ’s Coordinator Is Retiring

From serving as CRWRC's country director in Bangladesh to helping bring resolution to the war in Sierra Leone to facilitating peace talks in Nigeria to serving as the coordinator for OSJ (and so much more), our coordinator, Peter Vander Meulen, has been a powerful advocate for justice in the CRCNA and beyond. After nearly 45 years of work in seven countries on three continents, Peter is retiring at the end of this month. Read about his story here.

In Case You Missed It

  • LaGrave Avenue CRC, a CWP church, just became the third church in the CRC to receive ENERGY STAR certification! Read about their journey to achieving this rating here.

  • If your church is holding an offering June 11 for OSJ, check out these resources, including a prayer, litany, and PowerPoint slides.

  • We’ve had some great posts in our Advocacy Works series! Check them out and subscribe to make sure you see the rest of the posts on Do Justice here.