Participants at this summer’s Shalom Justice Camp in Peterborough, Ont., returned home with increased awareness, resolved to act as agents of change.
For the Rev. Hilary Murray, assistant curate at Christ Church (Bells Corners), Ottawa, justice camp underscored the need for people working in outreach to think outside the box. She oversees her parish mission and outreach committee, including an ecumenical emergency food program. For Murray, justice camp stretched her understanding of the role of food banks. “You’re dealing with the whole issue of poverty,” she says. She now understands the importance of involving people directly affected by poverty in program decisions.
As a member of the justice camp’s sustainable agriculture group, Martha Westgate, a youth leader at St. Peter’s parish in Scarborough, Ont., has a greater understanding of how wasteful our society is and how “we can reuse things, and share the love God has for all of us.” She asked a young person at her parish to be a youth leader and he accepted. “He has so many good ideas,” she says.
Sydney Caron from Lyndhurst, Ont., felt shock and disbelief when she visited local First Nations communities and learned some cold, hard truths. “When faced with discouragement, I was reminded that with the Lord all things are possible,” says Caron. “Every day is a chance to make a positive change, and it’s important to stop wasting those days and start making change.”
The Rev. Rick Chapman, a street outreach worker in Edmonton, signed up to expand his awareness of social justice ministry within the church. “Justice camp is a tremendous resource for social justice education and action within the Anglican church,” he says. “I came away with a deeper appreciation of the biblical themes of justice and community.”