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Seeking Justice

Friday 18th October, 2013 @ 11:22 am

by Andrew Harrison | tags: ,

Andrew Harrison, a member of the congregation at St Peter’s, explains his interest in the diocesan mission to seek justice

Part of the mission of the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham is 'seeking justice'. This has become a great passion for me over the last five years. Yesterday I got back from a midsized community event in Sheffield that I helped to organise with a charity called The Speak Network. The heart of the charity is to pray and campaign on issues of global injustice. The name "Speak" comes from the Hebrew Proverb:

"Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy Hebrew 31:8-9 (NIV)

Our gathering was centred around prayer, workshops on how to campaign effectively and plenty of food that was both vegan and organic. We had a cabaret service where I sang some of my original songs, and I also was honoured to lead the liturgical body of the Night Service of the church that we stayed at in Sheffield. You can find out about this inclusive, radical church here.

The theme of the weekend, including the Night Service at the church that Speak led was "War no more" inspired by Scripture: " He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore" Isaiah 2:4 (NIV)

We are all dreaming of a day where we can all live in peace, yet we know that in this scarred world it is a great struggle. This is why that groups like Speak come together with a common goal to seek justice and why it is an important part of our Diocesan mission. We come together so we can encourage one another with our different passions. Speak's campaigns are diverse, campaigning issues on like corporate accountability, climate change, the arms trade and more recently food sovereignty that fights for the rights for farmers do choose what they want to do, rather than large corporations making that decision for them.

The Speak group that I attend in Nottingham which is mainly students and young adults have been focussing on issues around Palestine and Israel. We have spent great time learning about the complex issues regarding history, geography, politics and theology on this issue. We have sought help from the Nottingham Palestinian Society and the Nottingham Palestinian Solidarity Campaign. This has culminated in me meeting MP Anna Soubry where I discussed some of the trickier issues around this struggle. Likewise to myself, Anna said that ultimately she wishes for peace. In all these issues, it is easy to feel disempowered as there are so many 'issues of justice' that we can engage with. Yet seeking justice can come in many different other forms:

• Serving a homeless shelter

• Buying a big issue and offering to buy a meal

• Find out about groups offering to help asylum seekers and refugees

• Respecting the elderly

• Respecting the young

• Always saying 'please' and 'thank you'

• Saying 'grace' before every meal.

Indeed there are many ways where we can be 'seeking justice'. If you wish to find more about my voluntary work with The Speak Network and/or wish to get involved please do not hesitate to email me.

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