Immersed in justice
Justice Camp seeks to understand how Christians are meant to steward the earth.
For people interested in experiencing social justice issues first-hand, the Anglican Church of Canada’s Justice Camp is the place to be.
Held every two years in a different Canadian location, this year’s Justice Camp took place in Edmonton from August 15 to 21. The camps take on a perspective based on the region, and this year’s theme was “land.”
“Land has been given to us as a gift,” says Rick Chapman, chair of the 2014 Justice Camp. “How are we using that gift and how are we developing our community in response to the gift that we’ve been given by God?”
Chapman was also the leader of one of six immersion options for the camp, showing participants many of Edmonton’s urban poverty initiatives.
“For three days of the camp my group is immersed among people who experience homelessness,” says Chapman. “We visit ministries, agencies, and drop-in communities in Edmonton.”
In addition to urban poverty, participants could choose from inter-religious perspectives, food, ecology and conservation, aboriginal reconciliation, and faith in the oil/tar sands.
“Most of the people who are leading these immersions and speaking at the camp are seasoned justice and ministry workers,” Chapman says. “There are also a variety of ministries present so that participants can see where their actions might lead them.”
Chapman hopes Justice Camp will help develop a network of people who will make connections with each other and work to minister in their given areas.
Camp participant Debbie Grisdale says she chose to attend so she can explore social justice activism more from a faith perspective.
“I worked until recently for a non-profit organization in the area of aboriginal health policy and have realized how much I have to learn about aboriginal cultures, traditions and other aspects of their way of life,” Grisdale says. “The camp is an important hands-on learning opportunity.”
Grisdale hopes to use what she learns in her ongoing work for peace and social justice both within the church and in the broader society.
She says, “Justice Camp will offer a chance to consider more deeply the way in which our deepest sense of The Creator and the way we relate to the land must be part of the search for reconciliation and justice.”
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