At the beginning of a new relationship, it can take a while to find your voice. Others can be playfully nattering back and forth, but until you have some shared experiences it can be tough to join the conversation.
As the new executive director for CPJ that has been a bit of my reality. Staff and the rest of the CPJ family have welcomed me wonderfully, but we are still in the midst of creating common experiences together. Shared laughter creates comradery. Comradery feeds common commitment.
I am excited about continued conversations with staff. I am also looking forward to interacting with our CPJ members. This will be a critical process in helping me find my voice because it is in these interactions that I can have confidence in representing our common CPJ voice with Members of Parliament and their staff.
Growing the CPJ membership will be an important function. It will not only strengthen the voice of CPJ but will also strengthen the voice of the concerns we share. We will help to amplify the voice of climate justice so that the earth need not try to get our attention to the language of destroying wind and soaring temperatures. We will lend our solidarity with refugees and immigrants so that the gifts they long to share will be welcomed and honoured. We will speak out against the forces that sustain poverty so that no one needs to choose between paying for food or paying for adequate housing. These are important dialogues for a healthy society that can be celebrated by all.
The Spirit of God is rustling through our pews. It is blowing along our streets and alleys. It is rushing along our ravines. It is not content to see greed and neglect abuse people and creation. This is the breeze we want to heed so that when people wet their finger to see which way the wind is blowing, they discern instead the movement of the Spirit.
CPJ has an important role to play in our Canadian society. We need to have an eye on the Canadian government to help assure that the policies developed to represent the best of public justice. We also need to have an eye on the Canadian population to help educate and influence people to ask their elected representatives for just policies. It is as the general public becomes united in their demands that public justice begins to have a stronger voice. This is the aim of CPJ!
The context that I’m coming from is one of faith-in-action. My involvement in Canadian church circles – first as an ordained Mennonite pastor, then as the director of church relations at World Vision Canada, and most recently as executive director at Mennonite Church Canada – has developed my understanding that our lives, as people of faith, ought to impact the world around us. I am thrilled to join the CPJ team because I am excited to lend my voice to the important platforms of climate justice, refugee rights and the eradication of poverty. As I find my voice, I am eager to see how CPJ can help more and more people in Canada find their voices on the important concerns we all share.
I am quite certain that as we strengthen our corporate voice as informed and active citizens, the earth will smile, and God will be glorified.