Reflections on Canadian Christian Activism
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Canadian churches have made a huge impact on key justice issues over the past 50 years on education, economics, refugee sponsorship, the environment, domestic violence, public health care, women’s rights, and the cancellation of the debts of Global South countries.
But as the years go by, has this momentum been lost?
A new book from CPJ’s Joe Gunn features interviews with ten key people who have been active in social justice struggles across Canada for many years. How did Christians from varied ecumenical backgrounds work together to help end apartheid, admit refugees from Chile and Indochina, defend Indigenous Peoples’ rights, promote economic justice, and more?
These wonderful stories from tireless labourers for justice present relevant lessons for today. Their words and experience inspire a direction and model for faith-based action for social and ecological justice today - and in the years ahead.
Current leaders of justice ministries will find guidance from these accounts, as well as inspiration from the newer generation of activists who reflect and act upon them.
Journeys to Justice features interviews with:
- John Foster on how the churches influenced refugee policies in Canada
- Bill Janzen on negotiating the private sponsorship of refugees program Interview
- John A. Olthuis on the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline proposal
- Tony Clarke on the Catholic bishops speaking out about economic justice
- Moira Hutchinson on when Canadian churches opposed apartheid in South Africa
- Marie Zarowny on northern Canadian bishops responding to violence against women
- Bill Phipps on how churches challenged the economic system
- Peter Noteboom on the defense of medicare
- Fabien Leboeuf about the Women around the World March for Rights
- Jennifer Henry on the campaign to cancel the debts of countries in the Global South
The book concludes with three reflections on where we go from here by David Pfrimmer, Christine Boyle, and Leah Watkiss.
Watch interview with Joe Gunn at Salt + Light Media
Joe Gunn, CPJ’s former executive director, sat down with Sebastian Gomes at Salt + Light Media to discuss the impact of churches on social justice movements in Canada and CPJ’s latest book Journeys to Justice.
“The prophet Micah reminds us of our responsibilities to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with God. In our work to 'do justice' many of us experience periods of discouragement or despair. I encourage you to read and study 'Journeys to Justice: Reflections on Canadian Christian Activism' in order to be encouraged and reinvigorated in God's call to work for justice. Together, we can make a difference!”
—Rev. Susan C. Johnson
National Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
"Activists for social justice and climate action will find new allies in this volume. If they didn't already know the rich history of Canadian Christian activism, Joe Gunn's compilation of this movement's great history and closing essays from great young leaders in ministry provide an invaluable lesson. And hope for the future."
Leader, Green Party of Canada
“Through interviews with leaders in the Christian social justice movement in Canada, this volume both provides a valuable history of what has been accomplished, and remains to be accomplished, and introduces a new generation to the call to serve justice through theological reflection and action.”
—Rev. Canon Dr. Alyson Barnett-Cowan
President, Canadian Council of Churches
“Reading this book has given me a new appreciation for the impact that men and women of faith have had—and can have—on vital social issues in Canadian society. I encourage all Church leaders to read it and share it with others: this inspiring, challenging and encouraging text calls us all to renew our commitment to God’s Reign of justice, peace and joy here and now.”
—Mgr. Paul-André Durocher
Roman Catholic Archbishop of Gatineau