At the Heart of Justice

A space for ongoing conversation on justice issues. Also provides links for taking action and engaging deeper through the work of our church networks, ministries, and our partners.

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Last updated: 
October 6, 2016

Canada is often ranked as “the best place to live.” We often perceive Canada to be a friendly and accepting place. But for some it is a place where they experience racism.

Racism is a system of oppression. It is fed by individual and collective attitudes, and by actions that discriminate against, oppress, exclude, and limit ethnic groups based on their race and/or colour of their skin. It is also a system of privilege that gives White people in North America unearned economic, social, political, and cultural advantages.

The United Church has taken a strong stand on racism....

Last updated: 
September 27, 2016

For centuries an olive branch has symbolized peace.

Greek and Roman cultures used the symbol as early as 2,500 years ago. The dual image of a dove with an olive branch has been a Christian symbol of peace since the end of the first century CE. This comes (in part) from Genesis 8:11, which tells of a dove sent from Noah’s ark and returning with an olive branch.

The symbol continues today. In Palestine, olive oil is the primary source of income for about 75,000 farmers. Olive trees also produce olives for food, soap, jewelry, woodcarving, and firewood.

Under the...

Last updated: 
September 18, 2016

Another world is necessary, urgent, and already in the making.

These are the core beliefs of those who attended the 12th World Social Forum (WSF) - a convergence of solutions, energies, and goodwill for the building of another world.

I attended the WSF (August 9–14, Montreal, QC), and also participated in the World Forum on Theology and Liberation (WFTL), a parallel event organized by local ecumenical organizations and attended by people of faith from around the world. We walked together in the WSF’s opening march in support of...

Last updated: 
July 28, 2016

United Church Women have been very busy this past year, working to keep the issue of child poverty in Canada front and centre among all levels of government. Their Bread not Stones website at www.endchildpoverty.ca, has received stories and news from UCW groups and churches across Canada about their efforts to end child poverty in their areas. Linda Woods shares news about their activities.

The London-...

Last updated: 
February 16, 2017

It’s the children of Palestine I think about the most!

In the summer of 2015 I spent two months in Susiya, a small village in the South Hebron Hills of Palestine on a UN assignment. The homes of Susiya were once again being threatened with demolition by the Israeli government. The people of Susiya had twice been forced out of their village in recent years. This time they were determined to stand their ground!

Our assignment was to provide a protective presence for the village and advocate for changes in policy. If there was a demolition, there would be witnesses.

...

Last updated: 
February 16, 2017

Canadians have made huge progress in advancing LGBTI rights here. But what about the rest of the world? Is there something in our experience from which others could draw? How might we act in solidarity with people who live under more repressive regimes?

These were some of the questions that drew about 70 people from 30 organizations to the Dignity Initiative Roundtable in Ottawa June 1-2. The Dignity Initiative came about after efforts in 2014 to press the government of Canada to play a more...

Last updated: 
September 18, 2016

Since 2010 the people of Grassy Narrows have continued to bring focus to their 50 years of frustration over mercury contaminated water in their community. Every second year they journey to Queen’s Park to lobby the provincial government through their River Run—demanding justice for their people and protection for the waters and forests that give life.

In 2016 the members of St. John’s United Church in Marathon, Ontario, followed their core ministry of “radical and...

Last updated: 
February 16, 2017

On April 28, 2016 in Ottawa, an impressive turnout of close to 300 people showed up for Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna's townhall for the government's consultation on climate action. This first climate townhall kicked off two months of similar consultations, to be held by Members of Parliament in communities across Canada.

“The room was packed – people were lining up to speak up for real climate action,” said Aurore Fauret of 350.org and the People’s Climate Plan...

Last updated: 
February 16, 2017

There was a sense of hope, and of moving forward, when on March 31 the United Church made a public statement on adopting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. But without doubt, there were also questions, not the least of which was “why?”

There is an easy answer: because we were asked.

Almost a year ago, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC), after seven years investigating the roots, facts, and legacy of abuses committed Indian Residential Schools, asked the churches that ran those schools to adopt the Declaration as “a...

Last updated: 
May 26, 2016

At the Heart of Justice blog continues the focus on Health Care in Canada with a series by Bill Blaikie, The United Church of Canada’s representative to the Canadian Health Coalition. We offer these personal reflections by Bill as an invitation to move deeper into the many important issues surrounding health care in Canada.

On May 3, 2016 representatives of the Canadian Health Coalition (CHC) were on hand in Montreal to show...