Justice and Peace

Last updated: 
February 11, 2019
Black History Month is about the history of all of us.

That was brought home to me loud and clear when I read Paul Douglas Walfall’s blog about the role of United Church ministers in supporting the Ku Klux Klan in the prairies in the 1920s. It is a part of history that I did not know about, and that I would rather not know about. But it is important that I know about it.

Why did I hear about this uncomfortable part of our history from Rev. Walfall, who began his life and his...
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February 7, 2019

 To describe Sarah (name is changed to protect her identity) in a few words is a difficult task, as she is a complex woman. She's a strong, dynamic woman of conscience who lives in several worlds. This sounds complicated, and it is.

I first met Sarah at our introduction to our EAPPI placement. She attended the “thank you party” that the outgoing team was holding as they prepared to leave. We spoke at length about her work for the organization, Combatants for Peace. (From their...

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January 29, 2019

Rigoberto Monge, a fisherman in El Salvador, has been to the United States and back. Now he sits in the yard of his home near the Guatemalan border with his wife and daughters. In 2012, Rigoberto left his home and family for the USA. “We had no livelihood,” he

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January 23, 2019

“We are six people in our tent,” Sory Rasno says. “At night, the wind keeps us awake. There is no privacy, no space. The children start school this year, but they have no place to study. 

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January 18, 2019

For the last decade, I have been teaching at Union Theological Seminary in the Philippines. Part of the curriculum is a field education program, which requires students to participate in community activities such as protest marches and weekend exposures during the semester; as well as six-week community immersions during the summer. During those immersion experiences, students live, eat, sleep, and work with vulnerable communities. They listen to the community...

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January 7, 2019

During this past Advent, we put ourselves in the shoes of God’s people in biblical times as they wait for God to act. But the difference is that for us, we know what we’re waiting for (or we think we know), whereas for God’s people at the time, I don’t think they were quite sure what God had in mind or knew how long they were going to have to wait.

The Korean people can identify with this. They have been waiting for decades. When World War II ended, they thought the long years of Japanese occupation were over and the Korean people had finally found their independence. But it...

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December 18, 2018

This blog post marks International Migrants Day, December 18, 2018.

This October, with the support of The United Church of Canada, I had the wonderful opportunity to participate in a delegation from the World Student Christian Federation-North America (WSCF-NA) to the Ecumenical Gathering on Migratory Theology, a conference organized by the Fraternidad Teológica Latinoamericana in Mexico City.  As so often happens, the journey began before I left home. The Sunday before I left for Mexico, I worshiped at a United Church in...

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December 10, 2018

Ahmed (name is changed to protect his identity) is a 29-year-old university accounting graduate. He is married and works on his family's organic farm inside the Seam Zone in Tulkarm. Recently, to make ends meet, he found a part-time job in roofing. He told me that he cried some tears when he realized he could not support his family and had to find extra work.

The Seam Zone is an agricultural area in the West Bank located east of the Greenline and west of The Wall. One Israeli soldier explained that Israel is on the west side of “The Wall” and no-man's land (Seam Zone)

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December 5, 2018

They say a picture is worth more than 1,000 words, and I agree.

To try to understand the Rohingya crisis, I had read much about who the Rohingya Muslims are and why they are being persecuted. It has been pretty much an exercise of thinking—a head exercise. That changed when I saw the picture (above) taken by ACT Alliance photographer Paul Jeffrey. I looked into the eyes of this girl, her eyes filled with hope as she holds up her card from the UNHCR (the United Nations’ refugee agency) in Kutupalong Refugee Camp in Bangladesh.

Behind her eyes you can see that she has been...

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November 27, 2018

When I acquired HIV in 1987, it was “a death sentence”. One of the first comments made by my GP in 1990 in Regina, when he gave me the HIV+ test result, was that I would need more tests to find out “when the clock started ticking.” Not very comforting words. My work in the community-based AIDS movement in the 1990s was one great grieving process as we buried clients one after another. As a person of faith, Christian practice and teachings, like forgiveness and hope, have been essential parts of my journey with HIV.

All of this was in the back of my mind as I went to Amsterdam in...