Social Justice

WVUC encourages its members to become active in social justice activities as it lives out its goal to be:

Fearless in advocacy and energetic in action in support of social justice, reconciliation, peace and wise environmental stewardship, locally, nationally and globally.

While WVUC does not run programs as such, its members are actively involved in many aspects of social justice and environmental activism.

Supporting People with Enduring Mental Illness

Since 2013 WVUC has supported MyHome in Canberra, a local community organisation, in its aim to provide supportive accommodation to people with enduring mental illness who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. The Uniting Church has agreed that MyHome could use church land in Curtin to build a complex of twenty single bedroom apartments together with common facilities. The church would require no rental payment from MyHome but would make the land available, on condition that adequate capital funds are available and operational and financial feasibility are established.

We have persisted over these past eight years in our support for MyHome, both in terms of our offer of land and through the efforts of individual church members in the work of MyHome. The church has been affirmed in its support of MyHome by the inclusion in the 2020 ACT Parliamentary Agreement of a commitment to “work with the land-owners and community organisations to deliver the MyHome proposal in Curtin.” We are working with the ACT Government and MyHome to achieve this end and commit to close community consultation as the proposal is developed.

We support MyHome because we believe that:

  • affordable and secure housing for people with mental illness is an area of acute need in our city;

  • the central location in Curtin and its proximity to shops and public transport makes the site a very suitable location for this type of accommodation. The 2018 Curtin Group Centre Master Plan encourages the development of supportive housing on the site; and

  • HOME in Queanbeyan, on which the MyHome proposal is largely modelled, with strong local community support has for over 10 years been successfully providing supportive accommodation for people with enduring mental illness. We believe MyHome can be similarly successful in Curtin.

More information about MyHome is at https://myhomeincanberra.org.au/

 

Refugees and Asylum Seekers: WVUC strongly supports the work of Canberra Refugee Support and Companion House, as well as the Palm Sunday Rally in support of Refugees and Asylum Seekers and other protests from time to time.

 

Climate Change: WVUC, and the Uniting Church in Australia as a whole, endorses the need for climate action now. It applauds its school age members for participating in the Student Strike for Climate Change. 

 

Poverty: WVUC members have supported the campaign to increase unemployment and student payments to above the poverty line. 

 

Several people from WVUC are members of the Canberra Presbytery Social Justice Group, a major area of interest of which is drug law reform. The group has played a part in the development of the Uniting Church NSW/ACT and Uniting’s Fair Treatment Campaign which seeks safer, fairer laws and policies.

https://www.fairtreatment.org/

 

A new initiative of members of WVUC and people concerned with justice is Against the Wind. Two of the objectives of Against the Wind are to advocate for:

  • Fairer and non-exploitative Australian legislation at all tiers of government
  • Issues that are getting little support in Government or for which there are few advocates.

Read more at the Against the Wind page.

 

WVUC has a commitment to understanding its actions for social justice in a theological context. See for example Rev John Squires' article in the August 2021 issue of Viewpoint magazine (see link below) on the overriding importance of justice, and a theology of advocacy article.

 

Other reading:

The Spring 2021 issue of the Canberra Region Presbytery magazine, Viewpoint, focused on the question of Advocacy

Anglican Board of Mission, 2020 study: 'Climate for Change'

Cry of the Earth Cry of the Poor, Australian Catholic Bishops Conference Social Justice Statement 2021-22

 

Links to organisations:

Australian Religious Response to Climate Change

Canberra Refugee Action Committee Facebook page

Christians for an Ethical Society (a Canberra based ecumenical forum)