“The most tangible way in which Grace Christian Reformed Church (Scarborough, Ontario) is responding to God’s call to do justice is by being involved with area community services—The Lighthouse, Yonge Street Mission, and Agincourt Community Services,” reported pastor Bart Velthuizen.
“Being involved with these community services keeps us aware of the exceptional challenges faced by those caught in the cycles of poverty, new immigrants, and refugees. Most are hardworking people, but they are working against social systems that will not give them a break.”
Grace CRC’s work in their community is one example of how Christian Reformed people are answering God’s call to do justice, a topic being explored in a two-year action research project focusing on CRC members and congregations in Canada.
Results from the first year of the Justice and Faith Project, available on the Canadian Ministries website, show a strong shared commitment to doing justice among Christian Reformed people and to understanding what “justice” means through a biblical lens.
They also demonstrate that personal connections and experiences are among the most important ways for people to learn more about justice and become engaged in doing justice as an expression their faith.
Darren Roorda, newly appointed Canadian Ministries Director, sees the Justice and Faith Project as an opportunity to learn and grow together as a denomination and as congregations in how we live out our shared mission.
“By answering God’s call to justice, local churches have the opportunity to change the lives of people as Jesus would have. By doing justice and pairing it with the ministry of the Word, people see Christ fully and are called to be in relationship with him.”
The project also provides an opportunity for Christian Reformed denominational agencies to better understand how to support and serve congregations.
“CRC agencies such as World Renew, the Office of Social Justice, the Centre for Public Dialogue, and others are all busy finding ways to support congregations in working to do justice,” says Roorda. “The Justice and Faith Project crystallizes how they might catalyze local churches in carrying out justice in word and deed as we look into the future.”
The Justice and Faith Project is being conducted in partnership with the Institute for Christian Studies in Toronto and the Centre for Community Based Research, a nonprofit social research organization in Kitchener, Ontario. It is supported by a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, a federal government research funding agency.
The project continues in 2015 and will include several events in locations across Canada where CRC people can come together to share and learn how to more fully respond to God’s call to do justice.