Focusing on issues of social justice from a faith perspective
It is hard to make a difference on your own and it’s often not easy to know what it’s best to do.
These groups meet once a month as small groups to discuss issues of social justice. Members share what they’ve been doing, discuss the issues our society faces and provide mutual support and encouragement to group members.
Often focusing on one current issue the group discuss the core themes and underlying factors. Assisted by a facilitator, the group will then identify theological resources, from the bible and christian tradition to throw light on the topics discussed.
After a period of reflection, either in prayer, silence, creative writing or thoughtful conversation, the evening will conclude with action planning. Members each commit to an action to carry out before the next meeting.
The groups are small and we begin a new group when there are sufficient people. If you are interested in joining a group please email firstname.lastname@example.org
News and issues we are discussing & reflecting upon
Health care and vulnerable migrants
The NHS have recently introduced charges for patients from abroad. We fear that it will have a seriously detrimental impact on the most vulnerable, especially migrants. A report produced by Doctors of the World highlights the experience at their clinic in Bethnal Green.
Too often in church and at our sacred justice circles we discuss the difficulties faced by people in the world around us.
We sometimes feel powerless to know what to do.
But we can all do something. It does not matter if it is something small. What matters is that it is something!
Here’s some suggestions:
Make a donation
We support the following organisations:
You might also consider donating to:
Here is a request for nappies and clothes for refugees in Greece from Migrants Rights
Give time rather than money to a cause you care about!
These websites will help you find projects looking for volunteers:
Come along to a Union Chapel Church event
Be it a Sunday Service, a film night or a debate
Find out more
The following websites are full of worthwhile reading:
For accurate informed and in-depth information about Refugees and Migrants go to the website of Oxford University’s Migration Observatory.
Read a book
A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea: The Journey of Doaa Al Zamel: One Refugee’s Incredible Story of Love, Loss, and Survival
by Melissa Fleming (Nonfiction)
Doaa Al Zamel, a Syrian 19-year-old whose story is told here by the chief spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, was one of two people to survive when the boat she and ten others had hoped would take them across the Mediterranean to Europe capsized and sank. Her harrowing yet hopeful story is so compelling that Steven Spielberg and J.J. Abrams plan to adapt it for film.
This full colour, large format graphic novel, which Verso is publishing on June 20, 2017, takes readers into the heart of the Jungle, the troubled, overcrowded refugee camp in Calais, France, that was home to many African and Middle Eastern refugees until it was evacuated in 2016. British cartoon-artist Kate Evans fashions a moving, visceral record of the families and conversations she witnessed there, which she juxtaposes with images of anti-immigrant rhetoric displayed on cell phones.
The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Fiction)
Written over the course of 20 years by the author the 2016 Pulitzer-prize winning novel, The Sympathizer, this collection of short stories is dedicated to “all refugees, everywhere.” Ghosts of past selves and past lives haunt Nguyen’s characters, many of whom, like the author, were forced to flee Vietnam. Others include an American vet who knows “next to nothing about Vietnam, except what it looked like at forty thousand feet” —the height at which he flew a B-52 bomber during the war.
Afterland by Mai Der Vang (Poetry)
In this debut book of poetry, Mai Der Vang, a Hmong-American, tells the story of how her people had to flee Laos after the Americans who had employed them in the “Secret War” against Vietnamese Communists left them behind. Vang’s collection won the 2016 Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets. The scenes of suffering and refugees’ sense of loss are both specific to the little-known story of the Hmong and typical of all refugee stories: “Once, I lived in the valley. Then I moved to the tent of ghosts.”
Thi Bui, a first-time comics creator, has written a gorgeously drawn memoir of her family’s escape from South Vietnam. Her story shifts moves between their past experience to her present one, as a new mother: The book opens with the birth of her infant son. Once she became a mother, the empathy she felt for her parents’ difficult journey out of Vietnam led her to change the title of this book from Refugee Reflex to its current one.
More than 1.4 million refugees have crossed the Mediterranean since 2014, and one of those was Hashem al-Souki, a civil servant from Damascus whom Patrick Kingsley, of the Guardian newspaper, followed in the reporting of this book. Kingsley takes a deep look at those participating in what has become a mass migration, including smugglers and volunteers.
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (Fiction)
Mohsin Hamid’s brief novel follows a pair of young lovers who flee to the West from somewhere very like Pakistan. Hamid (author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist) uses a tricky bit of magic realism to allow his lovers to pass from one country to another: spontaneously appearing doors function like the magic carpets of old Arabic tales. Hamid has said that in some sense we are all refugees, and it’s easy to sympathize with this story even if you have not been forced to leave your home and family far behind.
The Verging Cities by Natalie Scenters-Zapico (Poetry)
Winner of the 2017 PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry, The Verging Cities’s title refers to El Paso and Juárez, on the border between the United States and Mexico. Scenters-Zapico’s poems focus, with furious empathy, on the impact of border control agents in those cities and the violence illegal immigrants face as they seek refuge from even greater dangers at home.
The Farm in the Green Mountains by Alice Herdan-Zuckmayer (Memoir)
In 1933, Alice and Carl Zuckmayer fled Berlin with their two children after the Nazis banned Carl’s plays. The family eventually made their way to Vermont, where these artistic souls learned to raise chickens and pigs. It was a far cry from the sophisticated world of Weimar Germany, but Alice took to their new life with humor and fortitude. This reissue gives new life to a tale of refugees who were lucky enough to make it to the United States.
City of Thorns: Nine Lives in the World’s Largest Refugee Camp by Ben Rawlence (Nonfiction)
Visiting Dadaab, on the Kenyan border, as a Human Rights Watch researcher, Rawlence discovered that what was intended to be a temporary refuge for people fleeing the civil war in Somalia had become permanent. The hundreds of thousands of families there were essentially stuck in a crime-plagued tent city that lacked the basic requirements for life. “To live in this city of thorns is to be trapped mentally, as well as physically,” Rawlence writes, “your thoughts constantly flickering between impossible dreams and a nightmarish reality
Reclaiming the Common Good: How Christians can help re-build our broken world by Virginia Moffatt
After decades of political consensus, we are entering a time in which everything about the way we live today, and about how our society and communities are structured, is up for discussion. Many people are feeling empowered to ask:
What kind of world do we want to live in? One that works for a few, or one that works for the common good?
What part can Christians play in building a future of hope, peace, equality an justice?