The Justice Conference

Celebrating World Day of Social Justice – The Justice Conference

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As stories of injustice continue to grow in the news and in conversation, it’s easy to feel defeated, turn our heads and block our minds to these difficult topics. But as Martin Luther King Jr. explained, “There is such a thing as being too late. This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action.” Whether advocating for immigration reform, waging peace on violence, or working to eradicate extreme global poverty, we have an obligation to respond to the ever-present issues of social justice.

Since 2007, February 20th has served as a day when the international community works together towards justice for all. Organizations, academic institutions and churches unite to promote development and human dignity.

Moving beyond a one-day event, a movement of justice is forming as The Justice Conference, an international conference that serves the discovery of ideas, celebrates the beauty of justice, and fosters a community of people who live justice together, continues to take shape. This premier gathering of Christian leaders, justice practitioners and students from all over the world leverages the power of community and catalyzes the work of justice globally, nationally, locally and personally.

This year, The Justice Conference will be in Chicago with simulcast partner sites all across North America. Now, more than ever, we are positioned to come together to address the injustices in our world, create a movement of justice and spark hope that produces change. Will you join us?

To register or learn more about The Justice Conference, visit www.thejusticeconference.com.

#Justice2013: Sound Bites of the Justice Conference

by Larissa Peters, your Official World Relief Tweeter...(thanks to Paul Kim and Allison Harp for these excellent pics)

If you’re like me, perhaps you felt that the Justice Conference was similar to those meals where you scarfed down as much good food as quickly as possible without truly tasting or savoring it.

I found myself frantically trying to record all the great quotes of the week end. My fear, however, was that I spent more time tracking the sound bites (pun intended) than I did remembering them, let alone digesting and internalizing them.

For those who weren’t able to taste everything, I thought I would put a couple of the favorite here (allowing one per speaker). My hope is that these bites become more than sound bites (as John Perkins so eloquently said), but that they become realities in each of our lives.

  • “We're not called to be them [the saints of Philly], we're called to be us. Get inspired." @ShaneClaiborne
  • "When you study God, you learn about justice, when you study justice, you learn about God." @KJWystma
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  • "Your theology will influence your anthropology." @RevDocBrenda
  • “We live justly because it brings God to light. It brings reconciliation.” @LeroyBarber
  • Justice is doing more than saving the drowning people, it’s changing the ones who are pushing them into the lake. @NoelCCDA
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  • “You cannot play the victim. When you think the grass is greener on the other side, it probably is. Water the grass you are standing on.” @EugeneCho
  • "If we are to have any hope for this era, we must not only recover justice, but we must recover prayer.” @GaryHaugen
  • “More people have access to mobile phone technology than clean water…twitter is a real-time information platform, not a social media platform” @Claire Diaz-Ortiz
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  • “The DRCongo is the greatest tragedy to disfigure the human conscious.” @Stephanjbauman
  • Do-go-Mez-an-yeah "strengthen together" – Cyprien Nikiriyumwami
  • "Treating your neighbor justly is a way of loving your neighbor" - Nicholas Wolterstorf
  • “There is an old Chinese proverb that says, ‘Women hold up half the sky’.” – Sheryl @Wudunn
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  • "It may seem counterintuitive to offer forgiveness before justice, but Jesus did." @realchailing
  • "Budgets are moral documents. They tell us who we care for and who we want to protect." @LisaSHarper
  • "We live out our call most fully when we are a community of faith with arms wrapped about a community of pain." @JohnMPerkins
  • And the final bite comes from @LynneHybels: “Remember you are standing on the shoulders of those who have been doing this [justice] for a long time.”

If, after the conference or reading through the numerous blogs and articles about it, you are wondering “Now What?”click here to see what we have going on this year and how you could get involved.

Thanks to ALL who contributed, spoke, volunteered, cheered, sang, and listened at the Justice Conference. We hope to see you in Los Angeles but to also continue the conversations year-round.

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So Much Happening in Twenty-Thirteen...

by Larissa Peters, World Relief Communications Liaison I don’t know about you, but I have an especially good feeling about 2013. I admit, I keep a journal, and on the first of every year, I wonder what will fill its pages. The same is true in managing this blog – what will be the stories, reflections, and prayers that fill this year?

So many things are happening at World Relief, and so many great things we get to be a part of this year as more and more stand for the vulnerable! So I thought I would share 13 of the ones that I’m personally excited about and that others could even join:

In no particular order, here they are:

  1. Immigration Reform: From publishing the book Welcoming the Stranger in 2009 to speaking at Willow Creek Church and the G92 Summit, Jenny Yang – Vice President of Advocacy & Policy  and Matt Soerens – US Church Training Specialist are truly affecting change for the immigration system. We believe this is the year for reform. Want to keep up to date on the issue? Follow Jenny and Matt on twitter at:  @JennyYangWR and @MatthewSoerens.
  2. Peace building in the Congo: Village Peace Committees are changing their communities in the DR Congo. Conflict still abounds, but the grassroots movement of the Church is transforming lives. This is something to be a part of!  Follow updates and watch our video.
  3. Our partnership with Pure Charity: if you haven’t checked this organization out and you shop online or use a credit card (which should cover most of you), click here now. Here is a creative way to raise funds: shop and the stores you shop at will give to your charity of choice. World Relief has a few projects of their own there, and you’ll find Pure Charity at the Justice Conference. I already wish I knew about them earlier – I have to admit I’ve become slightly addicted to online shopping.
  4.  Fighting the battle of slavery: more and more people are taking on the cause of anti-trafficking. Currently, there are 14,500 people trafficked into the US each year (this is a low estimate). But our offices in Spokane, Tampa, High Point (and even internationally in Cambodia) are fighting to prevent that number from going up. Follow World Relief’s efforts on twitter and find out how you can promote awareness through races, workshops, or advocacy.
  5.  Church Partnership: Churches around the US have partnered with World Relief with a commitment of investing in a country or program for 3 to 5 years. Building relationships with the field and giving opportunity for long-term sustainable development, partnership is about wholistic mission. More and more churches are signing on, and we are excited about the changes it is bringing! Want your church to be part of this?
  6. Catalog of Hope: This year, our Catalog of Hope has a new section: fair trade items that benefit refugees in the US, empower women in Burundi, Rwanda, and Indonesia, and provide a monster for children in the US. A monster? Yes! See what this is all about.
  7. Stand Together Project: The premise is simple: Empowering women who are heroes in their own communities around the world. Check it out here: www.standtogetherproject.org.
  8. Savings for Life: A woman in Rwanda had never held a 5000 Franc note (worth $8 USD).  For the first time in her life this year, she saved up SIX of them because of her Savings group! How much more exciting can that get? Savings for Life is making credit available to those even the microfinance institutions can’t consider.  Watch a video on what Savings group is here: www.savings-revolution.org .
  9. Reviving and strengthening marriages in India: There is a quiet and unique program in India. One that is saving marriages, helping couples to be faithful to each other, and actually preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS.  Check out the story on India.
  10. Volunteering with refugees in the US: more and more people are asking, “What can I do?” Our US program with refugees provides tangible volunteering. I can promise you that your 2013 will be incredibly enriched by befriending a refugee and welcoming them into your home and life.
  11. Volunteering with refugees in Indonesia: you have to check this unique opportunity out:  living in Indonesia and ministering to refugees from Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, and Sri Lanka. You can read about some of the volunteers’ experiences here: www.worldreliefindonesia.com .

12   AND 13

Tis the season for conferences! So I’ll have to just wrap them all up into the last two: Churches and organizations are stepping out and bringing awareness to issues of injustice, educating their communities on how to respond. World Relief is privileged to be a part of these conferences with other Justice advocate hall-of-famers:

My hope is that these 13 (and then some) inspire and encourage you.  And may this year be full of all that is more than we can ask or imagine!*

*Ephesians 3:20

Quotes from The Justice Conference 2012

By Isaac Barnes, Marketing and Communications Manager at World Relief It’s been two weeks since the Justice Conference, and I am still processing the many moments of clarity and insight that I experience along with 4,000 other people.

The breadth and depth of the speakers and facilitators brought a profound life and expression to the word “justice” that I have never experienced before. In addition to my own individual experience, it encouraged me to share those two days of learning with so many other Christians also captured by Christ’s heart for justice in our broken world.

I was encouraged and challenged by what was said, but also convicted that justice – like love – is to be lived out in my relationship with God and those around me. As we have all returned to our neighborhoods and ministries, I hope to hear your great stories of live-out justice next year in Philadelphia at the Justice Conference 2013!

Here are some quotes and pictures* from this past Justice Conference in Portland, Ore:

Spoken at the Justice Conference 2012:

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“Jesus' natural companionship is with those folks [the poor].” – Walter Brueggemann

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“I went to Africa. And suddenly, it wasn't poor people anymore. It was Kenneth, and Rose, and Rachel.” – Francis Chan

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“Women are the greatest untapped resource in the world.” – Lynne Hybels

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“Don't be afraid to lament.” – Stephan Bauman

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“It doesn't matter who you are. Everyone has something to offer the movement of justice” – Shane Claiborne

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“If we're going to address trafficking in our country we have to address poverty, racism & gender based violence.” – Rachel Lloyd

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“Justice goes across racial and economic barriers - like the good Samaritan.” – John M. Perkins

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“That you would no longer see us as the mission field, but as co-equal participants in life.” – Richard Twiss

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“When you're no longer asking 'What's mine?' you start asking 'What's true, what's right, what's ours?’” – Rick McKinley

Shared on Social Media at the Justice Conference 2012:

  • Bread for the World: “@worldrelief Thanks 4 your work, @kenwytsma, @antiochbend & all. Our hearts full of hope. Reg4 2013 @thejusticeconf ow.ly/9k0cn”
  • Katie Høiland: “Appreciating @stephanjbauman : theologian, development practitioner, poet & @WorldRelief pres. Thx for charge to hold long line of justice.”
  • Kyle Anderson: “#love is an irreplaceable thread in Justice @kjwytsma inspiring & powerful start to @thejusticeconf thank you! #justice2012 @WorldRelief”
  • Restored: “Wish we were @thejusticeconf #justice2012 but so glad…@WorldRelief are there :) Looking forward to the online action later”
  • Urbana Missions: “Our team is so excited for @thejusticeconf tomorrow. Thanks to friends @worldrelief for hosting the event!”
  • Fred Smith: “I think the relationship between Shane Claiborne and John Perkins is a good example of two generations with great respect for each other. You are doing such good work.”
  • Merrilee Parsons Lewis: “Amazing experience!”
  • Shandra Johnson: “Hope to go again next year.”
  • Debi Luna Marshall: “I won't let anything keep me from going next year! Can't wait!”
  • Sandra Boedecker: “Bravo Stephan Bauman, Walter Brueggemann, Don Golden, Matthew Soerens and Jenny Hwang!”

*Pictures by The Justice Conference and Isaac Barnes.