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Justice in the spotlight in Yorkshire 

Justice will be kept in the spotlight thanks to the YBA’s new Yorkshire Justice Hub, which has met for the first time

YBAjusticehub500Basically its purpose is to help make our churches more inclusive by raising awareness of matters of justice and changing culture among Yorkshire Baptists.

Institutional structures by their nature resist change and distance those who are different - be it through gender, race or disability, for example.

Four of the six task group members met at Wakefield Baptist Church – (pictured from the left), Mrs Carol Moore – a member of the YBA Executive and Cemetery Road Baptist Church, Sheffield, James Martin, also of Cemetery Road, and the Revd Craig Millward, of King’s Centre, part of Network Church Sheffield, - plus YBA Regional Minister the Revd Mary Taylor. The other two members are the Revd Sue Barclay, currently completing a PHD looking at Gender and mission in Africa and the Revd Sally Nelson, Baptist tutor at St Hild College, Yorkshire.

The group aims to promote resources for building just churches, structures and processes and offer support when things go wrong, as well as networking with other regional and national hubs. Initially group members will work with a small number of churches to encourage them to be the best they can be in welcoming and including all. Their emphasis will be on walking with individuals and churches. Biblical justice is not primarily about ‘my rights’ but giving justice to another and taking a risk to do this takes us on an exciting journey of transformative reflection and encounter.

Carol writes: “What does the word Justice mean to me?  Issues of Justice and Poverty are mentioned in the Scriptures over 2100 times. Our guide for life. The Oxford English Dictionary definition of Justice: Just behaviour or treatment - ‘a concern for justice, peace, and genuine respect for people’.

“We believe all people are made in the image of God. How then can justice for all not be at the centre of all the we are and all that we do? Be that putting out the bin for your elderly neighbour, supporting your local food bank, lobbying your local MP on issues of justice or providing meals for children in your locality during school holidays who depend on free school meals in term time.”

James adds: “Justice is always a core function of God's love and one that as Baptists we are passionate about living out. The opportunity for us to continually move forward in Yorkshire by loving well in and through our church activities is vital.

“As a group we seek to highlight areas of prejudice, or lack of awareness and understanding through the work of the justice hub. We desire to remove unintentional non-Scriptural caps on people's experience and potential inside (and outside) the church by resourcing the wider family of churches." 

This article first appeared on the website of the Yorkshire Baptist Association, and is republished with permission

Baptist Times, 26/06/2017
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