Social Justice Taskforce Monthly Bytes

Take on social justice in bite-sized chunks


Welcome to the second “Monthly Byte” prepared by the Tasmanian Baptist Social Justice Taskforce.

Each month there will be a “byte” addressing a critical social justice issue in our society.

In June, our focus is on Refugee Settlement in Tasmania.  Jeff McKinnon, from City Baptist in Launceston, has provided some powerful information including data, some great videos, prayers and some suggested actions.


First some facts: Refugee Settlement

CNN TV reporter, Peter Arnett, was on assignment in Palestine when a bomb exploded killing and injuring many. A man carrying a critically injured beautiful little girl begged Peter for help to get to the nearest hospital. Doctors did all they could for her, but the little girl died. Arnett didn’t know what to say. He said to the man that he couldn’t imagine what he was going through losing his daughter. The man looked up with tears running down his face:

“That girl was not my daughter. I am an Israeli settler. She was Palestinian. But there comes a time when each of us must realise that every child is a son or a daughter.”

The Jewish scriptures share that view. God’s people are to care for the vulnerable, including those seeking refuge a long way from home. Read Leviticus 19:33-34 and Deuteronomy 10:17-19.

These themes were picked up by Jesus, see for example, Luke 10:25-27. In turn the early church understood the primacy of love, see Romans 12:9-21.

There are about 65 million people right now who have had to flee their home because of war, famine or floods. About half of these are children.

Refugee policy has been a troubled area in Australian politics over the past two decades. There are of course valid issues to be considered. But refugee policy has often been no more than a ‘political football’. Treating people like that has deeply concerned many Christians and denominations, including Australian Baptists. For more information CLICK HERE >>>

Refugees in Tasmania

Tasmania has seen a rapid influx of other nationalities over the past 30 years, including many refugees. These have included Nepalese (Nepal and Bhutan), Hazara (Afghanistan), Karen and Chin (both Myanmar) and Africans (eg Sudan, Nigeria, Eritrea).

Hobart, Citywide, Gateway and City Baptist Churches now all have close ties with refugee communities. We now have an opportunity to welcome people from diverse backgrounds into our communities and churches.


Videos

Here is a sample of short videos that could be used in services or small groups. Alternatively the link could be distributed throughout your church via email, to be watched at home.

For views on the streets regarding refugees in Australia (in 1979) Click HERE >>> or watch below


For an overview of the history of refugee policy Click HERE >>> or watch below


For legal explanation of Australia’s policies see Prof. Jane McAdam Click HERE >>> or watch below


In the ABC show, You Can’t Ask That, refugees reveal their experiences Click HERE >>> or watch below


One family on Nauru, as told by Canadian TV Click HERE >>> or watch below


Action:  so what can we do?

Love without action is not love at all. 1 John 3:18.

Pray: for internally displaced persons and asylum seekers everywhere and refugees settled in Tasmania.

Learn: Who are the communities in Tasmania? Ask our churches engaged with refugees or look up the websites of the Migrant Resource Centre, Multicultural Council of Tasmania or the Refugee Council of Australia.

Read:  Scott Higgins’ book, Boundless Plains to Share?

Behrouz Boochani’s book, No Friend But The Mountain

Refugee Settlement Books

Contact local member: Contact your local federal member expressing your concern about how poorly refugees are being settled in Tasmania in recent years.

Should you require more information or wish to talk about this issue you can email Jeff McKinnon, jeff@citybaptistchurch.net


Some Prayers . . .

Lord,

No one is a stranger to you

and no one is ever far from your loving care

In your kindness watch over refugees and asylum seekers,

those separated from their loved ones,

those who are lost,

and those who have been exiled from their homes.

Bring them safely to the place where they long to be,

and help us always to show your kindness to strangers and those in need.

Australian Catholic Social Justice Council


Father, countless lives of Your precious children have been taken by terrible conflicts.

Even in humanitarian crises, we want to remember that you deeply love all children.

Please carry them safely through conflict, hold them closely in places of refuge and wrap them in your tender compassion.

May their fathers, mothers, teachers and community leaders seek to protect them from the severity of pain.

For our Christian brothers and sisters, help them to teach their children about Your love in the midst of unimaginable struggles.

Make us into people who love and stand up for the most vulnerable.

Transform our hearts that we may remember to always pray, seeking Your wisdom and grace. Through Christ our Lord, Amen

Baptist World Aid Australia (adapted)