‘Learn to do good, seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.’ (Isa 1:17)
‘Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations…’ (Isa 42:4, Matt 12:18)
‘Blessed are the peace-makers, for they will be called children of God.’ (Matt 5:9)
‘Always be ready to give an account of the hope that is in you …’ 1 Pet 3:15
‘. … we wish to acknowledge the important dimensions of mission as God’s reaching out to all of creation, challenging our structures as well as our souls, our communities as well as our churches. After a consideration of the nature of mission and evangelism, therefore, we turn towards a consideration of the wider claims of the Gospel – oriented towards human and social justice and care for God’s creation.’
‘. As Bishops, we must model and encourage others to live out their faith in Christ in a way which demonstrates our commitment to these issues. The Bishops’ role in all of this is to enable communities of faith to be agents of transformation and reconciliation. We commit ourselves to discerning and interpreting local needs in a way that leads to action, because this is being prophetic. Taking due regard of local contexts, we commit ourselves to advocating and lobbying (government, agencies, business, ecumenical, inter-faith partners and any other appropriate agencies or bodies) on the many issues of social justice we find in our world.’
– Indaba Reflections, paragraphs 20 and 58, (Lambeth Conference 2008)
The task team notes that the Church’s public advocacy is aimed at strengthening the moral underpinnings of society and the fulfilment of God’s desire for a better quality of life for God’s people, and for respect for the dignity of every individual through social justice, an equitable economy, and environmental integrity. Through its public advocacy, the Church aspires to offer a public witness to the Lordship of Christ, to embody a universal neighbourhood, to serve the common good, to care for the environment, and to act and speak truth to power, insisting on accountability in government, society, and Church across all the nations of our Province.
It therefore identifies two goals:
- to make the voice of the church, and ACSA in particular, heard locally, nationally, and globally in ecumenical and inter-faith settings, in politics, in business, in labour, and in civil society in general.
- to strengthen our public advocacy through research, networking, and communications. This includes:
-supporting other task teams & leaders of our church – including the Archbishop and bishops – and structures of the church for broad impact and advocacy
-developing and capacitating diocesan advocacy teams
-strengthening and sharpening our research and facilitation capacities so as to build up our resources to do this work
–identifying new issues which may arise, and identifying the appropriate advocacy and developmental structures in the Church to take up these issues-collaborating with other similarly-focused bodies and institutions in achieving the above.
The task team proposes that the scope and priorities of the current position of Public Policy Officer be clarified, along with the structuring and resourcing of this work. They suggest the following terms of reference:
- to receive requests from and respond to diocesan and Provincial leadership structures in the field of public advocacy
- to raise new issues requiring public advocacy for action by the Church
- to liaise with, inform and guide diocesan advocacy teams, other Provincial task teams, and the diocesan and Provincial leadership of the Church in public advocacy work;
- to help establish the respective roles and tasks of diocesan and Provincial advocacy teams;
- to build capacity for research, fact-finding, and collation of information; to disseminate information, to facilitate wider communications and to develop training capacity for public advocacy work generally, and specifically in the church.
A framework for action planning is set out, followed by a table of advocacy-related objectives for the eight task teams involved in this Vision process. Both appear to require more work, particularly on time frames and costs.