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Category: Social justice Page 1 of 2

ABM Myanmar event image

Pentecost Sunday Taize and ABM fundraiser for Myanmar

Our joint Pentecost service with St Margaret’s is 9.30am 5 June. In addition, Holy Cross is delighted to host an ABM fundraiser for people of Myanmar suffering from Covid-19 and military repression. Anglican Board of Mission Canberra is working through its Anglican partner, the Church of the Province of Myanmar, leading this initiative.

  • Join us for a special ecumenical Taizé service at 5pm
  • Hear first-hand (illustrated) stories from ABM’s 2020 pilgrimage to Myanmar.
  • Enjoy a sumptuous supper of authentic Myanmar food with wine or fruit juice (no charge).
  • Have an opportunity to donate to the ABM’s tax-deductible Myanmar Emergency appeal (cash or credit card). (This event is now over).

National Reconciliation Week services: ACT joint churches and at Holy Cross

Ecumenical service of reconciliation and healing at the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture

This year the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity coincides with National Reconciliation Week. ACT Churches have organised an ecumenical service of reconciliation and healing, followed by refreshments.

4.30pm Sunday 29 May
Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture
15 Blackall Street, Barton

All are welcome to gather for the lighting of the fire at 4pm at the Meeting Place fire circle. The service will begin outside at 4.30pm, before moving inside to the Chapel after sunset at 5pm.

The service will include an act of acknowledgement and commemoration led by Making Peas/ce reconiliation ministry, focussing on colonial era conflicts.

Please invite your friends and download and share the poster.

At this time, the ACT Churches Council invite all Canberra churches to reflect on how to listen to the “Uluru Statement from the Heart” and respond in real and practical ways.

Our 9am morning service at Holy Cross Hackett on Sunday 29 May will focus on how Holy Cross can respond to the call from the Uluru Statement from the Heart, reflect on our journey and commitment for reconciliation, and understand our own place in this wider story.

God’s Mercy in the Economy

The fourth Sunday of Lent saw our Lenten series God’s Mercy in our World continue with Diwa Hopkins speaking on God’s Mercy in the Economy. You can listen again here:

native pea bush in front of fire-impacted landscape

Lenten series on God’s Mercy

Our Lenten worship in Holy Cross this year focuses on God’s Mercy in our World through a series of sermons from our Holy Cross and wider community.

The series opened on the 2nd Sunday in Lent with a talk on God’s Mercy for the Environment. You can listen to it again here.

God’s Mercy for the Environment, 2nd Sunday in Lent, Holy Cross Hackett

For the 3rd Sunday in Lent, we heard from St John’s Care on the critical work they do caring for members of our community who are facing hard times, and the importance of mercy at these times for helping people facing hardship get back on their feet. This is a window into God’s Mercy for society. As part of hearing God’s call for mercy in society, at Holy Cross our Lenten journey includes a renewed focus on our weekly giving to St John’s Care.

Tomorrow we will hear about God’s Mercy in the Economy.

We invite you to join us in our journey, in worship and through these podcasts. And as we walk together we invite you to ask how God is calling you in your heart to be part of God’s mercy for our world.

Sustainability in the ACT: Community conversation with Shane Rattenbury

Saturday 2 October, 4pm AEST – click to join here via Zoom

ACT Attorney General and Minister for Water, Energy and Emissions Reduction Shane Rattenbury will discuss the ACT’s progress toward 100% renewable electricity, the future of gas and environmental sustainability issues one year on from the 2020 ACT election. 

He will be quizzed by young people in his electorate.

The event, part of the Sustaining Our Future Festival 2021 which is this year online, is hosted by the Social Justice and Environment Group, Holy Cross Anglican and St Margaret’s Uniting in Hackett, Canberra.

Sustaining Our Future Festival – online!

Welcome to our spring Sustainability Festival in partnership with St Margaret’s Uniting Church, which this year is entirely online. All events are free, open to all, and can be accessed via the usual Holy Cross Zoom link: https://adcg.zoom.us/j/5675297261  

As part of the Festival, below you’ll find a gallery of images that celebrate nature / sustainability / the environment and/or the challenges of community during the pandemic. There will be a special section of the gallery especially for younger members, so please encourage our Holy Cross kids / youth to submit their photos and artwork. Please email contributions to gallery@holycrosshackett.org.au

COP26 : Australia and avoiding dangerous climate change

Jamie Isbister, Ambassador for the Environment on the upcoming UN Climate Talks in Glasgow, in conversation with young people in Canberra

Saturday 18 September, 4pm AEST – click to join here via Zoom

What is COP26 and what will it achieve?

Jamie Isbister, Australia’s Ambassador for the Environment heads to Glasgow in late October as part of the Australian delegation to the United Nations conference. COP26 will bring parties together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Isbister will outline the goals and challenges of the meeting as Australia comes under increased pressure to do more.

The event, part of a Sustainability Festival which is this year online, is hosted by the Social Justice and Environment Group Holy Cross Anglican and St Margaret’s Uniting in Hackett, Canberra. 

Close up of colourful patchwork blanket

Knitted blankets warming peoples facing homelessness

The Holy Cross stitching group has been making knitted blankets for homeless people. This was a collective effort of the seven ladies in the group. The stitchers knitted squares and then sewed them together with a crocheted border. There are between 96 to 108 squares in the blanket. Contact admin@holycrosshackett.org.au for more information about the blankets and the work of our stitching group.

How good is your chocolate? Your Chocolate Ethical Shopping Guide

At Holy Cross, as we prepare for Easter, we have been thinking about chocolate as a consumer choice and as something we enjoy at the end of Lent to celebrate new life in the risen Jesus.

Block of chocolate and cocoa beans

Easter is the biggest chocolate shopping time of the year. But what’s really going into the chocolate we buy? There’s more than cocoa, dairy and sugar, there are hidden costs for vulnerable people, impoverished communities, and the environment.

Be Slavery FreeGreen AmericaINKOTAMighty Earth, and National Wildlife Federation surveyed the world’s biggest chocolate companies to find out what they are doing to eliminate child labour from their supply chains, ensure farmers make a living income from their work, and prevent environmental damage caused by deforestation. 

They have given each company a score across different categories so that you can buy Easter chocolates from the heart knowing which ones could be tainted by child labour and deforestation.

Download the Easter Chocolate Shopping Guide here

Easter and Social Justice

Chocolate’s great but tainted by child labour. Here’s what you can do about it.

Block of chocolate and cocoa beans

Lent is a good time to consider how we celebrate Easter. In our religious and our secular lives, it’s increasingly mediated by chocolate eggs, not only on Easter Sunday but in the days before!

What do we know about the production of retail chocolate? Where does it come from? And how does it stack up against social justice Christian principles? 

We know that the countries producing cocoa, much poorer than ours, are certainly not the ones consuming it. Australia is a growing market among traditional high-income countries.

What might come as a greater surprise is that hazardous child labour is widespread and growing

A recent report from the University of Chicago, commissioned by the US Department of Labor, finds that there are more children, as young as five, working in the sector than there were in 2008-09. 

In Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire in West Africa, where two thirds of the world’s cocoa is produced, an estimated 1.5 million children and teens under the age of 17 produce cocoa in dangerous conditions.

Minors use sharp tools such as machetes, carry heavy loads, burn fields and use other herbicides without protective gear.

Under pressure to produce ever-bigger yields, producers are using increasing amounts of toxic agrochemicals to control weeds and spreading into new areas cleared by deforestation.

The 300-page report details shocking injuries including wounds and cuts, back pain, fatigue, broken bones and burns. 

Children told researchers they would prefer working in almost any other related industry because it would not be as exhausting and dangerous.

As Christians we should be unnerved. We are taught not just to respect other people but also support them to flourish, whatever their condition or stage of development. 

The least we can do is try to prevent harm. 

And, there are plenty of references in the Bible extolling honourable and enjoyable work rather than exploitative “toilsome labour under the sun”. 

Back in 2001, big brands Mondelez, Nestle, Mars, Ferrero, Hershey and Lindt and the US multinational Cargill that collects much of the cocoa signed the ground-breaking Harkin Engel Protocol and the Framework of Action to Support Implementation of the protocol with cocoa industry representatives and the governments of Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, undertaking to eliminate child labour and certified employmehnt practices. 

Because the companies insisted they could self-regulate the protocol became a non-binding, although legal, agreement. 

Twenty years on, its aims are far from realised.

The root cause of child labour is, of course, extreme poverty. COVID-19 has made things worse. Cocoa farmers currently earn less than A$2 a day. Estimates suggest if they earned just 3% more, they could afford to hire adults to do the hazardous work of handling chemicals and machetes. 

The children and young people labouring in cocoa production would rather be going to school, playing soccer and dreaming of being doctors. Their parents would too.

The sector’s two-decade-old child labour monitoring and remediation systems are not responsive enough. Regulation with penalties would make child labour reforms mandatory.

Big Chocolate finally appears open to a binding agreement as the 20-year protocol reaches its expiry date this year – 2021 – a year the United Nations has co-oincidentally declared the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour.

In response to survey questions prepared by charities, many of them Christian, 75% of companies in the industry backed mandatory due diligence which could include sanctions. 

It’s a good time for Christians and all people of faith to get informed, pray and put prayers into action to help end child labour in the chocolate sector (and elsewhere). Actions you can take today include: 

The Christian mission includes taking action to improve the lives of the most vulnerable. Children forced into involuntary work in the chocolate sector are certainly among them.

When we work to empower people – all image-bearers of the creator God – so they are treated well, social justice becomes part of evangelism. 

It’s an idea well articulated by influential theologian John Stott: “The gospel lacks visibility if we merely preach it, and lacks credibility if we who preach it are only interested in souls and have no concern about the welfare of people’s bodies, situations, and communities.”

Toni Hassan is an adjunct scholar with the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture. She is also a volunteer board director with Be Slavery Free and a member of the community of Holy Cross, Hackett.

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