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Helping is a two-way street

Posted on: July 22, 2013 2:19 PM
“Together” is the title of a DVD produced by the Christchurch Anglican Social Justice Unit
Photo Credit: Christchurch Anglican Social Justice Unit
Related Categories: New Zealand, Social Justice

[Anglican Taonga] "Together" is the title of a DVD produced by the Christchurch Anglican Social Justice Unit as a resource for Social Service Sunday (July 28).

Social justice enabler Jolyon White says Social Service Sunday reminds us each year of the need to get involved with the marginalised and vulnerable. 

In the DVD justice worker Kate Day reflects on “Social Exposure,” a course run by the Christchurch Social Justice Unit.

She comes to realise what we do not always hear about getting involved: that helping is a two-way street. We gain as much as we give, and may even be in just as much need.

Jolyon says: “There are huge advantages to the professionalisation of church social services. But there’s a danger also.

“When social services become something done for the church by a professional body to which we need only contribute money, the congregation can lose the personal relationships that transform and heal everyone involved.

“In Matthew 25 Jesus says that in giving water to the thirsty and visiting those in prison we actually meet Jesus.”

• Watch the "Together" DVD here .

Beyond self-medication

The theme of this year’s Social Services Sunday is “Called and Empowered to Serve,” and Archbishop David Moxon sees a major challenge for all to move closer to those on the margins.

“For some years now the volunteer social service numbers have been shrinking,” he says. “It’s easy to retreat into cyberspace or consumerism, or to anaesthetize ourselves from the wider community, particularly where it is hurting or where people are pushed to the margins.

“Quite often it is possible to not only walk by on the other side, but to not even see the woundedness on the other side at all. The Gospel moves us in the opposite direction, towards the neighbour, towards the wounds and towards the margins.

“This perhaps explains why the volunteer cohort in Aotearoa-New Zealand is peopled by Christians more than any other group. We are challenged and mobilized by the reading in the Liturgy for Social Service Sunday this year: Matthew 10:32-42.

“This is a challenge to go searching, beyond our television and beyond our self-medication into the world of the least, the lost and the last. We will find Jesus there already, beyond, the eyes of the poor.

“Social Service Sunday looks us in the eye and invites us, once again, to look the world in the eye with the courage and compassion of Christ. This is where we will find him.”