This article by Jonathan Robinson caught my attention earlier today, and I think it is worth sharing. I have had to edit it down a bit to fit in the happenings, but you can read the full article here.
"Who’s on your fridge? One of the things we (the Robinsons) have done as a family is sponsor a child in a developing country for every one of our children.
As our family grew, so did the pictures of other people’s children on our fridge. We knew we would put so much love, concern and resources into our own offspring, so we felt we also wanted to make a difference for families who didn’t have the same advantages. It’s great to know that because of us these children are supported and cared for by Christian charities like World Vision and Tearfund. But recently I’ve been wondering about all the children that don’t have sponsorship. How can we work towards a safer and fairer world for all God’s children?
In 1807, Great Britain passed the “Slave Trade Act” effectively outlawing the practice of slavery in the British Empire and setting a precedent that most other nations would eventually follow. The key leader of the twenty-year long campaign that led to the adoption of the act was an evangelical Christian, William Wilberforce, whose saw his political work as the outworking of his faith in Jesus Christ. Up to that point, many in British society had seen slavery as moral, necessary and economically beneficial. In fact, as history would show, they were wrong on all three counts.
Because of Wilberforce and the many other abolitionists of the 18th century and following, slavery is illegal in almost all countries of the world and is now globally recognised as a moral wrong and a breach of human rights. However, making something illegal does not necessarily stop it from happening. The sad truth is that an estimated 40.3 million people worldwide are subject to modern slavery (ILO estimate). While legal slavery is no longer a possibility, many are enslaved by illegal methods: for example, children are sold to work in brothels and factories; migrants workers have their documents taken; debtors are blackmailed; gangs threaten families if workers don’t comply; and corruption helps keep the criminals safe.
This has a moral impact upon us in Aotearoa New Zealand. Because of the sheer numbers of those caught up in slavery, our consumer products from overseas, like food, clothing and electronics, potentially involve slave labour at some point in their supply chain. Our cheap goods often come at the price of someone else’s freedom, but up to now many companies have been able to deny this as they can maintain (or feign) ignorance of how their goods are produced. Are we okay with the idea that the things we buy in the shops are made by slaves while others profit from their oppression? The International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates USD150 billion of illegal profits are made from slavery yearly, and these profits, of course, will go on to fund further illegal activity. Some of that money comes from our wallets – it is surely time for Christians to pick up again where Wilberforce left off.
Right now, the New Zealand government is considering legislation that will make it a requirement for larger companies to take action if they become aware of slavery or other types of worker exploitation, and to require them to take due diligence to understand the supply chains they use and ensure those who work for their company directly and indirectly are treated fairly and not exploited against their will. As you’re no doubt aware, if we don’t get it right this time around, it will likely be years before another opportunity like this arises. This is why it is critical that people of Christian faith, who believe in the dignity of human beings made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27), and the ideal of freedom granted to us by Christ (Galatians 5:1), make our voices heard and ensure that the government create legislation that goes beyond “virtue signalling” and really creates change. In my opinion it is vital that companies are not allowed to turn a “blind eye” and implicate us all in their disregard for human freedom, but should be expected to ensure the wellbeing of those who work for them and for their suppliers. To be effective I think there needs to be significant enforcement and deterrent punishment for offenders (both individuals and corporations). When there are real financial and legal consequences for companies who are complicit in slavery, attitudes and behaviour will change, just as they did after 1807.
Time is short, the deadline for submissions is 5pm on the 7th of June (2022). You can make a submission in less than five minutes by visiting wvnz.org.nz/submit-to-support What’s stopping you?..."
Nāku iti nei, nā,
This Sunday: Lies that Churches (sometimes) Tech.
Spark and Blaze programmes begin again this Sunday! Come join us 🙂
Youth Group is back for term 2! Stay tuned for more details.
Time: 10 am (during the Sunday morning gathering)
Date: Every Sunday during school term
Bible Study Connect Group
Come along this Thursday at 10:30am, either physically or on zoom to enjoy a new video series by N.T. Wright and Michael Bird on the 'world' that the New Testament came out of. Please contact Murray for more details!
Worship This Sunday: Gathered AND Online
It was so exciting to be back together in our church building again! We will be doing it again this week at 10am (with masks and vaccine passports)!
There will also be an online service available to view, and a link will be sent out to you at 10am on Sunday morning.
Prayer Connection Points
Come along to a prayer gathering at the church lounge Thursdays from 11:30am-12:00pm. Masks are required. Also, On Mondays from 12:00 – 12:30pm there will be an Online Prayer Gathering for half an hour via zoom. Contact the office if you would like the meeting link and passcode.
The Book Club has chosen their first book - "One Soul At A Time" - a biography of Billy Graham. Please contact Carolina at the church office if you want to join - it's not too late!
If you or others you know are having to isolate because of covid, please contact the office.
We are back... And back in the building! We will be meeting at 10am in the RBC lounge.
Thursday Morning Bible Study Group
Every Thursday morning at 10:30am in the church lounge. We are currently looking at the Letters that Paul wrote. Please email the church to be added to the Facebook page, and check Facebook for updates of what we have going on. We'd love for you to join us! Please note that masks are required.
Thursday Prayer Group
Every Thursday in the church lounge from 11:30am - 12:00 pm. Contact the office for more information. Please note that masks are required.
Monday Zoom Prayer Group
From 12:00 – 12:30pm on Zoom. Contact the office if you would like the zoom link to be sent to you.
Thursday Night Book Club
Every Thursday from 7:30pm via Zoom. Contact the office if you would like the zoom link to be sent to you.
Young Adults Home Group
Every Sunday evening at 7:30pm. Please email the church to be added to the Facebook page, and check Facebook for updates of what we have going on. We'd love for you to join us!
Wednesday Night Home Group
Thursday Morning Home Group