On my soap box

I’m looking for an old soap box. Can you help?

Once upon a time when people had something to say, they took their soap box into the public square, stood up and spoke up!

Justice and action was part of the DNA of New Zealand society and our Presbyterian Church. We have a proud history of social transformation. We were there in the workplace reform in the late 1800s; in the foundation of Presbyterian Social Services; we were also on the streets for freedom from apartheid; and in the public debate for a nuclear-free land.

Today, our voice is being lost somewhere between the cracks of apathy and social media. The professionalism of care has made us passive in the very thing that we should do best; caring for those on the margins of life.

Our voice has been reduced to clicking “like”. It costs nothing but makes us feel good. That’s not the kind of New Zealand I want to be part of!

What will it take…

260,000 Kiwi kids – 24% of our nation’s children – live in poverty. Would this move you to get on a soap box?

The gap between rich and the poor in New Zealand is growing at a faster rate than other developed countries. Is this a growth statistic you are proud of? Would this move you get on a soap box?

A kiwi family in slavery to loan sharks for the want of money to pay the power bill – would that be enough to you get on a soap box?

Or what about the 35 people who die each year in “God’s Own” as a result of family violence – would that be enough to you get on a soap box?

Or the one child who is killed ever couple of weeks in our land due to violence in their family – would that be enough to you get on a soap box?

Or 2,864 recorded assaults against children in 2014? The real number could be as high as 15,000. Would that be enough to you get on a soap box?

Justice & Action (produced by PresCare the partnership between the Church and Presbyterian Support) contains information that will bring you to tears. If it doesn’t, please immediately go to your doctor and check that you still have a heart.

This booklet is a call to the Church to come back into the public square and speak up for those who have no voice!

This booklet is a call to act, pray and love. Can you do that?

This booklet is an inspirational resource of little ideas taking root and making a huge difference, and is designed to help you find your voice and to empower your action. It is a coming together of Presbyterian Support and the Church in a partnership – PresCare.

If one person can make a world of difference, just imagine what we could do if we worked together!

Thanks are recorded in the booklet, but I would like to offer a very BIG thank you to Anne Overton from Presbyterian Support Northern, my fellow dreamer and visionary, for making this happen!

Now it’s up to you. What will it take to get you on a soap box of action, prayer and love?

Rt Rev Andrew Norton
Moderator Presbyterian Church Aotearoa New Zealand

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