Poverty, domestic violence, slavery, environmental sustainability and ethical consumerism are very real issues in our world. Its easy to get overwhelmed or feel powerless to do anything significant, considering the weight and complexity of these challenges, because – what can one person do? However the power of one, or some, is better than none.

Our Catalyst Group (above), in partnership with Baptist World Aid  explore areas of social justice and how we can be the change in them. While ‘social justice’ can be a catch-all buzz word that is ascribed to many things, we see it as a movement towards a socially just world in light of Jesus’s great love, care and justice towards us – and his encouragement to go and do likewise for others.

There are two social justice areas that we will be focusing on collaboratively as a community at GBC: Domestic Violence and Ethical Consumerism. Both are complex topics which we are beginning to unpack and understand what it means to speak up and act for justice in them.

Domestic Violence

In 2018, almost 210,000 women living in Australia will experience violence at the hands of an intimate partner. We believe that all people are created in God’s image, loved and valued by their Creator, and should be treated with equal regard – without violence, or controlling abusive behaviour. At GBC we are ‘creating a place of safety and respect’. In partnership with Australian Baptist Ministries, we are seeking to be actively involved in eliminating Domestic Violence within our local community and the Sutherland Shire.

We have been involved in the Sutherland Shire White Ribbon Walk since its inception and we are engaging in ongoing learning, conversation and strategic discussions on how we can be the change in our community.

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence and you need assistance:

If you are in immediate danger call: 000

1800 Respect National Helpline: 1800 737 732

Lifeline: 13 11 14 

Ethical Consumerism

The International Labour Organisation estimates that currently 24.9 million people are in ‘forced labour’ exploitation and 152 million child labourers are scattered across the global economy. Many of this number are forced to work long hours in terrible conditions on farms and factories that resource the apparel, technology and consumable goods industries, or even our food supply chains. For millions of others working in various industries which our consumable goods rely upon, wages remain so low that they are unable to lift themselves and their families out of poverty.

While we’d hope for a world without slavery, do we passively support it through our unconscious everyday consumption? Ethical consumerism firstly invites us to be ‘conscious consumers’ thinking about how much do we consume? Is it necessary? Is it sustainable? Where does it come from? And is it ethical? Ethical meaning – have those involved in its production received a living wage, safe and healthy working conditions and fair and equitable treatment. Furthermore, it invites us to activism to speak out against systemic injustice, to vote with our purchasing power and keep informed about supply chains.

In the advent of constantly stocked goods on shop shelves, seemingly never-ending food supplies in our supermarkets and fast fashion that is just “so cheap” – who really pays the price? Its never in fashion if our luxury means someone else’s poverty and this is why we’re exploring this area, so that we can be the change to see love & justice prevail.

GBC has launched the 2018 Ethical Fashion Guide with Gershon Nimbalker, one of the Lead Researchers of this resource.

For the past several years, we have also been running the GBC Fair Trade Market to support fair trade projects in over 30 nations, which gives people a living wage, hope and life. Our next GBC Fair Trade Market is on 5-9pm Friday 2nd November 2018.