Answering the Cry
By Jeff McKinnon
The Bible says, "Whoever shuts their ears to the cry of the poor will also cry out and not be answered." (Proverbs 21:13).
What is Converge?
On the 17th August, 23 Tasmanian Baptist leaders from around the state met in Longford to prepare to speak out for the needs of those most in need of help - the global poor, refugees and survivors of domestic violence.
In August and September, Tasmanian Baptist teams will visit the local member in each of our five federal electorates, and to as many of our twelve senators as possible as part of Converge 2021.
Previously, Converge has been a gathering of Baptist leaders in Canberra. It is organised by Australian Baptist Ministries utilising the resources of A Just Cause, Baptist World Aid Australia, BaptistCare and the each state's Baptist Union.
Pictured: Attendees at Riverlands, Longford
In the past, just three representatives have been involved from Tasmania each year. Due to Covid-19, participation in 2021 has been expanded and training was conducted online. As well as gaining valuable information on the global poor, refugees and domestic violence, the training provided excellent guidance on how to set up and conduct visits to politicians.
Australian Baptist Ministries has produced a great report, Social Justice 2021, offering information on eight key topics. It is anticipated that this will be updated every couple of years. A copy of the Report will be presented to each of our political representatives.
In Tasmania, a coordinator has been appointed in each electorate. Converge 2021 is being rolled out by our Social Justice Taskforce in liaison with the Mission Director.
Rodney Marshall - Riverlands, Longford
As the Tasmanian Baptists' Administrator, I wanted to take the chance to learn the process used in Converge, and to understand the types of topics being discussed. As a Pastor, I wanted to express my desire to see change in the way vulnerable people (women/refugees/poor) are treated, and to increase my understanding of domestic violence.
Louis Fife - Ulverstone
The purpose and reason behind my decision to join the Converge 21 for this time, is the stir in my heart is to see the church take its rightful place of influence in care and witness. The church is a very powerful body and represents a wonderful opportunity to engage and be seen to be the answer.
As someone once said, "the church is the hope of the world." May we find our voice once again, not so much political voice, but a kingdom voice.
Matt Garvin - Citywide, Mornington/Lenah Valley
Our church has been talking for some time about what it means to actively engage in issues of justice in the broader community. Ten of us made it to the Converge conference because we saw that when the Baptist churches work together in areas like these we are much more effective. The work the different Baptist agencies have done in putting together the JUSTICE 2021 report gives us a credibility and tangible way forward that we simply could not do on our own. We are looking forward to presenting all our federal politicians with the report, and the opportunity it gives us for proactive engagement with our representatives.
Michael Henderson - Mission and Leadership Development
I am involved in Converge because I believe our government can make a difference, especially when the community is clear with them about where we would like to see changed.
READ MORE IN THIS EDITION OF ADVANCE | step by step
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