Guest post by Lt-Col Dean Pallant
The International Social Justice Commission was established by The Salvation Army in 2007 and mandated to assist The Salvation Army address “social injustice in a systemic, measured, proactive and Christian manner”. Much progress has been made in developing foundational resources, (books, positional statements, etc) and strengthening relationships with major global organisations such as the World Bank and the United Nations. However, the ISJC has also always emphasised the importance of people seeking after justice in their locality. The small ISJC team based in New York, Geneva and Nairobi is determined to support corps and social centres to seek justice in the local community and not just address the macro international problems.
The publication of “Marching Towards Justice” is an excellent example of Salvationists doing/being/living social justice just where they are. To be completely transparent, I must admit knowing Major Janet Martin, the Cokes and the Cliftons for many years. These are all people of integrity who live out their convictions. They build relationships across boundaries and, in so doing, sow seeds of justice which regularly produce Kingdom fruit.
I particularly appreciated the section in ‘Marching Towards Justice” which re-membered the history of Salvation Army social justice. Too often we think Salvation Army pioneers achieved change on our own. This booklet is an important reminder of the importance of partnerships in the fight for social justice. The approaches and tools outlined in the booklet are practical, workable and can be used by our partners as well as Salvationists.
These case studies of work in London are a small snapshot of a wider movement across The Salvation Army. There are many examples from Chicago to Johannesburg, Auckland to Santiago, Sydney to Mumbai where Salvationists are marching towards justice. However, there are still too few pockets of impact – the ISJC is keen to support and enable the mobilisation of the whole Army in the fight for God’s justice in every dark corner of the world. Our website at www.salvationarmy.org/isjc will be relaunched before the end of August and we hope will better resource a grassroots movement for justice across The Salvation Army.