On Friday 3 July, at the Bryant and May match factory in Bow, ‘Marching for Justice: Community Organising and The Salvation Army’ (click to download PDF) was launched. In a hot bar, packed to the rafters we remembered the brave match-girls who had fought for and won justice. We felt like we were standing on holy ground, a ‘thin place’, where heaven and earth collided – a place where justice had flowed like a river.
Stories were shared, modern-day tales of justice-seeking in the East End of London and beyond. We heard testimonies from those who were working on prophetic alternatives to London’s housing crisis, drawing on the pain of their own experiences and building power with others to bring change. And we challenged ourselves to get out of our halls, build relationships, analyse the power structures in our neighbourhoods, train up leaders, and take creative public action on issues of injustice.
We closed with this adapted Franciscan Blessing:
May God bless us with discomfort at easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships, so that we may live deeper with others and him.
May God bless us with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that we may work for, and not simply speak about, justice, freedom, and peace.
May God bless us with tears to shed with those who suffer from pain, rejection, hunger, and war, so that we may reach out our hands to comfort them and together turn our pain into joy.
And may God bless us with enough foolishness to believe that we can make a difference in this world, so that we can do what others claim cannot be done, to bring justice and kindness to the whole world.