Peace & Social Justice

PSJ (Peace and Social Justice) action has long been a part of Unitarianism in Auckland. A small active group of members decided that they wanted to do more than talk about issues, they felt they needed to walk that talk. To do this, they decided to start building a special Peace and Social Justice Fund, and from 2006 onwards regular pledging by these members began. The aim has been to focus efforts where the PSJ group felt they could make a real difference. Also much of About Us / Our History / The communion of Unitarian Saints is concerned with Peace and Social Justice issues.

Revisiting Ramadan

with Rev. Clay Nelson

Revisiting Ramadan
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Clay Nelson © 5 May 2019

If you live in Aotearoa New Zealand there are a few positives that have resulted from the horror of March 15, which doesn’t mean the price wasn’t way too high. New gun laws passed nearly unanimously within a couple weeks that have banned automatic and semiautomatic weapons. National and international efforts are ongoing to reign in social media as platforms for hate speech. In depth debates to distinguish free speech from hate speech fill public discourse. And in my mind, a greater recognition by non-Muslims that Muslims are not the threat they have been painted to be since 9/11 and continue to be by Trump and other politicians. They are more often the victims of violence than its perpetrators. They need protection from every religion’s far right fundamentalists as much as anybody else. The outpouring of support for the victims and the Muslim community shown at vigils, burying the local mosques with flowers of condolence, the raising of money for the victims’ families, concerts in support of the Muslim community, the government’s paying for the funerals and fast-tracking visa applications, non-Muslim women wearing hijabs in solidarity with their sisters, and mosques opening their doors to their non-Muslim neighbours to share their faith to build bridges have been transforming acts. We are not who we used to be. From my perspective, we are better than we used to be before March 15.

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Indian students granted new visas two years after deportation

We’re very pleased that 3 of the Indian Students we gave sanctuary from deportation in 2017 have been granted permission to return to this country; although saddened that 1 has had permission refused.

As reported by RNZ Checkpoint on 23rd April 2019.

Followed by an interview with immigration lawyer Alistair McClymont detailing the background to this.

Proposed Gun Law Changes

As announced in this week’s newsletter, the PSJ Group has prepared a formal comment for government on the proposed gun law changes. Brenda has been the driving force in this and is doing an excellent job. It looks like there will be a truncated select committee process to hear public submissions on the drafting of the bill. However, comments have already been called for by the PM and that is what we will be sending to government at this stage.

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Duffy Books – Role Model Assembly

On Friday, 29th March 2019, Gary and Brenda Bendall, Paul Henriques and Angela Wadham attended the Role Model Assembly at Glen Taylor School, Glendowie, on behalf of the church, and assisted in the Duffy presentation of books to pupils. It was a pleasure to be part of this school event, and our Church was thanked by students for our sponsorship.

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