God calls the church to seek justice in the world and Jesus preached the politics of the reign of God. By the Spirit, God is present in the world as the source of all goodness and justice. God’s justice is established as we deal fairly with each other and as we strive to change oppressive customs and practices that destroy human dignity. Justice is a search for the best ways to create well-being in society and so justice-seeking focuses on issues such as employment, education, health, politics and public policy, the environment as well as rights and responsibilities.

Identifying and acknowledging where there is injustice in the world and working to change it is part of its calling to continue Christ’s ministry of reconciliation. All the church says, does and is silent on stands as a public witness to how the body of Christ lives and acts in the world.

Part of the church’s public witness involves engaging in advocacy on important social issues. Even as we look within the church to perceive where we have fallen short (for continuous reformation is necessary) the church properly uses its voice to call on those in power to help shape the kind of world that allows all creation to flourish.

This letter-writing resource is intended to help individuals and churches work together in the collective reflection and advocacy as part of the church’s participation in God’s mission in the world and living out our prayer that God’s will is done on earth and in our neighbourhoods, families, workplaces, halls of justice and churches as they are in heaven.

Letter Writing

Gathered here are letters that The Presbyterian Church in Canada has written or endorsed on six important social issues. Each section contains a brief description of the issue and some context, a link to the original letter the church sent in response to the issue, and a template that can be adapted and used.

It is possible to select one, two or several of the themes—each section can be used independently or in combination with any of the other sections. There are also links to additional resources to help individuals and congregations learn more about the issues, and a prayer for each that can be adapted.

The resource can be used in many ways. It can be used as a seasonal project during Advent, Lent or leading up to Christ the King Sunday. It could also be used with a Bible Study on the prophets or in a new members/confirmation class or as part of an education series with young adults and the Session.

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National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

In June 2019, the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls released its final report, Reclaiming Power and Place containing 231 recommendations, called “Calls for Justice.” The report documents the systemic callousness and racism that have led to Indigenous women and girls being targeted for violence, why this situation has been allowed to continue, and what can be done to stop it. The findings of the Inquiry have been accepted by the Government of Canada, and by the church (A&P 2021 p. 38). The Calls for Justice provide guidance for governments, and all Canadians, to work to end the crisis.

The church is committed, with God’s guidance, to seek healing and wholeness with Indigenous peoples in ways that uphold the United Nation’s Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and which put into meaningful action the church’s rejection of the Doctrine of Discovery (A&P 2019, pp. 35, 368-377). This letter, written in December 2021, witnesses to the lived experiences of targeted violence that Indigenous women and girls face in Canada, and asks the government for information about how it will respond to the Inquiries’ Calls for Justice.

Read the original letter
Write your own letter

Promote in your church
Racism in Canada has targeted Indigenous women and girls and all too often ended in violence. This must stop. Learn, pray and act for justice.

Prayer
Creator God,
You called us to love our neighbour as ourselves
but collectively we have not, and individually we often fall short.
We say we all reflect your image
but when we act, our actions do not match our words.
For those of us living with pain or grief caused by racism and colonialism,
we pray that you send your Spirit to healing and strengthen.
For those of us living with privilege and wondering what to do,
we pray that your Spirit give wisdom and strength to work for the end of systems that oppress.
As Christ came to set captives free,
free us all from those ways of thinking, speaking and acting
that belittle or harm your beloved people
and show us again how to live in your love.
In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

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Breaking Cycles of Violence in Communities

All people desire to live in safe, healthy and thriving communities. When gun violence occurs, it does not just impact individuals, it devastates entire communities, as it did when six worshippers were murdered in a mosque in Quebec City in 2017 and when 22 people were murdered in Nova Scotia in 2020.

While gun control is one measure the church has advocated for, it is imperative to acknowledge the complex intersection of racism, xenophobia, misogyny, economic and social marginalization, isolation, domestic violence, and poverty that are inextricably linked to community wellbeing. Systemic injustices such as these are toxic. The harms of gun violence in communities are part of an ongoing cycle: violence causes trauma, contributing to isolation, poor well-being, and economic insecurity. These experiences often are fertile ground for further violence. This letter encourages our elected leaders to enact policies and programs that cultivate justice and look to address root causes of gun violence. It is only in ending all forms of oppression that all people will be able thrive.

Read the original letter
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Promote in your church
The blight of gun violence, often rooted in racism, misogyny and oppression are barriers to the safe, thriving communities all people deserve. Learn, pray and act for justice.

Prayer
God of Peace,
you call us to live in peace with you and all creation, yet
our brokenness causes violence and pain in our communities.
Where we allow injustice to continue, trauma and brokenness also continue.
Let your Spirit stir among us to bring healing and peace to those who experience violence.
And make us advocates for your justice which is seen
when racism, misogyny and oppression cannot continue,
when poverty is eliminated, and
when cycles of violence are ended.
These things we pray in the name of Jesus, the Prince of Peace.
Amen.

Learn More

  • Read Justice Ministries’ 2021 report to General Assembly about gun violence in Canada
  • Visit the church’s Social Action Hub for information and resources on peacemaking, racism and other social justice issues.
  • Project Ploughshares is the peace research institute of The Canadian Council of Churches that works with churches, governments, and civil society, in Canada and abroad, to advance policies and actions to prevent war and armed violence and build peace.

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The Treatment of Palestinian Children in Israel Military Detention

Many Canadian Presbyterians have expressed their sadness and anger at the senseless deaths of Palestinian children and the many more who are detained in military prison. They are minors. It is hard to imagine how they will react as they are separated from their parents and siblings. It must be frightening.

It is estimated that between 500 and 700 Palestinian children, as young as 12 years old, are charged under military law and imprisoned. They are denied due process and their treatment violates international human rights standards. These children should be home with their families, not detained or imprisoned.

In 2020, The Presbyterian Church in Canada called on the Canadian Government to appoint a Special Envoy to monitor and report on the treatment of Palestinian children living in the Occupied Territory and Gaza. The request has not been realized, however the need for such a Special Envoy urgently remains.

Read the original letter
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Promote in your church
Hundreds of Palestinian children are held in Israeli military detention, in violation of international human rights standards. Learn, pray and act for justice.

Prayer
Your love, O God, knows no boundaries, of gender, race, faith or nationality.
You sent Jesus who surprised his followers when he embraced children and said
“Whoever receives this child in my name receives me,
and whoever receives me receives him who sent me;
for the one who is least among all of you, this is the one who is greatest.”
Inspire us to be champions for those who are imprisoned.
Inspire us by the Holy Spirit to be persistent in our prayers and
calls for justice in the lands your son walked
and hear our prays for peace in Palestine-Israel.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

“An argument arose among them as to which one of them was the greatest. But Jesus, aware of their inner thoughts, took a little child and put it by his side” (Luke 9: 46-47)

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Climate Crisis

The devastation of heat domes, fires, floods and mudslides in British Columbia last year point to the complex interplay of regional climate change impacts. The climate crisis will only worsen until societies severely limit greenhouse gas emissions and act in ways that do not push ecosystems past their limits into irrecoverable destruction. Canada is heavily invested in natural resource extraction and the transition to a low-carbon economy will involve difficult but necessary changes for people in Canada.

We are called to live in ways that respect and sustain the integrity of creation, which God called “very good” This letter urges elected officials to assist those harmed and displaced by the climate crisis and those whose lives and livelihoods are impacted by these transitions toward a more sustainable low-carbon economy. The letter acknowledges that Indigenous communities and communities in the global south are already disproportionately affected by climate change and calls for just transition and recovery programs that are grounded in human rights, including the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Read the original letter
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Promote in your church
The heat domes, fires, floods and mudslides that devastated British Columbia last year show that the climate crisis is a real and present danger. Learn, pray and act for justice.

Prayer
Creator God,
the world is in crisis.
We see and acknowledge the changes around us and we want to do what’s right but
we do not always know what that is or agree what is best to do.
Help us to hear your Spirit calling us to end the violence and harm against creation we see and feel.
We pray
for forgiveness for when we have taken too much or cared too little,
for hearts willing change,
for the wisdom to know what to do and
for the will to live in ways that respect and sustain the integrity of your creation
These things we pray in the name of Jesus,

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Migrant Workers in Canada

There are hundreds of thousands of migrant workers in Canada. Many migrant workers fill essential work positions in low-paying service and labour jobs, often found in agriculture, domestic care, recreation, hospitality services, retail, food and manufacturing industries. Documented complaints demonstrate grueling work and long hours. Other documented issues include no access to water for agricultural workers, no days off and expanded duties for domestic workers. Many face exploitation and abuse without a clear path for remedy and fear job loss or even deportation if they do complain. Few provinces have legislation to safeguard the rights of workers. Without this, migrant workers are vulnerable.

We believe that all people are beloved of God and are deserving of dignity and respect. As a community of faith, we can advocate for the rights of migrant workers so that all people can have access to the physical, social, psychological and spiritual resources that are needed for human flourishing.

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Promote in your church
Migrant workers contribute significantly to Canadian society and economy but are too often left vulnerable, with little legal protection or recourse. Learn, pray and act for justice. Advocate for the rights of migrant workers.

Prayer
Loving God,
help us to consider and treat all other people as we would like to be treated ourselves.
We pray for workers who are far from their homes and families that their hopes and dreams
might be fulfilled as we would pray for our own families.
Amen
From “Time for Justice” bulletin of the PCC’s International Affairs Committee.

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Global Vaccine Equity

Right now, we are in a race against time to deliver COVID-19 vaccines to every corner of the globe.

Over 89% of eligible Canadians have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine—one of the highest rates in the world. For quite some time, Canadians have also had access to second and third shots in order to boost immunity. But the situation remains critical for families and communities in low-income countries, where only 10% of people have received at least one dose.

This level of vaccine inequity has a long-lasting effect. The World Bank estimates that there are 97 million more poor people because of the pandemic and that three to four years of progress in reducing extreme poverty have been lost.

As new variants continue to emerge, it is clear that the pandemic will only end when COVID-19 is contained everywhere. Canada can help lead the way in ensuring fair access, distribution and administration of the vaccine around the world.

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Promote in your church
While almost 90% of eligible Canadians have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine, only 10% of people in low-income countries have done the same. Learn more and join the church’s push for global vaccine equity.

Prayer

All things look to you, O God,
to give them life and sustenance.
Look in mercy and kindness on all people,
and hear our prayer for those whose lives and livelihoods
are threatened by COVID-19.
Guide and bless the labour of people who give their talent and time to service those in need of any kind.
And let all enjoy the good gifts of your creation and life in peace.
With grateful hearts, we thank you for all your mercies and blessings.
In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, we pray.
Amen.

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For more information, contact Justice Ministries, call 1-800-619-7301 or 416-441-1111 or click the Contact Us button.

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