The annual Micah Australia Voices for Justice Conference provides an opportunity for people to engage on justice issues with politicians in Canberra, from a Christian context.
Attendees from Christian communities all over the country participated in the conference, held in November last year. In our nation’s capital they were invited to pray, worship and speak up to influence our Parliament to work towards achieving goals in the direction of Australia becoming a better global neighbour.
The three-day event included advocacy training, lobby groups, Biblical teaching, worship and prayer, meetings with politicians in Parliament House, practical workshops and kids and youth programs.
Kerry Povey and Jan Thorpe from Trinity North Uniting Church, attended Voices for Justice and share their experience with ‘Revive’.
We headed off from WA with little more than a vague notion of what we were about to do. Recent marches in protest of the government’s treatment of refugees, and sending emails and letters to our local MPs, resulted in us taking action and joining the voices of other Christians in Canberra. We had heard about Micah Australia at the time of the Millennium Development Goals and knew that they stood for social justice and alleviating poverty.
We had no idea how much we were about to learn in the space of three days. The talks were many, the people passionate, and the topics at times overwhelming, uplifting and shocking. The timetable was demanding, especially for first-timers who were coming without experience in the ways of politics and how to approach MPs and senators.
The experience was incredibly empowering. We learnt that every person can make a difference and speak up for the voiceless. We had an inspiring lobby group who were full of wisdom, including from two young brothers who attended all our meetings with politicians and their staffers. We were especially impressed by the older of these boys, who at the age of 12 spoke up for his generation and made his voice heard in our meetings.
The number of young people present at the gathering was awesome, and their knowledge and enthusiasm inspiring. We were impressed by the number of young people who had been coming to the gathering for many years.
We learned that deep down politicians are human too; however, they are sometimes hamstrung by party politics. They do have a heart and are approachable and willing to listen. This experience has empowered us with the confidence to stand-up and make our voices heard on returning to Perth and to our respective electorates.
The experience has enabled us to put our faith into action, and we have returned home with support to sustain and implement this action.
Top image: Kerry Povey (left) and Jan Thorpe (right) caught up with Jessica Morthope in Canberra, who currently works for Micah Australia.