Transformation: Justice

The Bible tells us in Roman 12:2 (NLT).  Don’t copy the behaviour and customs of this world but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

We seek to bring transformation in Christ to the lives of black and white people in our church and positively impact our community by informing, educating and acting on the presence and power of racism in our society. We seek to inform the church of the damage we are doing to our planet and encourage a change in our attitude and behaviour to some of our environmental practices. We seek to bring justice to Christians being persecuted for their faith by informing the church of prayer and other support needs of those being oppressed.

Jesus is the centre of what we do and will be the driving force behind our purpose. Therefore, prayer will be essential element of our operation.

Racial Justice

Black inclusion

In Luke 4: 18-19 Jesus states; “The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the LORD’s favour has come.”

Racial discrimination and injustice are ingrained in our society. Unless we act to identify and eradicate this disease it will continue to pervade our society, institutions and lives. As a church we have a responsibility to act to make a positive difference to our fellowship and the community we serve. Our action has to be ongoing and not a quick fix. We have adopted the framework below as a methodical way of working through our response.

     Prayer

     We want to be guided by God, giving him our hopes and fears and listening to his wisdom through every stage

     Listening

     We use this phase to hear what the impact of racism has been from those that have suffered from it

     Learning

     We seek to gain knowledge of how racism has come into our society and get an understanding of what we can do to tackle it

     Planning

     We develop ideas into plans that have a clear target audience with outcomes, timelines and milestones

     Action

     Our plans are discussed, approved and adopted

     Review

     We  assess the impact our plans have made

     Communication

     Our fellowship/community join us on the journey and are kept informed of our intentions and progress

The above stages are not distinct or exclusive.

Steps to Change

 

Matthew 7:3-5 states; "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.

We should not wait for the world to make changes but should take personal responsibility for making change in our own areas of influence and circle of operation.

We want to invite you to a journey of reflection and transformation looking to a richer future.  This will involve the challenge to recognise and acknowledge damage done to black people through centuries of injustice and discrimination.  It will involve the challenge to see our own patterns of thought transformed and to take our part in looking for the transformation of society.  We believe this process, that we are calling Steps to Change, provides a framework for individuals to take personal responsibility in examining their thinking and to identify if there are areas of complicity with systems of racial injustice and prejudice. We do all of this as brothers and sisters, anticipating a future where every tongue and tribe will worship God in harmony (Rev 7.9-10)

Persecution

 

Jesus told Christians to spread the good news of salvation in Jesus name, and acknowledged that is likely to bring opposition. John 15: 20 states: “Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’  If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.”

In many places in the world Christians are amongst the most persecuted religious groups. Persecution takes many forms – from oppression and discrimination to denial of internationally acknowledged freedoms. More than 340 million Christians today face discrimination, marginalisation, detention, or sometimes even physical abuse  or death for their faith in Jesus Christ.

There are a number of organisations helping persecuted Christians around the world including:

The article below comments on a new index which finds 1 in 4 worshipers and 1 in 5 churches in Baptist World Alliance are very vulnerable to persecution and poverty:

https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2021/july/baptist-world-congress-persecution-bwa-vulnerability-index.html

  CSW EVERYONE FREE TO BELIEVE

 CSW INT'L DAY OF PRAYER

Environment

 

SBC Carbon Count  Challenge

Start the year by measuring your carbon footprint with this easy online calculator HERE


 

Christians are called to respect and care for creation. It’s a part of our worship and our discipleship. At SBC, we are working to reduce our impact on the environment, as individuals and as a church.

 

What we’ve done                                                                      

Joined the EcoChurch scheme
Green energy supplier
Formed Eco team
Commitment from elders
Prayer and teaching
Fairtrade
Community garden
Energy saving lighting
Green lifestyles survey

                                                 

What’s next?

How do we travel to church? Where can we reduce single use plastics? Can we produce some of our own energy? What do you think we should focus on? SBC has made a long-term commitment to environmental stewardship, and we’re after that silver award!

What could you do?

I try to make walking, cycling or the bus my default, and only use the car when I really have to rather than seeing it as the first port of call.
Louise
I'm happy to talk about my experience of living on a plant-based diet. Although I wasn't originally motivated by climate related issues to start with, the lower carbon impact certainly encourages me to keep to this path.
Dave
I cycle to church on Sunday mornings. If you don't know where the bike racks are at SBC, I can show you.
Zach
We had solar panels fitted by a local company who have since done two friends' houses. Ask us if you'd like a recommendation!
Jeremy
I take plastic bread bags back to the bakery for them to refill, and they know me by now! Talk to me about reducing plastic usage.
Janet

 

Join the Eco Team

The Eco Church team works with elders, staff and the congregation to improve our environmental impact as a church, and help people to make environmental stewardship part of their walk with God. They raise awareness of climate change and the ecological crisis, and how it affects the world’s most vulnerable people. The Eco Team welcomes everyone to be involved, to take action, and to learn from each other as we care for God’s world together.

Email Jeremy if you’d like to find out more or join the next meeting.

About the Eco-church award

The Eco-Church scheme is administered by A Rocha, an international network of environmental organisations with a Christian ethos. Eco-Church is for churches in England and Wales who want to demonstrate that the gospel is good news for God's earth. Actions around building management, energy and carbon footprint, wildlife and ecology, and community and global engagement all count towards the awards for Bronze, Silver and Gold. Thousands of churches are part of the programme, though the gold award is a real stretch – the nearest one to Luton is Tring Baptist Church

Climate grief and eco-anxiety

Climate grief is defined as feelings of loss and anxiety related to the overall effects of climate change - a recognition that the world is much more fragile that we had thought, and grief about the destruction of nature and the impact our behaviour has on our world.  We recognise the reality of these feelings and provide support , prayer and conversation as to how that grief may be addressed and perhaps turned into action. Email Louise if you’d like to talk about this.

Go Deeper with Transformation: Justice