Justice, Dignity and Solidarity

Who is the church for? It is often said that the church is a private members’ social club, for those of us who are already within it. Ideally church would be an organisation that is set up for those not yet ‘in’ the club. It’s often a difficult balance between meeting the needs of those who are long-standing members of the church, with set ideas as to what church ‘is’ – and making faith attractive for those who have not been to church before.

Justice, Dignity and Solidarity is a movement within the Methodist Church, to make church – in whatever form it takes – accessible for everyone. It is to purposefully act in such a way that a disability doesn’t exclude you, nor the colour of your skin or cultural background. Where your sexuality or gender makes no difference. A place where you can be fully yourself, safe and accepted for who you are, able to offer all your God-given gifts.

We believe this is how Jesus wants his church to be. At the same time, we acknowledge that this is not how church currently works for everyone. This commandment of love to all, for all, can be very hard to put into practice because as much as we may feel ourselves welcoming, it is possible to be ignorant to the pain others feel even with good intentions.

For example – some disabilities are invisible, meaning assumptions can lead to discomfort, exclusion or worse. Likewise, a church may proclaim inclusivity to all races but the small micro-aggressions a person of colour can experience on a daily basis can be all too easy to compound with a poor choice of language. Any form of discrimination can lead people to believe that they are not loved and accepted by society or church.

As a District we are committed to working together to make every person feel totally accepted and supported, so all know Justice, Dignity and Solidarity (JDS) as their experience of church. It will challenge us, we will get it wrong many times but will work with grace and love towards each other. We will work with the circuits and churches, put on special events and do all we can to promote our cause at all levels within the Manchester and Stockport Methodist District. Rev Glayne Worgan is the District Lead on this work, with Deacon John Brobbey starting in September 2022 to do specific JDS work for the District.

This will be a life-long lesson for us as individuals and as the corporate life of the church. If you would like to read a little further, please see the Users Guide, which is an introduction to the JDS policy of the Methodist Church.

If you are a member of a local church and would like more information or to get involved with the taskforce guiding the implementation of the strategy you can email glayne.worgan@methodist.org.uk

A Prayer for Justice, Dignity and Solidarity

God who is beyond our narrow definitions,
We thank you for each and every person connected to our churches across the District, – for all their gifts, talents and also for their experiences, which may challenge our pre-conceptions.

We give you thanks for those who gather to discuss and promote Justice, Dignity and Solidarity, for their commitment to building up your Kingdom of love, acceptance and inclusion, of enabling opportunity for ALL.

In a world where so much is changing, we give thanks for your steadfastness, and ongoing Creation within our lives, to release within us the potential you see already.

Pour your blessing upon Deacon John as he starts his work as Mission Enabler and Social Justice Officer. May we all see how Justice is the foundation stone of all mission, and how our goals -your goals – can be realised when everyone is equally enabled.

We pray that our District will be a shining beacon of inclusivity, with God’s love being shared to all we encounter. We pray that we may encounter and recognise God’s love in all whom we meet.

Jesus, Our Creator, Friend and Sustainer, in your name we pray, Amen.