The Social Justice Network is The River’s ministry for serving those in need both in Edmonton and around the world.
At The River, we strive to be a transformed and transforming community. This means that we don’t exist to serve ourselves, but to serve and care for the world, especially those that are most vulnerable. As a community, we long to see God’s justice and mercy prevailing in every area of life. We serve our neighbors not as an evangelistic ploy, but simply because it’s good and right to do so. We value cross-cultural and international ministry experiences as an extension of our call to bring Christ’s healing grace to the world.
What is Social Justice?
Social justice is the notion that society should be organized in a way that allows equal opportunity for all its members. (Canadian Oxford Dictionary)
Social Justice and the Christian Faith
The River believes that injustice, conflict and poverty are all inter-related. Nothing operates in a vacuum, and actions in one part of society have repercussions in others, both locally and globally. In the Bible’s original text, there are two Hebrew words that translate to the English word justice. One refers to rectifying justice – or making wrongs right. The second word for justice has a more personal connotation. It refers to compassion-driven justice in human relationships. This is where social justice starts. As Christians, we follow the example set by Jesus in our approach to social justice. During his time on earth, Jesus championed society’s poorest and most marginalized citizens. His approach to justice showed the world a new way to fight injustice, shifting the focus from restitution to restoration, from revenge to reconciliation.
In 2008, the River entered into a partnership with the Madzimoyo Local Board (MLB) of Madzimoyo, Eastern Province, Zambia, Southern Africa. The MLB is a grass roots community organization representing 112 villages and approximately 21,000 people within the Madzimoyo mission district. The MLB was founded in 1992 as an initiative by a number of the villages to come together and mutually support each other, while striving towards the development of their people. Some of the programs they focus on are Agriculture (to ensure food sustainability), Orphan Care (to keep orphans in their villages without causing strain), Home Based Care (to assist those living with HIV in being cared for by their families).
In October 2008 the River sent 8 delegates to Zambia. Acting in an ambassadorial role, the group helped to lay the foundation of a long-term partnership between the River and the Madzimoyo Local Board.
Travel to Zambia takes place regularly. If you are interested in meeting our partners on the ground in Madzimoyo please contact Malissa Huillery at firstname.lastname@example.org
Many Riverites spend countless volunteer hours at the Bissel Center, the Mennonite Center for Newcomers, The Mustard Seed, The Community Canteen on Whtye Avenue, The Neighbour Center and in projects affiliated with Samaritan’s Purse, The Yellowhead Youth Center, and Habitat for Humanity. For more information as to how to get involved with various SJN initatives, please contact Malissa Huillery at email@example.com.
For more than 35 years, Operation Manna (OM) has provided funding and consultation in support of local community ministries. It provides funds and services to churches and organizations that are active in sustainable community development. It also serves as a link between diaconates, churches and local service opportunities. The River Community Church supports Operation Manna by donating funds to support the various ministries.
Local Operation Manna Projects include:
Families Living Well Society provides safe and accepting programs facilitating resource-building, friendships and community connection for single-parent families.
Mosaic Centre is a new collaborative social care partnership serving those challenged by poverty, hunger and homelessness in Edmonton’s northeast.
Road to Reconciliation: An Evening with Chief Willie Littlechild, Monday October 24th, 2016.
Human Rights Human Wrongs: An Evening with Sally Armstrong Tuesday, October 21st, 2014
Me To We: An Evening with Mark Kielburger Monday, October 21st, 2013
Shining A Light: An Evening with Brian Stewart Thursday, November 8th, 2012
Journey To Forgiveness: An Evening with Amanda Lindhout Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011
Out of the Darkness: An Evening With K’NAAN Monday, November 29th, 2010
Faces Behind the Numbers: An Evening with Dr. James Orbinski, Tuesday, October 27th, 2009
Conflict, Children and Youth: An Evening with Romeo Dallaire, Thursday, November 27th, 2008
Brunch with Kim Phuc Saturday, November 27th, 2007