Dear friend of SPC.
Warmest thanks to you once more for your support as a member of SPC. We invite you to renew your financial membership for this coming year.
SPC’s monthly newsletter and regular events on critical social issues are vehicles for informed debate from the perspective of Christian social values. We admire Pope Francis in his strategies to unit all people of goodwill, of all religions and of none, in renewed efforts to address global problems of inequality, poverty, and climate change. He works ecumenically, like SPC, and indeed with the world religions, in joint efforts to promote human and planetary wellbeing, especially for the most vulnerable.
We are now confronted with new problems. Core western democracies are troubled by disillusionment and political swings to the far right. Markets are unsettled by the possibility of President Trump sparking a trade ware with China, just as it is expanding its influence in Asia and the Pacific. Wars, violence, and poverty are forcing ever more people to flee their homes, with numbers of displaced people reaching 70 million in mid-2019.
Of immediate concern for Australians is the fact that the newly elected Morrison government had little developed policy to guide us through the uncharted waters now around us, particularly to respond effectively to disastrous climate change bearing down on us.
Many are concerned about fairness in government tax and spending priorities, energy policies, continuing housing and homelessness issues, harsh treatment of asylum seekers, and inadequate responses to the hopes of our Indigenous peoples nationally for a treaty. On such pressing issues, we should not be silent observers.
Our public events and forums in 2018-19 have included …
- Professor Allan Patience on Australia’s foreign policy in Asia.
- Mr Bernie Geary OAM in August 2018 on the predicament of children in State care.
- Professor Paul Smyth in December on wiring social justice into the economy.
- Sr Brigid Arthur of the Brigidine Asylum Seeker Project in Melbourne, spoke on 5 December 2018 on ‘Refugees and their traumatised children: a tale of smoke and mirrors’.
- Sr Pat Fox in March, after her expulsion by President Duterte due to her ministry with Filipino farmers and rural workers and with families of victims of extra-judicial killings.
- Sr Pat Fox in March after her expulsion by President Duterte because of here ministry with Filipino farmers and rural workers, and with families of victims of extra-judicial killings.
- SPC assisted with the memoir by Anne Tuohey of Fr Kevin Mogg, An Enabling Life, launched in late January.
- SPC was closely involved in the Earth@Peace conference in April, held at Pilgrim Theological College in Parkville. It attracted 140 participants, and was organised with Pax Christi and the Centre for Religion & Social Policy of the University of Divinity, under the inspiration of Emeritus Professor Joseph Camilleri.
The SPC website
In 2018, traffic to our website again increased significantly, attracting just under 70,000 unique (separate) visitors, making a total of nearly 124,000 visits, and opening 643,000 pages.
Facebook: SPC continues to expand Facebook activity, relaying important articles from other media on areas of concern. We will shortly open a Twitter page.
SPC is fortunate to have a Board of skilled and experienced people. Revd Chris Mulherin, Major Jenny Begent from the Salvation Army, and Danusia Kaska from St Vincent de Paul. Peter Whiting (chair), Tony French, and I are long-serving members.
SPC & the University of Divinity
Since SPC began in early 2005, we have established a modest but strong readership and support base. We are in conversation with the administration of the University of Divinity about collaborating formally in the University’s commitment to contribute strongly to debates on current social and public issues.
Such collaboration has become urgent, as the voice of the churches and their social agencies have been muted by the findings of the Royal Commission into sex abuse. Sharp cutbacks to church agencies’ funding have further weakened such voices. SPC, revamped in collaboration with the University, could make a significantly increased contribution in the public forum.
To take this step, SPC will need to raise sufficient funds to expand its professional staff. Funds designated for the proposed new role with the University of Divinity would enjoy donor gift recipient (DGR) tax deductibility, and enable us to develop our public profile, with skilled advocates engaging in the public conversation about social issues. We will keep you informed of progress.
SPC Membership Renewal
Please find attached your membership renewal form for 2019-2020. The subscription fee remains $40 for individual members, and $80 for organisations.
Please also consider making a donation to help develop SPC as a strong, independent, and ecumenical voice for social justice. SPC relies entirely on pro bono contributions from writers, helpers, and board members, as well as the services of our newsletter producer, Susy Herlihy.
Finally, our thanks to the contributors to our website for your insights into current affairs. We are happy also to consider unsolicited contributions as articles or book reviews.
Financial members receive a discount on publications
- Sufficient for the Day: towards a Sustainable Culture by Geoff Lacey
- Towards a Better World by economist Arthur Gibbs
- Social Justice: fuller Life in a fairer World by Bruce Duncan
- Young People, Faith, & Social Justice by Joan Daw
- A World United or a World Exploited: Christian Perspectives on Globalisation, edited by Peter Price
- Social Justice & the Churches: Challenges & Responsibilities, John D’Arcy May
- Working with Disaster: Clergy & Bushfires by Lisa Jacobson
- Bonded through Tragedy, united in Hope. The Catholic Church & East Timor’s Struggle for Independence by Therese and Jim D’Orsa
- Bridging Troubled Waters: Australia & Asylum Seekers by Tony Ward
- Of Labour & Liberty: Distributism in Victoria 1891-1966 by Race Mathews
- An Enabling Life: Fr Kevin Mogg. A Collection of Reminiscences by Anne Tuohey.