16 Sep | 2013
The Salvation Army is holding two conferences at the Vodafone Events Centre in Manukau this week. General André Cox, elected last month as leader of the over 1.5 million-strong worldwide Salvation Army church, will address both conferences.
Just Action, a social justice conference that runs from 18-19 September, is focused on the theme of ‘Rebuilding Justice Together’. Around 600 delegates from across Salvation Army centres, other churches and NGOs have registered.
Social activist Shane Claiborne, founder of ‘The Simple Way’, will tell stories from the streets of Philadelphia and the war zone of Iraq. He will be joined by international human trafficking expert Matt Friedman who will set the vision of making New Zealand the ‘first slavery free country’ in the world.
Other keynote speakers include former Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons, Frank Solomon of the Solomon Group, one of South Auckland’s most successful providers of youth training and adult education services, and US civil rights activist Dr John Perkins (speaking via video link).
Just Action panellists include Bishop of Wellington Justin Duckworth, Phil O’Reilly of BusinessNZ, media commentator Chris Trotter, World Vision CEO Chris Clarke and worker exploitation researcher Dr Christina Stringer.
During the conference, delegates and other volunteers will build a Habitat for Humanity house at the Vodafone Events Centre for a South Auckland family.
Conference organiser Major Campbell Roberts, who heads the Army’s Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit, says, ‘Action is urgently needed to tackle the injustices so obvious in the communities of New Zealand and the world: human trafficking, hunger, homelessness, poverty, racism, discrimination against women, child exploitation, and the ravaging of the natural environment.’
From Friday evening 20 September until Sunday lunch time, Salvation Army church members from across New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga will attend the ‘One Army, One Message, One Mission Congress’. Up to 2000 people are expected.
Activities include outdoor concerts at Pakuranga Plaza, Otara Markets and Botany Town Centre, clean-up crews despatched to several South Auckland locations, seminars, the finals of a talent competition judged by popular Kiwi musician Massad, and three public worship services.
General Cox and his wife, Commissioner Silvia Cox, will speak on Friday and Saturday evenings, and Sunday morning. Members of the public are welcome.
Salvation Army Territorial Commander Commissioner Don Bell says, ‘We are looking forward to being one of the first countries in the world to host The Salvation Army’s new international leader. General André Cox has set an agenda for the worldwide Salvation Army to be a force for positive change and transformation in the communities in which we serve.’
Just Action conference (Wednesday, Thursday)
Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit Director
Major Campbell Roberts
Congress event (Friday to Sunday)
Major Christina Tyson