In just two years we've achieved some amazing things. As we look forward, we remember where we've come from and the wins along the way.
As a movement we've achieved some really significant outcomes in the past two years - all of which are worth celebrating! Have a read below to be encouraged of all that we've been able to achieve through our Common Grace community.
- We produced inspiring Christian formation resources
- We worked towards justice for people seeking asylum
- We acted to steward and preserve God's beautiful creation
- We highlighted the epidemic of family & domestic violence
We worked towards justice for people seeking asylum:
Most recently we have:
Focused on building strong relationships within the sector, aligning our response to other key NGOs and organisations in both our response to the US resettlement deal and to the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Aleppo. To do this, we created a video that brought together the ‘voices of Aleppo’ and the Lord’s Prayer, with a reach of 59.8k, and that was viewed 17.3k times and shared 1.5k times on Facebook alone.
Last year we also:
When the government announced proposed changes to the migration bill that would prevent people seeking asylum by boat from ever entering Australia, We pulled together a rapid response campaign in just a few days inviting Christians to email their local political representatives. In a few days day, we had 1600 emails sent to local members and senators garnering strong support across social media from key Christian influencers.
Facilitated a panel of experts discussing the local, national and global challenges and opportunities presented by people seeking asylum, at The Justice Conference in Melbourne.
Called Christians to specific prayer following the release of ‘The Nauru Files’.
Produced a comprehensive outline of key issues relating to the treatment of people seeking asylum for Australian Christians seeking to become informed in the approach to our federal election.
Created ‘Dear Mr Prime Minister… from the Australian Mamas’ – a video posted on Mother’s Day – an awareness piece advocating for the mothers of those children in Australia’s immigration detention centres. This video was our most successful to date, with nearly 300,000 people reached and 1,500 shares on Facebook alone.
We partnered with World Vision’s Syrian Sunday inviting our movement to take part.
Partnered with the Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce & Love Makes A Way in what has become known as the ‘Sanctuary movement’ – a movement of churches taking the moral stance of offering Sanctuary to people seeking asylum who were facing deportation to Nauru detention centre – as part of a wider community call to #LetThemStay.
In 2015 we:
Joined with our partners in the refugee sector to mobilise a massive community groundswell demanding our government resettle Syrian refugees, gathering more than 2000 signatures on our “Precious in His Sight” petition in less than two weeks. The community uprising led to a complete reversal of policy by the government and a commitment to take an additional 12,000 refugees from persecuted minorities.
Raised awareness and advocated for 'Baby Asha', urging our government leaders to let her and her family stay in community detention, rather than being returned to Nauru.
Ran a social media campaign drawing awareness to Rohingya refugees at sea who were being refused admittance in Malaysia and Thailand.
Mobilised over 400 people to write personal emails to crossbench Senators regarding amendments to the Migration Bill
We acted to steward and preserve God's beautiful creation:
Most recently we have:
When a potential $1 billion to Australia’s Renewable Energy Agency was tabled in mid-September, we took the opportunity to mobilise Christians to write an email to Bill Shorten. We had hundreds of emails sent to Bill Shorten over a few days successfully urging him and the Labor party to block the cuts that would and choose policies that help rather than harm our environment.
Last year we also:
Called Christians to prayer for Pacific Islanders who were facing the effects of climate change, and celebrated their faithful example by producing a video sharing their story.
We partnered with Tear Australia for their Live On One Planet challenge, promoting the campaign across our social and email channels and encouraging people to sign up. Common Grace produced a five-day formation series for the week-long campaign, journeying participants deeper into Christian responsibility for creation and climate change.
We also celebrated exciting stories around climate justice such as 47 of the world's poorest countries leading the world and committing to switch to 100% renewable energy, the beauty of creation seen in the 'Supermoon', BP dropping their plans to drill in the Great Australian Bight, the first aircraft to travel around the world powered entirely by the sun, 400 churches in England installing solar panels as part of the 'Shrinking the Footprint' project, the beauty of God's creation on World Oceans Day, just to name a few.
We developed an election resource designed to help Christians wrestle with the complexities of caring for God's earth with specific policies, as they approached our federal election.
Raised awareness about the damage already incurred on the Great Barrier Reef as a result of warming oceans, and encouraged Christians to pledge to protect the reef for future generations.
Featured Anglican Youth Pastor Josh Hawkins in a comedic video that was viewed over 24.6k times and showed Josh learning about the Shenhua Mine and urging Christians to stand up and 'save our food bowl'.
In 2015 we:
Mobilised a large Christian presence for the People’s Climate March for November 2015. On the day of the March we saw a fabulous turn out of Christians to stand in solidarity with Pacific Islanders whose homes are under great threat.
In partnership with a coalition of Christian justice groups, we convened a climate justice conference called Light the Way to prepare and train young Christian climate justice leaders in community organising and mobilisation.
We endeavoured to resource Christians to change the conversation in their churches and personal worlds, focusing on high profile climate justice moments like Earth Hour and the release of the Pope’s Encyclical and also travelled to Parliament House with an unlikely alliance of community leaders to deliver a campaign for a pollution free future.
In one of our most high profile and controversial campaigns, for Christmas in 2014, Common Grace members crowd-funded solar panels for Kirribilli House - the Prime Minister’s Sydney residence - as a gift for the nation that amplified a Christian voice for clean energy, which was delivered by local church pastors.
Began our work by publicly supporting the action of Pacific Islander chiefs who were in Australia, raising awareness about the cost their island homes were paying for excessive fossil fuel emissions.
We highlighted the epidemic of Domestic & Family Violence:
Most recently we have:
Focused our efforts on sourcing grant funding and contracting an expert researcher to develop a resource that will equip church leaders to face the domestic and family violence that is happening in their church communities. This is currently in the review phase with a panel of experts reviewing and contributing to the content that has been developed, and will be ready for release in the next few months.
Last year we:
Ran a revised and improved '16 days of prayer against domestic and family violence' campaign. This campaign invited Common Grace members to contribute to a wider international 'UN 16 days of activism against gender-based violence' campaign, by contributing in a uniquely Christian way - by praying. Over 600 people responded to the call, receiving daily emails with high quality information, prayer points and links to further resources.
Called Christians to prayer for leaders and stakeholders who met to discuss domestic and family violence at a COAG 2-day summit.
Produced a simple social media campaign with practical advice on how Christians could help local survivors of family violence.
Produced a comprehensive guide to policy issues for Christians to consider domestic and family violence as they approached voting in the Federal election.
Produced an inspiring video that called Christians to prioritise domestic and family violence in their voting decisions in the Federal Election, which was viewed 4,304 times on Facebook alone.
Reflected on what the Government's 2016 Budget did & didn't offer for keeping women safe in a blog for our Common Grace community that was shared through social media.
Responded to the Victorian Royal Commission's findings into family violence with a comprehensive article that was featured on the Bible Society's website.
Called the Common Grace community to stand in prayer with practitioners and specialist meeting in Canberra for the National Family Violence Summit (a gathering designed to bring together key players in the sector to focus on creating real solution), as they called for more support for programs that work with male perpetrators, as well as proper funding for other vital support services, which have been underfunded for far too long.
In 2015, we:
Launched our first annual '16 days of prayer against domestic and family violence' campaign, with daily emails from Common Grace, with statistics, stories and prayer points, each regarding a different aspect of domestic violence’s wide-ranging impact.
Called on the Common Grace community to say 'Enough is enough' by signing a petition that called on the federal government to restore funding to critical services such as crisis accommodation, legal services and affordable housing.
We listened to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and acted for justice
Most recently we have:
Drawn our Common Grace community’s attention to National Apology Day in acknowledgment of the Stolen Generation, and to raise awareness of the New Stolen Generation. We posted the video of then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s ‘National Apology to Indigenous Peoples’ from 2008, which was viewed 2.5k and shared 60 times.
Created a section on our website centred around January 26, encouraging Christians to view it as “a day to acknowledge” Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
We specifically encouraged Christians to grow in their understanding the issues (by exploring our resources, reading reflections from Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Christians, and watching video resources recommended by our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander justice team); attend one of 13 services of acknowledgment, lament and prayer that were held in every state and territory in the country; and share an ‘acknowledgement of country’ on social media, using an easy Facebook tool with a pre-written acknowledgement developed by our team, linked to an online languages map for customisation.
This was an exceptionally successful campaign, with 886 people attending services, 27,956 unique visitors visiting the January 26 pages of our website and 71,262 total page views. The acknowledgment share page had 11,141 unique visitors, with 74% (8,548) of visitors submitting an acknowledgment, and 30% customising their acknowledgement text.
Last year we also:
Contributed to SPARC's National Gathering in Sydney, with Larissa Minnieconn, the Facilitator of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander justice team, sharing in a session on injustice and lament.
Responded to Four Corners' report on the brutalisation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kids in the NT's DonDale Detention centre, drawing attention to the a blog written a year earlier by our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander justice spokesperson, Brooke Prentis, entitled "A better tomorrow?". In this blog, Brooke had already criticised the failure to adress findings and implement recommendations released in 1991 from Royal Commission into the treatment of Aboriginal people in custody, with findings released in 1991, including Recommendation 92 that stated "Imprisonment should be utilised only as a sanction of last resort."
During this time, we were proud to stand with over 100 organisations, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak representative bodies, in an Open Statement welcoming Prime Minister Turnbull’s Royal Commission into the horrific abuse of children in the Northern Territory, but calling for it to be conducted independently from the NT Government and for a broader inquiry into the youth justice system as a whole.
Brooke conducted several Christian media interviews, encouraging Christians to both pray and act, and also wrote a confronting blog entitled "Australia is crying out for real change" that was read by almost 800 unique website visitors. In addition, we amplified The National Justice Coalition's 'Change the Record' campaign and Amnesty Australia's 'I stand with DonDale kids' campaign.
Ran an awareness campaign with the message 'You don’t have to be Aboriginal to stand up for aboriginal justice,' with a social media post that was shared more than 100 times on Facebook alone, reaching of 24.3k viewers, Christian media interviews, and a focus on calling Christians to speak to their pastors.
Produced an election resource that enabled Christians to consider justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander peoples as they approached voting in the Federal Election.
Rolled out a 'Common Grace heroes' campaign that celebrated modern and historical Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders, with blogs released throughout Reconciliation Week & NAIDOC Week.
Contributed to Surrender Conference, with our spokesperson Brooke Prentis giving a key address.
Began to draw non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members of our community attention to the views of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples views on January 26, sharing a prayer written by Brooke Prentis, a link to Stan Grant's IQ debate video, and a piece written by Common Grace team member Tanya Riches that was published on ABCs Religion and Ethics' website.
In 2015 we:
Stood with the #SOSBlakAustralia movement, that called on our leaders to support Aboriginal communities in remaining on their homelands, as well as their right to self-determination. Rev. Sealin Garlett, on behalf of Common Grace, presented a petition with 1500 signatures to the W.A. Aboriginal Affairs Minister Peter Collier.
Contributed to the first Australian Beyond! Festival in October, with Common Grace spokesperson Brooke Prentis joining Aunty Rosalie Kunoth-Monks and others at a solidarity action at Parliament House.
We are proud of all that we’ve achieved so far as a fledgling movement – and even more so given the resource constraints that we’ve had to navigate – but there’s SO MUCH more that we would love to achieve. If you’d like to support the work we do towards seeing Jesus-shaped justice, you can donate here.
To read more about our vision for 2017, click here.