Nearly 200 Christians from around Australia came together to worship and pray together and to lobby their local federal politicians to increase Australia’s foreign aid to help end global poverty. Among the participants, 12 representatives from the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) Australia attended Voices for Justice, a four-day advocacy event held in Canberra last month.
Attendees of Voices of Justice received training through workshops and political forums on how to speak out for a world of justice and compassion.
The annual event was organized by Micah Australia, a coalition of church and Christian organizations—including ADRA Australia—whose mission is to inspire and empower Australian Christians to raise a powerful voice for global justice.
Voice of Justice culminated in a candlelight vigil on the lawns of the Parliament House with church leaders from various denominations praying for the nation’s leaders. Micah’s national coordinator, Ben Thurley, said prayer was a central focus of the event.
“If we define advocacy as speaking to the powerful on behalf of the powerless, then prayer itself is a form of advocacy as we cry out from the depths of our hearts to the God of grace and justice,” said Thurley.
For the first time, five Avondale College of Higher Education students attended Voices of Justice, including international development studies senior lecturer Dr. Brad Watson, who described Voices as a “fantastic way to engage with Australia’s elected leaders.”
“It was a humbling experience to meet with Christians from around Australia, to worship together and meet with members of the upper and lower houses to humbly and prayerfully ask the Australian government to reverse the cuts to the aid budget,” said Watson.
Thurley said prayer “sends a powerful message to politicians—we hold them to their highest calling, which is to work for the common good and to protect the rights of the poor and needy both within our borders and beyond them.”