Halifax justice camp to focus on poverty

Katie Puxley got hooked at the 2007 justice camp in Victoria, B.C. “My husband Dave and I went to justice camp, absolutely loved it, wanted to stay involved, and have become total groupies,” said Ms. Puxley in a recent interview. Now she’s co-chairing the planning coalition of the next justice camp, to be held Aug. 9 to 15 in the Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.

Participants of the 2007 environment justice camp in Victoria, B.C., at an urban immersion experience.
Participants of the 2007 environment justice camp in Victoria, B.C., at an urban immersion experience.

Justice camps are week-long immersion experiences focusing on a specific justice issue in the light of Bible study and prayer. They’re an initiative of the Partners in Mission and Ecojustice Committee at General Synod, but are locally led. Each camp integrates hands-on experience, and includes a mix of ages, of men and women, of locals and out-of-towners.

The Halifax-based camp will hone in on poverty with the theme “Finding Abundance.” Ms. Puxley says this theme refers to more than just material poverty but also to physical, psychological, and spiritual poverty. Part of the camp’s approach will be to explore how camp participants already have the resources to address these issues. (The unofficial justice camp slogan is “the wisdom is in the room.”)

Previous camps have focused on the environment (Victoria, 2007), advocacy (Ottawa, 2006), and food (Winnipeg, 2005). The Diocese of Niagara will host a 2010 justice camp on the theme, “Live the change you want to see.”

Following the structure of previous camps, the 2009 event will kick off with two days of community building and Bible study in Halifax, then participants (an expected 80 or so) will split up for three days of immersion experiences across the diocese. Groups will explore the following:

  • The Black Nova Scotian experience in Shelburne, N.S.
  • Economic development and employment issues in Cape Breton
  • The challenge of urban-rural divide; agricultural and trade issues in P.E.I.
  • Global poverty and the Millennium Development Goals at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, N.S.
  • Homelessness and housing; urban poverty; education and poverty in Halifax

The final two days back in Halifax will be for “celebration and integration.” Ms. Puxley, a library and information science masters student, is organizing an interactive drama on the week’s themes. Actors will perform sketches on topics like gambling and literacy and participants can hop in to rewrite the script and apply their knowledge.

“Justice camp is such a neat experience because it’s hands on and it really sits it inside a Christian perspective, and specifically an Anglican perspective,” said Ms. Puxley. “They’re very warm and they’re very welcoming to all other points of view, but they’re unapologetically Anglican about it at the same time.”

Anyone over 18 from any spiritual background is welcome to apply for the Halifax justice camp when registration opens in 2009. Until then, poke around their website to learn more and get inspired.

Interested in keeping up-to-date on news, opinion, events and resources from the Anglican Church of Canada? Sign up for our email alerts .