Christian social reform a soul reminder at Mission's 192nd anniversary

( [email protected] ) May 25, 2004 07:56 AM EDT

On their 192nd anniversary, Wesley Mission Sydney’s Superintendent, Reverend Gordon Moyes underlined the Mission’s commitment to social justice by claiming that welfare alone is not the complete solution to society’s ills.

Moyes said that while Wesley Mission, which marked its 192nd year on May 23, was first and foremost a church, committed to honoring God, it also had a passionate tradition of speaking out on social issues and seeking social reform. “This involves services of praise, the practice of the sacraments, Christian education, stewardship, teaching, evangelistic outreach, missionary endeavor,” Moyes said.

While Wesley Mission had become the largest single provider of welfare services in Australia “welfare alone” had never been the end of the Mission’s activities.

“We have been involved in social reform to prevent the need of more social welfare services,” Moyes said. “Social reform has always been on our agenda and this has often been our most contentious area of our work especially under Sir Alan Walker.

“This was also an emphasis of Reverend John Wesley who advocated political reform on such issues as Alcohol, The Stamp Act, Immigration, Factory Acts and so on. His last act before death was to support the repeal of slavery. Such involvement requires hard work and personal courage. John Wesley traveled 250,000 miles on horseback, averaging 20 miles a day for 40 years; preached 40,000 sermons; produced 400 books; knew ten languages.

“We have tried over the past 25 years, not just to comment unfavorably after political decisions, but to also be pre-emptive in our approach. In seeking to change political and economic agendas, we have entered those arenas boldly.

“I have spoken at hundreds of corporate functions about the Christian perspective on social and economic matters, and with Dr. Keith Suter have presented evidence to Parliament on a range of reforms and debated the issues every week on radio. Now in Parliament seeking to reform our Laws, I stand in succession to Rev John Dunmore Lang and people like William Wilberforce, The Earl of Shaftsbury and Lord Soper in changing the legislation of the nation to a more Christian end.

“Social welfare by itself is never enough. Social reform must be one of our aims. Members who work hard, honor God, serve people and build hope are vital to our work.

“We are committed to serving people in need. The worshipping congregation is the same body responsible for the service to people in need. Word and deed come from the same people. It has been this service to people in need that has seen the social welfare arm of our ministry expanding so greatly.”