Canstar Community News - ONLINE EDITION

North End church runs innovative School of Justice

  • Print

Six proud graduates stood together on stage after receiving their certificates on Mon., March 24 at the Winnipeg Centre Vineyard church at Main Street and Sutherland Avenue.  

This small class had just completed six months of intense study at the Vineyard School of Justice, where they learned about topics such as residential schools, human trafficking, addiction, and homelessness.  For 18 hours each week, the students listened, served, and discussed their experiences ranging from helping at the church’s drop-in to discovering what it’s like to panhandle. Films, books, and guest speakers rounded out their basic understanding of social justice issues.

The class wasn’t so much a transfer of information as it was a transformation of living. Each student encountered his or her own beliefs and past experiences and processed them with the group. The sheer diversity of the group was a daily lesson in itself,  as it featured a 30-year age span, a mix of men and women, students from reserves in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, from Steinbach, from Germany, from the United States, and a director originally from India.

Through the program, which intentionally includes students who have experienced injustice, they found plenty of time to develop relationships through eating together and debriefing.

Learning together was not about easy answers or tidy solutions. The process was often messy. But the responses of discomfort, anger, tears, and compassion were all viewed as gifts from God and important for breaking down the natural responses of apathy and cynicism.

With such difficult subject matter, it would be natural to despair. What can be done?

For the answer, the students studied the Bible: namely, the character of God (absolutely just and merciful) and the life of Jesus (devoid of the hunger for power, money or status and full of compassion for the hungry, the sick, and the outcast). Since Christians and the church have (ironically) not always been the best followers of Jesus’ ways and teachings, this was an important realization for students who experienced residential school trauma themselves.

Students were encouraged to"Follow Jesus. Be in the margins".

They also learned skills in prayer, counselling, conflict resolution, and nonviolent peacemaking.
During April, the director and several students are in Nepal, serving the poor with Vineyard churches in Kathmandu and surrounding areas. One student will stay longer. Another student is returning to Germany to help her family.

Other students are helping with drop-ins and next year’s School of Justice.

For more information or to apply, see www.vineyardschoolofjustice.org and www.facebook.com/VineyardSchoolofJustice.

Sonya Braun is a community correspondent for the North End. You can contact her at sonyajoy@gmail.com

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

Fall Arts Guide

We preview what’s new and what’s coming up in Winnipeg’s new arts season

View our Fall Arts Guide

Readers' Choice Awards

Best Of Winnipeg Readers Survey

See the results of the 2014 Canstar Community News Best of Winnipeg Readers' Survey.

View Results

This Just In Twitter bird

Poll

We’re experiencing a warm fall so far. Are you enjoying the higher temperatures?

View Results