This year, The Salvation Army (through the Social Justice Department) partnered with Beyond Festival – “a boutique festival celebrating creativity, justice and genuine community”.
About ‘The Beyond Festival’:
“Beyond is a justice festival. A glimpse of genuine community that embraces a mixture of genders, ages, cultures and beliefs.
Beyond is about speaking out for marginalised people, celebrating significant achievements and holding to account the decision makers of our country.
Beyond has first class musicians, artists, story tellers, communicators, educators and leaders, all coming together to reintroduce justice, mercy and compassion into our national identity.” (www.beyondfestival.com.au)
This year, The Salvation Army had three representatives in attendance.
Emma Clarke (Tuggeranong Corps) explained: “The main emphasis on the whole weekend was the importance of social justice as a life style “. Emma spoke of how helpful the workshops were – including “‘God and Violence’, ‘Exploring Civil Disobedience and Social Change’, ‘People fleeing persecution and seeking protection: A posture of hospitality’, ‘Climate Conversations’, ‘Human Trafficking – Fighting for Justice’ and so many more. These workshops were all run my professionals in the field. Some talked about the theology behind why we are called to live a social justice life and showed that the main message of the Christian gospel emphasized justice. Others were more just factual, for example the Human Trafficking workshop was presented by the Founding Director of Fighting for Justice Foundation – a group of international human right lawyers. This contained information on what is happening and how we can do something about it. As well as these workshops there were comedy acts, Q&A’s, fitness programs, forums, kids programs, music (lots of music) and poetry. All of these had a theme of social justice intertwined throughout them”.
Elise Paull (Tuggeranong Corps) said “The beyond festival was a really fun weekend. It was much more relaxed than I expected. The music was really good and they were pretty much all Australian musicians. The workshops I went to were really good. I went to some about people fleeing persecution and seeking protection, the environment, conflict and our response, and human trafficking. I learnt a few things, but my biggest take away was from the workshop which explored how we respond. The speaker talked about how our usual ‘fight or flight’ response to injustice is not a helpful response, and how instead we need to change our mindset and find an alternative response – showing love and acting how Jesus did. This was discussed in relation to Matthew 5:38-42. I found this concept in particular really helpful because sometimes I feel like I can’t do anything in a situation, when actually I just need to be creative with my response and find another way to show love and respond how Jesus did”.
Go to www.beyondfestival.com.au for more info, or for info on next year’s event.