The Salvation Army Australia Eastern Territory’s Social Justice Department exists to help people connect with God, others, and community.
The Social Justice Department is, in part, based on William Booth’s articulation of an ‘Intelligence Department’ in In Darkest England and the Way Out’. In it, Booth describes a department which holds knowledge and information on various issues. Booth writes:
“Power, it has been said, belongs to the best informed, and if we are effectually to deal with the forces of social evil, we must have ready at our fingers’ ends the accumulated experience and information of the whole world on this subject… This Intelligence Department… will become a kind of University, in which the accumulated experiences of the human race will be massed, digested, and rendered available to the humblest toiler in the great work of social reform.” (p. 236)
The Social Justice Department currently operates in four main areas:
- Education & Resourcing – Educating Salvation Army personnel in areas such as: Principles of Social Justice, the link between holiness and justice, community engagement, government advocacy skills, social inclusion, campaigning skills, international engagement etc.
- Advocacy – Using our voice (both as a Department and as the wider Organisation) on behalf of those who don’t have a voice in certain situations.
- Engagement – Connecting and networking with other bodies (both internally and externally) to ensure that we are having the maximum impact for the Kingdom.
- Current issues – This involves the Department staying abreast of current issues and developments at a local, national and international level, and being able to respond to both internal and external enquiries about such issues. It involves interpreting official Salvation Army positions into relevant, workable responses, and developing specific campaigns in response to relevant current issues when required.