SASKATOON—On the heels of some of the largest public protests in recent history, and a fairly polarizing national election, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Saskatchewan hosted its first annual peace conference entitled “Advocacy matters: Deeper roots, stronger action,” on Nov. 2. About 75 people heard from a variety of speakers and panelists, including, Esther Epp-Tiessen, former MCC Ottawa Office public engagement coordinator; Steve Heinrichs, director of Indigenous-Settler Relations for Mennonite Church Canada; and Charlie Clark, mayor of Saskatoon. Heinrichs challenged attendees to begin looking at the practice of advocacy as an act of political holiness. He said he believes that advocacy in practice creates “postures that spur us on as political saints in a joyful and risky mission of following the God who became poor for the suffering.” So how do Christians continue to advocate for justice in an unjust world? It starts by not only being a peace witness, but actively participating in peacebuilding. Advocacy is done through relationship. The work that MCC does through its advocacy office helps to identify privilege and show people how they can use that privilege as a megaphone.
Mennonite Church Canada’s Steve Heinrichs speaks about the cost of advocacy. (Photo by Jana Al-Sagheer)