The election is fast approaching and housing will be the key issue. We all know the stories. Friends who can’t afford a home or struggle to pay their rent. Families forced to pay for a motel or sleep in their car because of the lack of social housing. Children getting sick because their home is too damp and cold.
What is the role of Christians in a housing crisis?
This election season Bishop Justin called the church to join a period of prayer, reflection and action, as part of the nationwide call by the Archbishops to prayer and action. As church members – homeowners, renters, landlords, communities and voters – we have considered the part we can each play, and have listened to God’s call.
Month of reflection, prayer and action:
Throughout August, churches and small groups were invited to pray and reflect using the resources and prayer guide available on this website. You can still access the resource guide, the prayer guide and videos in the Resources tab below.
Services of Lament:
On the 27th of August, as part of a national week of action on housing, a number of churches held services of lament on empty Housing New Zealand land. You can read the story of how it went here.
What is a service of lament? It is an opportunity to mark our grief and sorrow – in this case at our country’s failure to adequately house our people. At these services, our people publicly acknowledged that the state of our housing crisis is not okay, and prayed for adequate housing for all New Zealanders.
On the 9th of August, 600 people from around Wellington gathered at the Cathedral to hear stories of the crisis and responses from political parties. You can read the story about the forum here and you can watch the videos of the night’s speakers on our YouTube channel here.
In August we shared a suite of videos with you as part of our month of prayer, reflection and action on the housing crisis. You can view the videos on our YouTube channel here.
We have also produced an amazing resource pack full of useful information about housing issues, prayer suggestions, and questions to ask in a group setting. This pack works well together with the videos. Click here to access it.
Accompanying the resource pack, Cath Growcott at St Anne’s Parish has prepared a daily prayer guide for the month of prayer and reflection. It contains facts and reflections, and can be used in services, small groups, or personal prayer. Click here for the prayer guide.
Turangawaewae Art Installation Project is a collective artwork, exhibited at Wellington Cathedral of St Paul in the final week of August. It aimed to highlight that real people and real stories are behind Aotearoa New Zealand’s situation of homelessness. The artwork consisted of 42 wooden tāngata. Each tangata represents 1,000 Kiwis that live with the reality of homelessness. Most of the tāngata were turned into artworks, with some being covered with information offering insight into the world of homelessness, and others being left blank – their stories yet to be told.
Following the installation, an invitation was extended for parishes and mission units to host one of the tāngata in their part of the diocese for six months, continuing our exploration into the issue and offering a chance to spark discussion in each locality. Please contact the Wellington City Missioner, Rev Tric Malcolm if you are interested in hosting some of the artwork on firstname.lastname@example.org
This is a joint project between the Wellington City Mission, the Bishop of Wellington and Wellington Cathedral of St Paul.