February 14, 2013,
Dear Friends, Colleagues and Supporters
As our fiscal year draws to a close on March 31st, we want to express our appreciation to all who have donated to CCJC over the past year. Your donations are essential to the continuation of our work. If you have not already donated to CCJC, we are asking you to consider a final fiscal year end donation. Here is why. Your donations have enabled us to accomplish so much this year:
During our 40th anniversary AGM we celebrated the long history of CCJC’s spiritual and social justice activism. That legacy continues as over the past year we developed a new and interactive website www.ccjc.ca and launched our new SAGE e-bulletin. SAGE is a wonderful addition to our work. SAGE invites readers and contributors to reflect on various thematic justice concerns. Our upcoming edition will deal with the challenge given to CCJC members by Pierre Allard during his keynote address at our 4oth anniversary celebration, namely to re-discover and encourage in churches and society a divine image that is loving and a sense of justice that is restorative rather than punitive.
With your support we continue to participate in key coalitions, thus bringing our unique faith-based perspective to their work and discussions. We produced parish materials for distribution. We led restorative justice workshops in Ottawa and Winnipeg. We delivered a presentation on forgiveness on how corporation-based counsellors could help employees overcome their pain and suffering from the impacts of crime and violence. Before year end we will participate in a joint government and NGO roundtable discussion on how compassionate models of justice can overcome the human thirst for vengeance. We continue to address local community and student groups on the work of CCJC, based on our faith informed perspective on justice issues. In these settings we promote compassionate restorative processes, which we believe is fundamental for the healing and safety of community.
Several Restorative Justice projects grew from CCJC input in their crucial beginnings. There was a university forum on ‘Restorative Justice and CCJC’. In Newfoundland, the province provided a $90,000 grant to introduce Restorative Justice in Newfoundlandschools. In Ontario, Shalem Mental Health Network initiated an International Institute of Restorative Practices (IIRP) certified Restorative Justice training unit, ‘How to Grow a Restorative Congregation’ to equip faith communities with healing justice. These are among the impacts of CCJC work that nurtures Restorative Justice thinking and practices in a variety of communities across Canada.
We continue to raise public awareness of the issues affecting both offenders and victims. CCJC hosted critical interfaith discussions and developed a response to the chaplaincy cuts made by the federal government. We also maintain contact with inmates and continue to call for the staying of the death penalty sentencing of a Canadian citizen jailed in theUnited States. Your donations help us to maintain our office and staff, and therefore our presence inOttawa, while we engage in whatever way possible, the decision makers in the judicial system.
It is up to each one of us to stand behind the conviction of our beliefs and to look for ways to strengthen our collective voice. We seek your support to challenge vengeance and retribution as society’s collective response to pain and suffering from violence and crime. Join with us as we keep alive the call for compassionate, restorative justice measures in our penal institutions, in our communities and in our public education forums as a means to achieve healing and a restorative world. Help us to continue to represent you in this important work.
President, The Church Council on Justice and Corrections