Jesus came to proclaim freedom and liberation. In the Synagogue in Nazareth he claimed the words of the prophet Isaiah saying that they were fulfilled in him:
When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’
Jesus preached the coming of God's kingdom and made clear that this Kingdom was the place where God's reign was respected and obeyed. This reign is about justice - Jesus often spoke of economic justice with the poor being a particular concern of his. The rich are constantly challenged by Jesus to give away their riches, the poor are told they will be filled with good things. Those in power (religious or political) were often criticised by Jesus for neglecting their God-given responsibilities and Jesus even reminded Pilate that the power he exercised was given to him by God not the Emperor.
In seeking to be faithful disciples of the Lord Jesus we seek to emulate this passionate commitment to justice. We do this in various ways.
- We have a particular ministry working with asylum seekers and refugees.
- We try to ensure we can pay the reasonable travel expenses of asylum seekers (who have to survive on just £35 a week and sometimes are kept cashless).
- We work closely with the Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit which provides free legal advice and representation to asylum seekers.
- We have set up a buddy bank of people who will befriend asylum seekers and help them in very practical ways and, of course, we offer a warm welcome to them each week and include them in our worship and ministry.
- We have joined ChangeMakers a broad based coalition seeking change in Manchester.
- We have campaigned, and given evidence to Parliament, around the Civil Partnership Act and the Gender Recognition Act. We are doing the same on the current government proposals to allow lesbian and gay couples to get married.
- We work with Independent Advisory Groups of the police, hate crime units and government departments looking at equality; and two of our members serve as Justices of the Peace.