Justice and Faith: Individual Spirituality and Social Responsibility in the Christian Reformed Church of Canada is a two-year, collaborative project seeking to more fully understand the relationship between justice and faith in the CRC, and to encourage and enable CRC people to embrace justice as an integral aspect of Christian faith and life.

This project is a partnership between the Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRCNA), the Centre for Philosophy, Religion and Social Ethics (CPRSE) at the Institute for Christian Studies, and the Centre for Community Based Research (CCBR), and adopts principles of community-based research.

The Justice and Faith project asks three main research questions:

  1. How is the relationship between justice and faith currently understood and practiced in North American (especially Canadian, evangelical) Christianity?
  2. To what extent is doing justice a priority in the faith lives of CRC congregants?
  3. How can CRC people be best mobilized to embrace justice as an integral part of Christian faith and life?

Data has been collected using key informant interviews, a representative survey of CRC members, and a literature review. Interim findings have been published in September 2014 and are available here. Further analysis will take place throughout the second year of the project, including several ways to include feedback and analysis from Christian Reformed members and others.  More information about the project, methods and timeline can be found in the Project Description and Workplan.

Information about project progress and findings is shared regularly with project stakeholders by email, and can also be found on the Updates and Articles page. We invite your input, feedback and dialogue about the project, its process and findings at any time; visit the Get Involved page to learn more.

This project builds on the work of the Justice and Faith Pilot Project (executive summary; full report).

Who is funding this project?

The Justice and Faith Project is funded by a Partnership Development Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and by grants from the CRC’s Office of Social Justice, World Renew, and Canadian Ministries.

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council   

Why is this project important?

The CRCNA’s mission statement reflects the Biblical call to do justice, saying:
“As people called by God,
...We pursue God’s justice and peace in every area of life.”

The Justice and Faith project is helping us to understand how CRC people understand and do “justice,” and to identify ways to more effectively support and encourage each other in living out this mission statement as an expression of our Christian faith.

What is Community-Based Research?

The Centre for Community Based Research defines community based research as research that strives to be:

  • Community situated: the project began because CRC staff and members wanted to learn more about how the relationship between justice and faith is understood and expressed in the CRC. In addition to engaging CRC people through the research methods, the research team is continually open to feedback and dialogue, and provides regular project updates and opportunities for input from stakeholders.
  • Collaborative: the project is a collaborative initiative between various CRC offices, agencies and ministries, the Centre for Community Based Research (CCBR), and the Centre for Philosophy, Religion and Social Ethics (CPRSE) at the Institute for Christian Studies.
  • Action-oriented: the research process creates space for dialogue and empowers and encourages CRC individuals and congregations are encouraged and empowered to learn more about and act for justice. There’s no need to wait for a project report!

To read more, visit the CCBR website.

Who’s Who? Who does What?

Research Team
The research team carries out the research tasks and administration of the project. Research team members are:

Researchers:

  • Steve van de Hoef - Justice and Faith Project Coordinator, Christian Reformed Church
  • Ronald A. Kuipers - Director, Centre for Philosophy, Religion and Social Ethics and Associate Professor of Religion, Institute for Christian Studies
  • Allyson Carr - Associate Director, Centre for Philosophy, Religion and Social Ethics, Institute for Christian Studies
  • Joanna Ochocka - Executive Director, Centre for Community Based Research
  • Rich Janzen - Research Director, Centre for Community Based Research

Research Assistants:

  • Joshua Harris - PhD student, Institute for Christian Studies
  • Hector Acero Ferrer - MA student, Institute for Christian Studies

Steering Committee
A steering committee provides oversight and direction to the research team. It is a cross-stakeholder committee, meaning that its members bring the perspectives of those who are principally involved in and impacted by the project.

  • Katie Karsten - Justice Mobilizer, Diaconal Ministries Canada (Hamilton, ON)
  • Neil Lettinga - CRC member, former CRC Chaplain at University of Northern British Columbia (Prince George, BC)
  • Diane Plug - CRC member (Sarnia, ON)
  • Danielle Rowaan - Justice Communications and Education Coordinator, CRC Canadian Ministries (Hamilton, ON)
  • Jamie VanderBerg - ICS alumnus, CRC campus minister at University of Guelph (Guelph, ON)
  • Ashley Wallace - Donor Relations Associate, World Renew (Hamilton, ON)
  • Janet Wesselius - ICS Senate member (Edmonton, AB)
  • Karla Winham - CRC member (Truro, NS)

Stakeholders
Stakeholders are loosely defined as those who have an interest in the process and/or outcomes of the Justice and Faith project.

How can I receive more information or participate in this project?

This project is now complete. To see the complete results, or to learn about other justice work being done in Canada, please contact the Canadian Justice Mobilizer, Cindy Stover - cstover@crcna.org.