About the Centre for Public Dialogue
Welcome to the website of the Christian Reformed Centre for Public Dialogue! We suspect you have some questions about us, so we've tried to answer a few of them below. But first, you may want to check out our introductory video.
Who are we?
Check out our staff page to learn more about Centre staff and committee members
What is Public Dialogue?
We think of public dialogue as a bent, a way of acting for justice and peace as passionate and responsible Christian citizens - and by 'bent' we don't mean twisted!
Why should Christians engage in public dialogue?
As reformed Christians, we believe that governments are God's servants for doing justice and seeking the good of all people - a demanding job in a diverse society and a broken world. Therefore, public dialogue seeks to provide thoughtful support and constructive criticism in work with our political leaders. Public dialogue is definitely an ongoing conversation about seeking justice, peace, and the good of all; for us, it is deeply rooted in our faith in Jesus.
The Centre for Public Dialogue lives into this testimony:
We obey God first;
Romans 12:1-7 teaches respect for governing authorities (see also 1 Peter 2:13-17); Revelation 13 illustrates government gone wrong. Colossians 1:16 teaches that authority and power come from Christ; Ephesians 6:12 warns us that authority and power can become infected by evil.
We call on governments to do public justice
That governments are called to justice generally and that how a government treats the poor and the weak is a key indicator of a society's commitment to justice is taught in all the prophets and in psalms like Psalm 72.
(Articles 52 and 53 from "Our World Belongs to God," a Contemporary Testimony of the Christian Reformed Church)
So what does public dialogue look like in practice? And what do we mean by 'responsible citizenship?'
A few basic principles guide our approach to public dialogue:
I'm intrigued! Can I participate in this dialogue?
Absolutely! As we've said, public dialogue is a way of acting for justice as passionate and responsible Christian citizens. Anyone can engage in public dialogue, and we're here to help. For starters, why not sign up for our monthly e-newsletter, Mobile Justice, or take a look at our Issues pages to learn more about our work and our approach to public dialogue.
As we've said, dialogue is a two-way street, and we'd like to get to know you, so why not join us on Facebook, or tell us about your thoughts and interests, or how you are already responding to God's call to do justice, or how you engage in responsible citizenship.
Where can I learn more?
Glad you asked! You can find more information about our specific policy work on our Issues pages. Our work currently focuses on Canada's role and responsibility for building sustainable peace in Afghanistan, and on Indigenous justice and reconciliation in Canada. You'll also find resources for prayer, worship, and advocacy on those pages.
We work in collaboration with many valued ecumenical partners, who also can provide more information on particular social justice issues, and ways to get involved.
If you still can't find what you're looking for, or if you have a specific question that hasn't been answered, please do not hesitate to contact us - we'd love to hear from you!
Where does the Centre for Public Dialogue fit within the Christian Reformed Church (CRC)?
The Christian Reformed Centre for Public Dialogue is mandated to present a prophetic witness to Canadian governments that demonstrates Jesus' ministry of justice today. Our work is based, whenever possible, on the official positions of the Christian Reformed Church, as determined by Synod, and we follow particular guidelines for submissions to government.
The Centre's work is carried out by staff, and overseen by the Committee for Contact with the Government (CCG), which is responsible to the CRC's Board of Trustees. CCG members come from CRC churches and ministries, representing regions across Canada. They are nominated by Classes and appointed by the CRC's Board of Trustees. The CCG also has a member from the Reformed Churches in America (RCA) - Regional Synod of Canada, who works in partnership with us.
The Centre for Public Dialogue opened its Ottawa office in Autumn 2010. However, the Committee for Contact with the Government has been a faith-filled witness for justice in public life since 1968. If you are interested in the CCG's history, contact us to receive a copy of "Our Political World Belongs to God: A Brief History of the Committee for Contact with the Government."
Still have questions? Wonderful! Give us a call, shoot us an email, or find us on Facebook. We would love to hear your thoughts, and to engage with you in dialogue.