Faith Today: Christine, you have a huge portfolio.
Is there one area that takes precedence?
Christine MacMillan: In advocacy, justice,
peace and reconciliation, and the global
tables we sit at, you cannot isolate any one
issue and slice it off as a specialty. When
people are affected and require the intervention of human advocacy, there are
many, many contributing factors that
have found them where they are.
We’ve just put out an announcement on
global hunger in which [the WEA] calls
the Church to prayer, because the hunger
in our world has never been so extensive.
When you look at the parts of the world
affected by hunger, you see there are
conflicts. You are working with portfolios
in dynamic form. You are trying to understand the story of the person who is
suffering, where do they not have a voice,
and you need to articulate that. Death will
come if you don’t have an intervention.
That’s how dramatic and critical it is.
FT: Right now in Canada we are having big
conversations about reconciliation and cultural
appropriation. What role does the Church have
as we move forward?
CM: Peace and reconciliation can’t be
looked at as quick fixes that will repair the
decades of what people had to live with.
The Church needs to educate itself in
understanding Canada’s history, and the
stories of those who have lived in that
history and have not been acknowledged
[or] appreciated with their culture and
own history as a people.
I see the Church is trying to engage that
way. Rather than having [previously mar-ginalized] people visit them, they are
visiting the areas of the country where
these stories have taken place. They are
marching. They are listening, rather than
speaking into the story.
The Church needs to understand we
have a part in stories of cultural suffering.
And if we did, how do we say sorry? How
CHRISTINE MACMILLAN is a Canadian leader who serves
with the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) as associate
secretary general for public engagement. She also chairs its
task forces on refugees and global human trafficking. Her
work takes her across Canada and around the world. Social
justice has always been a huge part of her witness as a
commissioner in the Salvation Army and as the first director
of its International Social Justice Commission in New York.
Christine spoke candidly to Faith Today about some of those
issues, women in leadership and her recent cancer journey.