TEAR Australia is a Christian aid organisation which works to bring Transformation, Empowerment, Advocacy and Relief in various poor and marginalised communities around the world.
Gawler Baptist TEAR Group is a small group which meets at 1.30pm on the first Sunday of each month at the home of Peter and Gill Caunce, starting with a shared lunch at around 12.30pm.
As we are a support group for the work of TEAR, we have a yearly fundraiser – the “Useful Gift Shop” – each Christmas, where the church collectively gives to the work of TEAR. Usually around $3,000 is raised.
At the TEAR meetings we concentrate on examining the justice issues behind poverty and marginalisation, and what our response should be, as well as looking at some of the work of our TEAR partners overseas. In 2016 we concentrated on the themes of “Living Faithfully in an Unequal World”, Australian Aid, Tax Justice and Climate Justice – “Live on One Planet”.
Our advocacy activities over the years have included lobbying federal politicians on Australian Aid and climate change, and many letters and petitions have been sent.
However, in November 2016, Gill and Peter took a step further and went to Parliament House in Canberra with “Voices for Justice”, convened by Micah Australia, who speak up for people in poor communities around the world.
Over 100 appointments were arranged with Parliamentarians to talk about how Australia can be a better neighbour to the Pacific Islanders, many of whom are on the verge of being climate refugees. Politicians were asked to take stronger action to reduce Australia’s carbon footprint (as we are the world’s largest carbon emitters) and also to provide more Overseas Aid for disaster preparedness in Oceania. The campaign continues with parliamentarians, and as part of this, members of our church signed a petition to our local federal MP, Nick Champion.
For the rest of 2017 we will continue to focus on the justice issues of extreme poverty, inequality and environmental sustainability.