So, Abi, what is Just Love?
Just Love exists to inspire and release every Christian student to pursue the Biblical call to social justice. The movement started back in 2013 when a small group of friends noticed the injustice around them, particularly the numbers of people who were homeless in their city. They were also struck by the call in the Bible to serve the poor.
In linking these two realities they got to work; praying, volunteering, campaigning and seeking change. Just Love now has 15 student groups across the UK, with more launching very soon. Groups have run campaigns on issues such as human trafficking, fundraised with partners like Tearfund, hosted speaker events to raise awareness, and inspired students to volunteer in their local community.
And so you were part of setting it up in Manchester…why did you do this?
I turned up to uni with a deep desire to serve God and his people, despite feeling overwhelmed at how to do it! I’d just spent a year with a charity speaking to young people about poverty and what our role is in ending it. I left that internship with a certainty that something had to change in my generation.
That’s when I came across Just Love. They gave me some amazing training and linked me up with other justice-seeking students. We learnt about the theology of justice and how to effectively challenge injustice through prayer, advocacy and practical action. Within a few weeks we got a group together and began sharing the vision with other students. We’ve been set up in Manchester for 9 months now and I believe we’re seeing an awakening of students pursuing justice across the UK. We want to shift Christian student culture so that pursuing social justice is the norm.
What are some of the things that Just Love Manchester has achieved since setting it up?
One of the most exciting things we’ve achieved since setting up was shining a light on ethical living through a social media campaign ran with Tearfund called ‘My Sustainable Summer’. This reached thousands of students through spoken word, blogs, photography and illustration. Generosity is something we really value. We’ve donated to local causes, and even seen one of our committee members run a marathon in our fundraising efforts!
We’ve been hosting events, from film nights about the realities of fast fashion to campaigning training, equipping students to be exceptional leaders. You can see more of what we’ve been up to by reading our blog.
How do you see justice as part of your faith and life?
Over the past few years I’ve learnt a lot about God’s heart for justice. When I look to the cross I see the most sacrificial act of love. I want to pursue this kind of radical love, so that others may realise their worth and come to know Him. We’re called to bind up the brokenhearted, proclaim freedom to the captives, and release prisoners from darkness. The choices I make must be rooted in the Bible and I believe that Jesus and justice can’t be separated.
It’s a pretty exciting purpose to have in life, so my faith enriches and challenges me daily. In the everyday choices about consumption, and in my offering of time, talents and finances. Faith leads to action- for me that means loving every neighbour and the planet God has created.
What is your big picture vision for Just Love Manchester?
The vision is to see every Christian student acting justly, loving mercy and walking humbly with God (Micah 6:8). Students are at uni for a few years but it can be one of the most formative times of our lives. If we develop habits now we’re more likely to sustain them for the rest of our lives.
As a team in Manchester we’ve been dreaming. What if students were known for their outrageous generosity, ethical living and love of every neighbour? Imagine what our city, country and world could look like if we followed Jesus’ example and radically loved others.
How can people get involved?
Just Love has groups up and down the UK, you can check them out via the website and get in touch with the staff team. Have a look on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to see what students have been getting up to!
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