A new way of moving forward in this work for justice and peace #KAIROS20

Paul Hansen with Joe Mihevc
Left to right: Paul Hansen with Joe Mihevc on World Water Day.

Returning from a World Council of Churches meeting in Tanzania in 1974. I was transferred from Montreal to Toronto. At this time here in Toronto the churches were, for varied reasons, becoming committed in a more formal way to justice, beginning to form coalitions.  The international times were ripe. I was asked to represent the Catholic presence on those coalitions along with Michael Czerny, Jim Webb, Buddy Smith, Tony Clarke and others. A very exciting time. Liberation Theology was feeding us from the Global South of the Americas. Missionaries were returning.

In 1984, I went on a sabbatical to New York and Latin America to study the relationship between theology, church and politics. The Redemptorists had a general chapter in Brazil in 1985. The theme of that chapter was: “To Evangelize and be Evangelized by the Poor.” I was then invited to represent North America on the General Secretariat for Justice in Rome. There I discovered, when folks heard I was a Canadian, the outreach of those Canadian Church coalitions. Their history and work was desired. They were the go-to presence for Biblical Justice of the Churches. In 1991 I was asked to direct our commitment for Justice in Rome.

I returned to Canada in 1999/2000. Upon returning I encountered a major conversation in church land. The Anglican and United Church who had sheltered the coalitions were looking at potential new demographics for their membership and presence in Canadian life.  As a result a new way of moving forward in this work for justice and peace had to be considered. Hence the birth of KAIROS.

The Canadian Churches who were committed to the coalitions became the members of the Board of KAIROS. I was chosen to represent the Catholic Religious Orders on that  Board eventually becoming its Chair. KAIROS has become a presence of the churches in the cause of biblical justice and is so recognized worldwide. To this day visiting other countries especially in Europe, I am still asked about the Churches’ commitment to justice and the work of  KAIROS.

Given the new demographics the Canadian churches will be very soon facing the question of resources and membership. As a result maybe creative thinking might have to take place for this excellent work to continue.

Eighteen months ago I was a member of the KAIROS led delegation to Palestine representing the Catholic Religious Orders. The voice of KAIROS is very highly respected and wants to be heard. No matter the future we cannot allow this prophetic biblical presence to be only a memory, moment in history. 

Written by (Fr) Paul Hansen C.Ss.R.  

Filed in: #KAIROS20 Anniversary


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