Churches throughout the Anglican Communion are expected to observe Freedom Sunday on 2 December, as part of increased efforts to tackle human trafficking and modern slavery. The Anglican Alliance has produced a resource pack, in English, Spanish, French and Portuguese to help churches plan services and other events around Freedom Sunday, which this year falls on the UN’s International Day for the Abolition of Slavery. The resource pack includes stories, information, prayers and a sermon outline.
It grew out of “an ongoing shared journey by faith communities working to end human trafficking and modern slavery” and will “enable faith communities to build their understanding of what human trafficking is, how to spot the signs of trafficking in their communities and congregations, and how to respond,” its introduction says.
Endorsing the pack, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said: “If we are to combat this evil then we must work together to prevent the crime, support the survivors and prosecute the criminals. The knowledge that churches have of their local communities puts them on the frontline in this campaign.
“Freedom Sunday provides churches with an opportunity to join together with others around the world in a day of worship, prayer and action on human trafficking. Freedom Sunday challenges us and resources us to take action to prevent the crime of human trafficking in our local and global communities”
The international resource pack is based on UK-version of the resource, which was developed by a coalition of churches, agencies and faith groups in the UK.
“You and your church can use the resource to learn more about human trafficking and modern slavery and how you can take action,” the Anglican Alliance said. “The resource contains the Freedom Sunday prayer, as well as sermon ideas, case studies, and links to theological and information resources.”
While many churches will observe Freedom Sunday on 2 December, churches are being encouraged to use a different date if that is more convenient. “All that matters is that together we raise awareness of human trafficking and modern slavery and take action to end it,” the Anglican Alliance said.
In the UK and Europe, Freedom Sunday was marked on Sunday 15 October, which is the closest Sunday to the European Union’s Anti-Trafficking Day, on Wednesday 18 October. The diocese of Bath and Wells held two events to mark the day and raise awareness of human trafficking and modern slavery. One event, looking at the national picture, included a talk by the Bishop of Derby, Alistair Redfern, the Church of England’s lead bishop on modern slavery. Another talk explored the situation at a local level, to open people’s eyes to the reality of modern slavery in their own communities and encourage them to “See it and Speak out”.
The Anglican Alliance is keen to hear how churches use the resource, and invite you to send your stories by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.