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New CWS head passionate about community,
social justice

By Liz Martyn

It was the Christian commitment to work for justice and equity that attracted Jonathan Fletcher to apply for his new job as national director of Christian World Service (CWS).

As a Christchurch-based Quaker, Jonathan has been connected with CWS “as a person in the pews” for years. The Christmas Appeal, emergency appeals and the way CWS draws links between the reality of partners in developing countries and the need for international structural change have always impressed him.

Jonathan comes to CWS with an extensive background in local and regional development. He has worked in engineering and environmental health, including water supply projects for villages in the Solomon Islands and the Cook Islands and participation on the international advisory board for the World Health Organisation’s Environmental Health Centre.

This Malaysian-based centre focused on the importance of environmental quality in providing health for all. For the last 11 years he has worked for the Christchurch City Council.

“I was involved in a wide range of policy issues,” explains Jonathan. “I was looking at questions around what makes a city a good place to live, work and play. The emphasis was on the overall city not just its individual aspects.”

He sees strong parallels with CWS’s interest in looking at the broad picture and making global communities good places for all members to live.

In his first weeks with CWS, Jonathan has already been struck by the sense of common direction and commitment by all involved with CWS. “It feels great to be part for an organisation that shows this level of commitment and this sense of working together.”

Jonathan appreciates the opportunity to put his Quaker and social justice principles into practice in the workplace and supports the way CWS gives church members the means to take practical action against global poverty and injustice.

He looks forward to meeting CWS supporters over the coming months, although some may already know Jonathan through his youthful involvement in the Methodist Church (including being on the executive of the Methodist National Youth Movement while at secondary school), the Student Christian Movement, and more recently at the Quaker Monthly and Yearly Meetings. He is currently a trustee of the Quaker Investment Ethical Trust (QIET).

Jonathan will continue the current direction of CWS, making sure even more people in the churches and wider community have access to the excellent resources produced by CWS and the opportunity to support partners working for change.

“CWS is the churches’ organisation,” says Jonathan, “and my vision is to develop it so it gives the best possible expression of its social justice theology on behalf of the churches, and the Christian community. CWS has a wonderful network of staff, volunteers, parish links and partners dedicated to the elimination of poverty and injustice; they deserve to be provided with the means and opportunities to work as effectively as possible.”

You can contact Jonathan Fletcher at CWS, ph 03 366 9274, email jonathan.fletcher@cws.org.nz.