Spotlight Q&A

Q&A with Peter Branjerdporn, Justice Enabler, SRC

anglican focus chats with Peter Branjerdporn, a pharmacist and father, who works part-time as Justice Enabler with the Social Responsibilities Committee

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Spotlight Q&A

Peter Branjerdporn is a pharmacist, who volunteered with AusAID in a refugee clinic on the Thailand-Burma border in 2012. Through Christian refugee activist group Love Makes A Way, Peter became involved in the local Sanctuary Movement supporting The Very Rev’d Dr Peter Catt, the Anglican Dean of Brisbane. As well as working as a pharmacist, Peter has been employed part-time as Justice Enabler with the ACSQ Social Responsibilities Committee (SRC) since April 2018. He lives with “his wonderful partner and two amazing kids” in Brisbane.

How long have you been involved in the Anglican Church and in what roles?

In 2000, I helped start a young adults service at a local Anglican church, where I led a small group and worship team. Last year, I started contracting for the Social Responsibilities Committee (SRC) through the refugee advocacy work I was involved in, and following this I began working part-time in the Justice Unit in April this year.

What is the name of your current role and what does your role involve?

As Justice Enabler, I work closely with the Justice Unit Coordinator (Jen Basham) to support the work of the SRC within and beyond the Diocese. As expressed in the 4th and 5th Anglican Marks of Missions, our work is focused on seeking “to transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and to pursue peace and reconciliation (TRANSFORM)”, and striving “to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth (TREASURE)”.

My role involves a wide variety of tasks, from creating spaces for dialogue and collaborating with others around justice issues, social media engagement, documenting and telling positive stories, through to resourcing parishes with justice advocacy materials and helping to run workshops.

What projects and activities are you currently working on?

Currently, I am editing and sharing videos from #AbundantJustice18 (held at St John’s College at the University of Queensland in July 2018) to keeping the prophetic imagination of the Church alive, as well as promoting an ‘Interfaith Vigil for the Reef’ coming up at St John’s Anglican Cathedral in September.

What have been the highlights of your role so far?

Meeting amazing Indigenous Christian leaders from around the country at #AbundantJustice18 and listening to their stories, such as The Rev’d Glenn Loughrey and The Rev’d Di Langham. Standing side-by-side with Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Buddhist faith leaders who are advocating for climate action in Queensland. Marching with hundreds of people on Palm Sunday for justice for people seeking asylum.

Can you tell us a little about your faith journey?

I grew up with a deep passion for Jesus, the Bible and ‘worship’ music. After uni, I became disillusioned with a faith approach that sometimes seemed overly focused on the ‘next life’, rather than the one we’re currently in. I believe God led me down a path of rediscovering what it means to follow Jesus in the real world.

How does your faith inspire you and shape your outlook, life choices and character?

The major choices I’ve made in my life have been influenced by my faith. I have lived in an intentional share-house in Brisbane, volunteered in a refugee clinic on the Thailand-Burma border, and am a volunteer community organiser with Love Makes A Way, a movement of prayer and non-violence for people seeking asylum.

What is your favourite scripture and why?

“ ‘…love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘…love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these (Mark 12: 30-31)”. This is my favourite scripture because it cuts through to the heart of what it means to follow Jesus.

What person of faith inspires you the most and why?

I first met Dave Andrews, a parishioner at St Andrews in South Brisbane, in my mid-20s at a St Andrews Anglican Church camp on Mt Tamborine when he talked to us in a circle and completely smashed my idea of who Jesus was. Dave continues to model Christ’s love to me and the world around him – imperfectly, but inspirationally.

What are the primary strengths of the church and what is the best way to make the most of these for the benefit of our communities?

I learned how to sing, write, organise, lead and collaborate at Church. It was a safe and nurturing place to be in my formative years. Being a place where people can feel like they belong to something bigger than themselves is a gift the Church can offer; a place where their gifts can be exercised and poured out from. But, we must speak up and stand out from the crowd on issues that matter in the world in order for people to know that we are alive (in Christ) and worth joining.

What do you do in your free time to recharge and relax?

I love listening to jazz and hip hop. I also play indoor soccer with friends and make up silly songs with my kids.

What is your favourite travel destination and why?

I love Thailand because it is blessed with amazing natural wonders, the food is awesome and cheap, the people are genuinely welcoming and because I grew up there.

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Peter Branjerdporn, with other Christians from Love Makes A Way, advocating for the release of people seeking asylum from offshore detention, at a Christmas carols event in December 2016

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Peter Branjerdporn meeting with a new Brisbane Refugee and Asylum Seeker (BRASS) Network volunteer, Eliaana Thompson, at a local café

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Peter Branjerdporn, with Dave Andrews, at an inter faith evening at the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital vigil for Baby Asha in 2016

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Peter and his partner Rachel with their children Mali and Ezra