Green Christian at NJPN Conference 2021: “We come together for our common home”
The chant: “We come together for our common home”, ran through the liturgies at this year’s annual conference of the National Justice and Peace Network of England and Wales (NJPN). The conference was entitled “2021: Moment of Truth – Action for Life on Earth” It attracted 200 participants, including many Green Christian members, to Derbyshire for the first face to face meeting – albeit through masks – of Justice and Peace activists from every diocese since the pandemic started.
Pictures below taken by Judith Allinson (unless stated otherwise)
For the record, the conference took place on 23-25 July – 100 days before COP26- and – 5 days after 19 July – The day most covid restrictions were eased in the UK. So that people are now allowed to meet indoors in large groups. We chose to use masks when meeting inside, and when queueing for food) – but not when eating, and not outside.
The above song was written by Marty Haugen for the conference, inspired by Laudato Si’
Conference chair Christine Allen reminded the conference that there are now 100 days to COP26 and CAFOD is working with others to lobby for global warming to be kept below 1.5 degrees.
Green Christian vice chair, Barbara Echlin said,
“I was delighted to see the sense of urgency and commitment at conference to pressure our government to deliver on their promises. Green Christian can help with our COP26 web page where you will find theological articles, prayers, and news on actions being planned by many faith organisations.”
Andy Atkins, head of A Rocha UK, underlined how far Churches have come with programmes such as Live Simply, Eco Church, Eco Congregation, Climate Sunday and Fossil Fuel Divestment with Operation Noah, all of which have been supported by Green Christian and our members. He deplored the UK government’s loss of credibility to deal with the crises facing us.
“At a time when the government says it is leading the world, it has cut its aid budget and has opened the door to further fossil fuel development” – ” we should be saying “No More Fossil Fuels Exploitation in this country”he lamented
Fr Eamonn Mulcahy’s presentation on, ‘Let us dream together: Pope Francis’ Gospel Vision for an Integral Humanity’, considered criticisms of excessive anthropocentrism, consumerism and the technocratic paradigm – all themes taken from Laudato Si’. “We must be agents for healing and restoration” he said, “respecting every living creature and organism.”
Green Christian member, Mark Rotherham, of the Northern Dioceses Environmental Group, felt it essential we transform our current economic system so that it promotes both social equality and environmental protection. “A good life-sustaining economy is about slowly down and recognising planetary boundaries” he said. He described the arms industry as “a huge shadow over our nation” and felt that we need to withdraw legitimacy from this draw on global resources and energy. (Video)
Green Christian provided leaders for several of the 15 workshops: Paul Bodenham on pastoral care for climate distress, Peter Grimwood on Joy in Enough’s Plenty! programme, and expert botanist Judith Allinson led a couple of nature explorer walks (See pictures at end) plus a walk for the children’s group (See pictures immediately below).
Young university and school students told participants bluntly that they would like “less of fossil fuel companies pretending to care and schools accepting money from them”. They urged Catholics “to challenge the increasingly hostile policy towards refugees”, many of whom are victims of our UK actions in arms trading and raising global temperatures. One criticised “the detachment of our education system from real life” and the attitude that, “the more money we have the more successful we are.” (Video) See Text and watch the video below
There was an enthusiastic action planning session at the end. Columbans and Salesians are among those arranging a 24-hour prayer vigil on 5 November – during COP26 – that parishes can join, with intentions fed in from around the world. Many dioceses plan to connect with the Young Christian Climate Network (YCCN) pilgrimage to Glasgow and the Camino to COP26, setting off in September. The picture below shows the Leeds Diocese Group who came outside so they could make their plans covid-mask free – and enjoy the beautiful outdoors.
Judith Allinson set up the Green Christian stall (see below) in the “Just Fair” stall area. Barbara Echlin was able to give many people copies of our latest Green Christian Magazine (Youth issue) – seen here with Fr Eamonn Mulcahy CSSp
Watch more of the videos from the weekend on NJPN Youtube channel.
A few more pictures of the Nature Walk: