Clare Redfern has just arrived in Paris by bicycle and writes:
We had a wonderful time cycling through beautiful woods, quaint villages, past farming both small scale (initially) and large scale.
Into the industrial landscape around the canals of Northern Paris and had to negotiate the heavy traffic of the centre of Paris. Finally to the Seine and Notre Dame shining in the sunshine and only a few armed policeman around who seemed amiable.
A very convivial welcome at the aptly named St Merry – an ancient church close to Notre Dame – for all pilgrims. I spoke to a Korean Buddhist, a man who had cycled from Vietnam with his wife (only took 10 months), a woman from Hamburg who had been walking over 5 weeks, also The Tearfund walkers pilgrimage but only two people from Africa (Congo and Senegal). But I couldn’t see Euan McPhee!
Our small group had only cycled for 3 days in great comfort, however we joined in, offering our tattered Stop Climate Chaos flag, we also performed a song ( a recycled version of Widecombe Fair).
We also all sang a Phillipino song, Taize chants and prayed.
Now it’s Saturday and we have come to the huge basilica of Saint Denis for a multifaith ‘spiritual moment’. Very cold in the basilica but we are warmed by the music and meditations. Bishop Graham Usher gives an inspiring message about Christ’s arms spread wide on the cross to heal all of Creation.
Now nearby handing in a petition to be given to Christina Figueras along with petitions from groups around the world. Stirring words about the spiritual dimension of COP21 and the need for climate justice. Moving words from the leader of pan-African Congress for Climate Justice and the need for deep decarbonisation, a concerted and sustained effort. Then Christina Figueras spoke, the French environment minister and more religious leaders from around the world. Finally there was a singer and (hilariously) Madame Figueras, a German Lutheran pastor, a catholic bishop started spontaneously dancing up on the stage!
Thinking of all those marching and dancing for climate justice around the world today and tomorrow.