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üThe Green Corner þ
RENEWAL AND REBELLION
Faith, Economy and Climate
This was the title of the National Conference of the Joint Public Issues Team (JPIT) of the Baptist, Methodist, United Reformed Churches and the Church of Scotland. It was held on Saturday 7th March at the Riverside Centre in Derby and we joined the hundreds of people who attended.
After opening devotions there was a welcome from Rachel Lampard, JPIT’s Team Leader. She reminded us that “our environment is in crisis and inequality is growing. Yet our economic system seems fixated on endless growth while politics is paralysed and coarsened by division. The challenges we face – to reach net-zero by 2050 or sooner and to do so in a way which brings justice for all people – can be daunting.
As Christians, the way we respond to the climate crisis is deeply connected with our calling to be Disciples of Christ. Responding to the greatest commandment, to ‘love the Lord your God with all your heart…and your neighbour as yourself’ impacts every area of our lives as people and as the Church.”
Our first session was a Keynote Panel of a theologian, Anthony Reddie, an economist, Katherine Trebeck and a politician, Barry Gardiner Labour MP. It was chaired by Doug Swanney, Methodist Connexional Secretary. Anthony Reddie reminded us of the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden which illustrates the importance of restraint. We need to recover the concept of Sabbath, a day of rest from our constant activity. Katherine Trebeck pointed out that the original meaning of the word wealth was well-being and our economy should not be pursuing endless growth but the well-being of all people. Barry Gardiner had served as Ed Miliband‘s Special Envoy for Environment and Climate Change between 2011 and 2013. Fortunately he is still in Parliament pushing for more effective measures to combat Climate Change.
We then broke up into different workshops and we went to “Shaping a distinctively Christian voice in Climate Action” led by someone from Christian Aid. It’s important that Christians stand up for Climate Justice and have the courage to be counter-cultural. The last speaker was Christine Allen, the Director of CAFOD. It was good to have a Catholic share Pope Francis’ thoughts from his 2015 encyclical Laudato Si. The encyclical has the subtitle “on care for our common home”. In it, Pope Francis critiques consumerism and irresponsible development, laments environmental degradation and global warming, and calls all people of the world to take “swift and unified global action”.
A few days before this conference we found out that the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lent Book 2020, entitled “Saying Yes to Life” was written by Ruth Valerio, a well-known speaker from A Rocha, the Christian Conservation Charity. The book consists of 6 chapters, following the 6 days of creation. The first chapter “Let there be Light” mentions the green measures Stratford-upon-Avon Methodist Church incorporated in the refurbishment as an example of a church taking practical action to save energy.
We finish with a quotation from the Archbishop’s Foreword to the book. “Every single one of us has a responsibility as part of our discipleship to Jesus Christ to live a life that cares for God’s world and its creatures”.
PS Now just 2 weeks later our churches are closed because of the Corona virus and we are isolated from each other but we must still Say Yes to Life. Lim & Evelyn Ho
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