On the weekend of 5-6 October, a group of us came together in Walderslade, Kent for the Social Justice Weekend.
The event begun on the Saturday morning at St Alban’s Church, part of the Parish of Holy Trinity South Chatham. A good group turned up from across the churches – Baptists, Roman Catholics and Anglicans – all keen to see what we could do to support those living in poverty.
This was our first attempt in our area at campaigning. We began by looking at the reasons behind poverty across our globe. One of the big issues affecting the world's poorest people is the climate crisis. So we also looked at what the Parish of Holy Trinity had already done to raise awareness of the carbon footprint as churches.
We then studied the ECO Church survey (a ‘A ROCHA UK’ project) that measures the extent that a church or Parish has achieved a series of green credentials. This is focused on teaching and worship, management of buildings and land, individual lifestyle, and global or community involvement. We looked at the survey on line and were able to see what we would need to do to achieve a bronze, silver or gold award.
After this, we all got to grips with the main thrust of the day – 'speaking truth to power'. This involved a letter writing session to our local MP and chief executives of large banks, using the helpful information available on the Christian Aid website. We wanted to persuade these leaders to support renewable and sustainable forms of power rather than fossil fuels. We wrote from our personal and various churches' perspectives, encouraged by refreshments!
On the Sunday evening we gathered again, this time in the Baptist Church, to worship the Lord of Creation and confess our own misuse of creation. We prayed for leaders, our local MP Tracey Crouch and for our own better use of the entire eco-system, so that those living in poverty in vulnerable areas of low-lying land may be protected.
We also joined in songs of justice and prayed corporately and individually, inspired by Pope Francis' encyclical letter Laudato Si’ - On care for our Common Home.
Overall, it was a great weekend.
This photo is from central Bangladesh, showing a district where the land is now prone to soil salinity. Christian Aid is working with local communities to help them adapt to the changing climate.