Responding to the climate emergency

In the run-up to Cop26 HeartEdge is programming a range of workshops on response to the climate emergency to assist churches in raising awareness and responding within parishes.

We begin by repeating the Creation Care Course we ran earlier in the year. On this occasion in a unique collaboration between Chester Diocese, HeartEdge, Melanesian Mission UK and Southampton University. The course begins on Thursday 7 October, 19:30-21:00, zoom. Register at https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAkcu6opz4rEtFamJIs6M2cAlvzTQmJT0a_.

The environment is God’s gift to everyone. We have a responsibility towards each other to look after God’s Creation. Tackling climate change is a vital part of this responsibility. In a recent address to faith leaders on 4th February, ahead of the Glasgow conference on climate change in November 2021, the Archbishop of Canterbury said: “To think climate change is a problem of the future rather than a scourge of the present is the blind perspective of the privileged. We look around and see that Mozambique has been hit again by tropical storms. In Nigeria, desertification has contributed indirectly to conflict between people competing for dwindling resources. Floods and cyclones have devastated crops in Melanesia, risking poverty and food insecurity.”

In this 4-week Creation Care Course, we will provide you with vital information about climate change, its impacts on people, and reflect on our role as Christians in taking practical climate action.

Biography of Principal Contributors: Marie Schlenker is a PhD candidate at the University of Southampton, researching climate change impacts in Solomon Islands. Marie conducts her research in close collaboration with the Anglican Church of Melanesia and the Melanesian Mission UK. She holds a BSc in Geosciences, a MSc in Environmental Physics and a Postgraduate Certificate in Disaster Management. Catherine Duce is the Assistant Vicar for Partnership Development at St Martin-in-the-Fields. She works for HeartEdge – a movement for congregational renewal in the broad church. https://www.heartedge.org/.

There will be further input from members of Melanesian Mission UK and wider organisations promoting church engagement on this vital topic as we journey towards COP 26. To get the most out of this consecutive course, we highly recommend attending all four sessions. However, individual bookings will be possible as well.

Next, is Reconciling Mission: Healing the Earth - Tuesday, 12 October, 14:00 (BST), zoom - https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/healing-the-earth-reconciling-mission-tickets-139537379057

What contributions can Christians and Anglican Churches make to addressing the global environmental crisis, and what it might mean for us to play a part in healing the earth, instead of exploiting it? Alastair McKay (facilitating), Executive Director, Reconciliation Initiatives, Ali Angus, Leader of Eco Church, St Leonard’s Streatham, Alex Hilton, Head of Sustainability, HM Revenue & Customs, and Rachel Mash, Environmental Coordinator, Anglican Church of Southern Africa.  

Then we explore the impact of climate change on the Pacific Islands through two panels entitled Making UK Connections: Voices of the Pacific. On Thursday 21 October (online 20:00 BST / 7am Pacific Time (22/10), zoom) a panel of artists and performers will talk about Pacific arts and culture plus the impact climate change has had on artist livelihoods in the Pacific. Register at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/making-connections-voices-from-the-indigenous-pacific-tickets-173884562407. On Thursday 28 October (10:00 BST (9pm Pacific Time), zoom) a panel of faith and climate mitigation leaders including His Excellency The Most Rev. Dr Peter Loy Chong DD, Archbishop of Suva, discuss what pacific island communities most need from Cop26 and how communities of faith can connect anew to amplify the calls for urgent action. Register at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/making-connections-voices-from-the-indigenous-pacific-tickets-173888614527.  

These panel sessions are part of a celebration of Pacific arts and culture in the lead up to COP26, a three-week festival running 9-30 October 2021, is being produced by Pacific Island Artists Connection and hosted by St Martin-in-the-Fields in London's Trafalgar Square. This inaugural event brings together communities from Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea who are based in the Pacific region as well as the UK's large Pacific diaspora. The festival is free and includes an art exhibition curated by the talented Sulu Daunivalu (Director, Museum of Pacific & Oceanic Art, Latvia), heritage arts and products, on-line panel discussions, interactive activities live-streamed with Fijian speakers and performers.

Showcasing both heritage and contemporary arts, including a wide variety of visual nart that has never been shown before, the exhibition will take visitors on a journey across the Pacific region whilst highlighting the impact climate change is having on these small island nations and how Pacific communities are fighting back.

Many of the works on display will be for sale and this income will directly assist Pacific Islanders who have been so badly affected by the COVID pandemic. A selection of artists showing in the exhibition include Nicolai Michoutouchkine, Irami Buli, John Danger and Robert Kua.

Fiji-based dance company VOU Fiji will be featured in a recorded film showcasing their award winning piece ‘Are We Stronger Than Winston?’. Choreographed by VOU’s Navi Fong after Fiji was devastated by category 5 Tropical Cyclone Winston in February 2016, the piece has been redeveloped by Fong to incorporate current conversations on climate change and climate action. At the opening ceremony, a live dance performance will follow the film, performed by Ta’Arei Weeks, also choreographed by Navi Fong, through virtual connections, highlighting the Covid-19 impact on travel and cultural tourism.

All event updates will be posted at Pacific Art Festival London 2021: 9th October - 30th October | Facebook. The exhibition will also be online from Saturday 9th October.

Also at St Martin-in-the-Fields is The Dream for Our Planet, a lecture by Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, Dr Emily Grossman, Dr Austen Ivereigh on Monday 25 October, 19:00 – 20:30 (GMT). Tickets: www.smitf.org/lectures

"After the ravages of the pandemic, it’s time for church and society to learn to dream again. Dr Martin Luther King Jr, had a dream of racial equality and social justice. Inspired by his dream, we’re gathering a chorus of dreamers from different walks of life to inform and shape our dreams for the years to come." (Revd Dr Sam Wells)

We have a dream, the Autumn Lecture Series at St Martin-in-the-Fields for 2021 brings together an inspirational group of speakers. It invites them to dream again on the vital issues of our nation and planet, after a pandemic that has changed the way we live and relate to one another and the world. Drawing on Martin Luther King Jr’s famous words, we aim in this series to address for today some of the essential choices and needs and hopes facing our precious and yet wounded world. Who are the prophetic voices for our time, and how can the church answer that challenge? How do we respond to the crucial issues reshaping our world like migration and those seeking sanctuary and safety through their journeys? How does racialised justice and ‘Black Lives Matter’ confront our history, our present inequalities and the way we live our future? What is the threat to our planet and the danger of extinction, and what is so crucial at the COP26 Global Summit? What is the place of theatre and the creative arts in the way we learn to understand our world and live our dreams? What is the vision of St Martin’s, at the heart, on the edge, seeking a vision of faith that can find God’s abundance even in scarcity that can inspire people to dream again even in the face of adversity?

These lectures will be live, in person, at St Martin-in-the-Fields, and will also be live-streamed online. There will be a chance for questions from the audience, and we hope to gather with the speakers afterwards at a reception. We ask those booking tickets to make a donation of £10 towards the cost of the series, but it is also our aim to make the lectures open to all, so limited free places are available. Those who can give more are invited to pay for a free place for someone else to make sure this programme is available for all.