BUILDING A MOVEMENT ACROSS SOUTHERN AFRICA
Young Green Anglican “movers and shakers” gathered for a two day bootcamp in Johannesburg.
Members came from 8 countries, South Africa, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland (Eswatini), Malawi Angola and Botswana.
We had the privilege of worshipping together at St Mary’s Cathedral – and were struck by the contrast between the beauty inside the church and the filthy streets outside. We were encouraged to hear that the Cathedral has a dream of creating a clean and green Precinct around the Cathedral.
Our day started with setting the scene of the environmental challenges we face across the region and hearing how youth are rising to meet them. It was very sad to hear of the destruction of Cyclone Idai in Lebombos and Natal and Cyclone Kenneth in Niassa. We were also saddened to hear of the devastating drought impacting Namibia and the deforestation across the region.
Amnesty international then shared how environmental degradation and climate change should be considered as human rights issues and not just an environmental one
We then explored environmental problems : water pollution, deforestation, plastic pollution using the problem tree methodology.
We explored the “why” question – why should we be involved in environmental ministry and came up with the following list
– Because we are people of hope and for hope you need action
– We are very concerned about our children’s future
– We are concerned about the economic impact of climate change
– We have compassion on those impacted by Climate Change disasters
– We are inspired by the beauty of Creation and want to protect it
– God is calling us to care for creation
And then each person made plans to take back and challenge their Diocese.
During the workshop we were challenged by powerful Bible Studies – like Nehemiah we are to “restore the walls of Jerusalem”, starting with the portion close to our homes and working with people of all kinds of skills. . Like Moses we must find our “Aarons” who can speak directly to the culture and language of the community.
The workshop ended with a beautiful service of commitment, looking at how Moses handed over the leadership to Joshua.
A powerful message from Archbishop Thabo was read:
“As adults we confess that we have failed to be the stewards God called us to be. Our complicity in the destruction of the planet will be “visited upon the children, upon the third and the fourth generations” (Exodus 20:5) This is an injustice that we have inflicted on our younger generations.
Moses was called to bring his people out of Egypt, and then God commissioned a new youth leader, Joshua. On the banks of the Jordan river, God told Joshua: “Be strong and bold. For you have been chosen to bring the people into the new land, not I.”
Now we need to acknowledge in Southern Africa today that the leadership of the environmental movement is coming from young people
Be strong, bold and very courageous, and take the lead!”
Photos – JP Roberts, Mandisa Gumada
We are grateful for the Movement Building methodology from Tearfund that was used to run this camp.