The ACSA Diocesan Environmental Coordinators met together with reps from the Provincial Organisations for learning, fellowship and to make actions plans
The three day workshop was interwoven with the spirituality of creation care, with an opening worship based on Ezequiel 47 reminding us that water leads to the restoration of eco -systems, healing of the land and renewing of God’s people
In the opening session we got to know each other with a fun icebreaker and then shared our challenges and joys in small groups.
Resources were shared regarding what the church is already doing. Ours is the Mission of the whole church, not just a few, it is core business, the fifth mark of Anglican mission. We also learned about the importance of the Season of Creation a key time in our church year (1st of Sep to 4th of Oct) where we focus on the Scriptures about creation care, and pray, preach and act for Creation .
Next we looked at the Provincal resolution that has been passed to ban the use of plastic and Styrofoam – the health impacts on us and eco-systems and how they contribute to flooding. The challenge is implementation, but people shared that it is do-able.
The “Greened” canons.
Over the last few years the Province has incorporated the different environmental resolutions into the Canons. These are a very useful tool to encourage parishes to implement water saving, food gardening, tree planting etc
Our day ended with an evening prayer on the theme of trees. Trees help to hold the soil when there is heavy rainfall, they reduce the temperature and they also take in harmful pollution and carbon emissions, the leaves of the trees do heal the nations!
Theme : Trees
The next day started with a Contextual bible study on Gen 41 , looking at the story of Joseph preparing for seven years of drought in Egypt. What can this story teach us about making the necessary changes in response to climate change? This was led by Geke who is a PhD student who will be researching the Green Anglicans Movement
Next up was a wonderful presentation by the Dep of Forests, Fisheries and Environment about tree planting. We learned about indigenous and alien trees, how to choose the best tree for your eco-system, and when to plant. ACSA has formed a relationship with DFFE and all Dioceses can request trees for free. The presentation ended with a practical tree planting moment and we shared the liturgy from the Communion Forest tree planting
Next up was the Impacts on agriculture of climate change. Anathi Makamane is a young inspiring lecture from UFS who happens to be Anglican. She shared the impacts of impacts of CC on food growing and possible adaptation methods. She reminded us of the passage where the wise man builds his house on the rock! (Matt 7)
Moving videos were then shared showing the impacts of climate change and the losses and damages that they cause to lives, homes and infrastructure.
A beautiful outdoor Eucharist using the Season of Creation liturgy was led by Canon Mpho Mohale. Rev Mash challenged us to “Choose life -so that future generations may live “ Deut 30
We were then blessed with a presentation on the Just Transition PCC commissioner Blessing Manale . We learned that the transition could lead to losses in the coal mining sector but new mining jobs in the minerals needed for batteries. The potential for South Africa to become a manufacturing hub for renewable energies is very high and would create many green jobs.
Role of coordinators
A discussion took place about our role as Diocesan Environmental Coordinators or Chaplains which helped us to understand better what God is calling us to do .
The youth reps led an evening prayer on the theme of climate change
The last day was short as we ended at midday .
The opening prayer looked at the impacts of mining on people and nature. We then turned to goal setting and action plans for Dioceses and Cluster groups.
Rev Maria Jacobs led our outdoor closing eucharist and Rev Mash challenged us to ‘preach the good news to the whole of creation” (Mark 16:15)
We are very grateful for the support of the Bishops for transport to attend the workshop and for the adaptation network and the Anglican Overseas Aid.