Anglicans Ablaze 2023 was eagerly awaited as it was the first time to be held face to face since COVID. People arrived in their numbers from across Southern Africa, SA, Lesotho, Eswatini, Namibia and also from Botswana and a large delegation from Zambia!
Green Anglicans were full of fire, as many young people had been together for two days of Climate justice bootcamp run by Climate Yes!(youth ecumenical summit) just before Anglicans Ablaze.
We ran two plenaries one for youth and one for adults on the topic of Women and the Environment. Both sessions began with a moving tribute to the work of the late Bishop Ellinah Wamukoya for her passion and leadership in this area. The tribute was read by Lulama Ntuta with images beautifully prepared by JP Roberts
Then Nonku Mudau led an intergenerational panel of Rev Dr Rachel Mash, Dr Lisa Adjei (Christian Aid) and Mvumikazi from the Diocese of Mzimvubu.
They talked about the impact of climate change on women( they must walk further for water, are more at risk of domestic violence when food prices rise, and are more vulnerable to disaster – because of social norms women wear longer clothes and are not used to climbing trees, they also are more likely to be looking after children or the elderly, so cannot flee). But women are also the solution – for instance in the area of deforestation – women are more likely to value the biodiversity of a forest – for food, healing, fuel, clean water and shade, whereas men might see it more for short term commercial gain. Young women prophetic voices are also rising in Africa such as Uganda Vanessa Nakate and Kenyan Liz Wathuti who addressed the bishops at Lambeth
Dr Lisa talked about the actions of advocacy that are needed – we have to change our personal lifestyle as well as challenge corporates and politicians. Then Mvumi shared about community actions that young people can take – showcasing a beautiful bag she had made from recycling plastic bags!
Across Anglicans Ablaze many people were modelling the brand new Green Anglicans tshirts with bible messages ” God so loved the cosmos” “The Earth is the Lord’s” and “The leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations” designed by JP Roberts
Several break out sessions were run: Dr Lisa addressed the issue of Climate justice advocacy – chaired by Bino Makhalanyane and JP .
Rev Rachel Mash was joined by Rev Thokozani Heathway and Rev Ngube (video from Namibia) to discuss the impacts of climate change – the devastating floods in Durban and the drought in Namibia, she shared practical ways that Anglicans can care for creation and preach the good news to all of Creation! The session was MCed by Bino Makhalanyane.
Photos by Mandisa Gumada and Mel Awu (both Green Anglicans!)