Each community can take from the bounty of the earth whatever it needs for subsistence, but it also has the duty to protect the earth and to ensure its fruitfulness for coming generations. Laudato Si #67
On 17 May a group of clergy, staff and parishioners from around the diocese came together to pray and reflect on care for creation and what more we could do to respond to the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor. This was a parternship event with Caritas Diocese of Plymouth and CAFOD Plymouth. We reflected on our responsibilities as stewards of creation and discussed what the church can do to play its part. There were many different views expressed (and differences of view) but common themes around the importance of time for spiritual reflection and conversation and the place of LOVE at the centre of all our thought and action. We agreed the importance of HOPE and avoidance of guilt – looking positively at what can be done.
The event took place at Sclerder Abbey and we were blessed with beautiful weather – experiencing the value of being out in nature and looking at God’s creation with a sense of awe and wonder. We reflected on the concept of integral ecology and the important connection between poverty and ecology. As well as taking action to tackle climate change we also need to promote human rights and equality and outreach to the poor.
There was a general desire to see greater formation and education in parishes on climate change, ecological conversion and Laudato Si and to work together not only in parishes and the diocese but also ecumenically. We could use our parish and personal existing green spaces more effectively as well as changing culture and fostering wider societal change. People raised the issue of ethical and transparent investments and divestment from fossil fuels as well as asking the church to share more information about its carbon footprint.
These reflections will inform our thinking as we develop a draft diocesan strategy to take forward our environmental policy.
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