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Re-imagining the Promised Land

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Green Christian exists to encourage and inform Christians on green issues and to offer Christian insights to the wider environmental movement. Since we were formed in 1981, the ecological crisis has continued and deepened; we seek more urgently to encourage all Christians in prayer, protest, campaigning and witness as well as living more gently with joy on the Earth.

"Re-imagining the Promised Land" – Green Christian's Online Festival celebrates hope amidst uncertainty

How do we find hope in a time of collapsing certainties and surging crises? Green Christian (www.greenchristian.org.uk) has been speaking out about the climate crisis and ecological devastation for four decades. In our first online festival, ideas for practical action and political engagement, will be underpinned by theological reflection, led by the Right Revd James Jones and the Very Revd Dr Frances Ward.

The festival will commence with a video message from Green Christian patron, Bishop James Jones. In this, he speaks movingly both of his grief over David Attenborough's recent 'witness statement' to the desecration of the living planet, 'A Life On Our Planet', and of why Christians should be concerned about environmental destruction: "desecrating God's Creation is undoing God's creative work, in, through and for Christ. It is nothing short of a blasphemy, an act of rebellion against God's creative purposes. ... Salvation is not just about the saving of individuals, but it is about the rescuing and restoring of the Earth itself".

Echoing the festival's theme of re-imagining a different and better future, Bishop James describes how Jesus himself re-imagines a future, where 'the meek will inherit the earth' and all things will be renewed; yet this is a renewal in which "the human family has its part to play, as part of nature, not apart from nature. ...bringing human ingenuity, human conscience and the human spirit".

On Saturday morning, the Very Revd Dr Frances Ward will explore with us how ancient Christian spiritualities of "unknowing" can set us free to commit radically to this present moment, to engage with the tragedy of biodiversity loss, climate catastrophe and rising sea levels and continue to respond to God in faith, hope and love.

"I know from my own experience just how debilitating it can be to live with anxiety and a sense of hope/helplessness. Drawing on the emotional wisdom of the psalms, and finding deep connections and vibrancy in the natural world, it becomes clear to me that hope is always there, in the beauty around us, in love and human spirit. The spiritual classic The Cloud of Unknowing holds so much that resonates with how quantum physicists today understand the world as profoundly entangled – and leads me to know that all is not lost and all is worth actively fighting for. Together in God's grace, where we are held in profound connection, our lament can turn from necessary contemplation and prayer to the fierce hope of activism." Frankie Ward

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