A blog from Gwen Mtambirwa from our Associate, USPG …
As I write this it’s just two months until Greenbelt 2017. It’s three weeks since the terror attack at London Bridge (a mere 10-minute walk from the USPG office), a week since the Grenfell Tower fire, and just days after the Finsbury Park attack.
As we read the stories of good that have emerged from the depths of these horrors, it seems rather apt that the theme for this year’s Greenbelt is The Common Good.
It’s a familiar story that is played out after any disaster – there are always those people who step in and help no matter how apparently small their contribution. Simple acts of kindness which bring hope and transformation to the communities affected – me-you-us responding to the needs presented with compassion and love.
In the Gospels, whenever Jesus encountered someone in need he consistently showed compassion, addressing the need and showing love and concern in practical ways, not just spiritually.
His was a holistic ministry, not dissimilar to the actions taken by people of all faiths and none in response to the recent tragedies.
Of course, it’s not just in the traumatic events of recent weeks that have generated needs. In Matthew 25 Jesus talks of needs on a greater scale, of no fixed place or time, that are ongoing across the world in all contexts. Jesus is speaking about how the true meaning of ‘us’ incorporates the entire world – and he calls us to meet these needs as a single global community. As the world church, we are called to show the love and compassion of Christ so that all may experience the fullness of life.
USPG is a mission agency supporting Anglican Churches around the world in their mission to bring fullness of life to the communities they serve. Theologically, practically and financially, we encourage and enable churches within the Anglican Communion to act as the hands and feet of Christ. Together, we are working to improve health, tackle poverty, put children in school, challenge discrimination, nurture leaders, give a voice to women, and much more.
At Greenbelt this year we’ll be highlighting one particular aspect of our support for the world church, namely climate justice.
We’re delighted to have the Most Revd Dr Winston Halapua, of Polynesia, coming to Greenbelt with us to take part in a number of events across the Greenbelt programme. He will be describing how climate change has led to rising sea levels which are flooding islands and dislocating entire communities in his part of the world.
On our stand at the Greenbelt Takeaway you’ll be able to find out more about the impact of rising sea levels through an interactive model of Tonga. You can find out how to support climate justice and hear how USPG is working with the world church to combat the issue.
You’ll also be able to find out more about our Journey With Us world church placement programme, which provides an opportunity to experience the life and mission of the church in another culture.
We look forward to seeing you in August!
Gwen Mtambirwa, Outreach and Engagement Coordinator for USPG