Every day on the news there are stories of doom and destruction; wars and rumours of wars; poverty, child abuse, corruption … and then a smiley soul slides on to tell us what the weather will be tomorrow.
The truth is, tomorrow’s weather forecast is by far the scariest part of the news. In fact, much of the chaos and catastrophe in the news bulletin is directly caused by our reckless attitude to the climate. We’re just not making the connection.
“Listen, hypocrites!” Jesus says in a stinging rebuke to his followers, “You’re so smart at predicting the weather. How come you can’t read the signs of the times?” (Luke 12:56)
He has a point. So instead of gathering to sing ourselves to sleep, we want our Communion to be very different. Because Greenbelt must be different.
In our gathering, we’ll imagine the future together. What climate change impacts are projected over the next 30 years?
The first half of the service will be our response of lament and sadness: what will we say to God about the way we have treated the world?
Then, after 30 minutes, we’ll stop. And run the service again.
Second time around, we will present an alternative vision of a peaceful world. We will call for God’s mercy, and commit ourselves to change. We will ask how we should live to achieve that alternative vision. We will end with a corporate commitment to take action now.
As usual, the service will be built around an act of communion, experienced in small groups around the field.
Fear not. We don’t want to simply add to your sense of guilt and hopelessness.
Instead, we do want to take you on a journey through grief and mourning, to a place of hope, and leave you with a determination to act (and a theological basis for doing so). We want you to leave feeling joyful, inspired and glad to have been there.
Curated by: Andrew Graystone with support from Paul Northup, Nicola Hambridge and Lynsey Aldrick
Contributors: Azariah France Williams, Laura Young, Jamie Hawker, Isla Powell, Naomi Bennett, Nia Cook, Nushrat Choudhury, Joab Okanda, Pip Herbert, Pru Gibbons, Maggie Lippiett
Musicians: Olly Hamilton, Katie Ritson, Barney Kimberley and Chris Snead
Walkabout: Electric Cabaret, with The Elementals
Order of service design: Chantal Freeman
Thanks to: Peter Graystone, John Kettley, and Christian Aid