Baton Relay

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Eco-Congregation Scotland is taking a baton to Paris, to express the demands of churches in Scotland that negotiators agree to a deal that promotes global climate justice. The baton, which will pass around churches in Scotland throughout the summer of 2015, will carry the hopes and aspirations of Christians across Scotland for climate justice to be central to any agreement reached at the conference.

What is happening ?

  • Greyfriars Recycling of Wood have made a baton for Eco-congregation Scotland from recycled church furniture.
  • The baton bears the message Time for Climate Justice: Churches in Scotland Demand a Deal in Paris, December 2015.
  • The relay was launched by Aileen McLeod MSP, Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform at our Annual Gathering on 25th of April:DSC_0064b
  • In December 2015 the baton will be taken to the UN climate change conference in Paris to share our message with other churches and delegates.

 

See where the baton is going

You can have a look at this map and calendar of where the baton is going  to get an idea of when it will be in your area. There are two batons in order to cover as much as Scotland as possible (which is why it will appear that it is in two places at once on many dates!). Green markers indicate where the baton has travelled so far; red markers indicate where it will be going.

 

 

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If you are a local church congregation you can book the baton to visit your church when it is passing through your area. As the route is dependent on who signs up please contact us as soon as possible to get your name on the list. Please send an email to manager@ecocongregationscotland.org (or use our contact form here) stating the name of your congregation, its location, plus your name and phone number. We will get in touch to arrange a date.

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We ask that all congregations receiving the baton do the following:

  • Fill out one of the postcards and post it to us so we can collect them together and give to the Climate Change minister to show where the baton has been.
  • Contact the local press (newspaper or maybe local radio).
  • Put an article in your own church magazine.
  • Contact other local congregations (of all denominations) and ask them to take part.

When you receive the baton there will be a pack containing printed information. If any of this is missing you can download a copy here:

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If you see the baton, tell us where it is, hashtag: #cop21baton


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  • Video diary stuff

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    The COP clips

    EcoChaplain David Coleman was privileged to gain access as an ‘observer’ to the ‘Blue Zone’ of COP26 in Glasgow. He was also able to move around the city by bike,  dropping in now and then at the EcoCongrgation Scotland Hub in Govan Linthouse church,  the churches Hub at the Salvation Army,  and various other locations including  Glasgow Cathedral, which hosted a number of events during the days of the Conference. This page gives a few  almost random video ‘snapshots’ of that experience.

    Climate March: Faith Bloc

    The huge march of celebration of COP – not much of it felt that much like protest, but rather a great encouragement of activism on the occasion of COP coming to our doorstep . I was with the ‘faith bloc’ which got rather holed up in a wet muddy park before we got going. The marshalling strategies in one way kept the different groupings from mixing as they night, but it was a full day, a joyful day and an encouraging day…

    Web Video

    Save the bear : Follow-up:  I spotted the Polar Bear from the Cycle Bloc of the march with a group of cycling protestors a day or so later:

    Web Video

    Biblical Blurb:  musings on Psalm 8. Who are the ‘voices of the disregarded’ who speak the Word of God. Things also reminiscent  of the ‘steward of unjust wealth’  Luke 16 ( not the ‘unjust steward’) – is it possible, by re-stating values, to mobilise even capitalism on the side of conservation?  It a whale, as an actor in carbon capture, has a value of several million dollars, will this change our attitudes and behaviour?

    Web Video

    There was a less formal space for reflection and meeting in the Blue Zone. Each morning at eight, it appeared, some folk met for prayer and reflection. Somehow I didn’t quite get involved in this, though I noted that friends from the World Council of Churches and other faith organisations did.

    Web Video

    COP does bring people together – and sometimes allows confrontations like this between a woman from the indigenous peoples and a man from the more ‘official’ side of how Brazil relates to the climate and biodiversity crises.  I don’t know Portuguese, but the body language says enough.

    Web Video

    To till and Keep: 

    Early each morning, the gardener came in to tend – to till and keep- the garden of the letters of COP 26 in the Action Zone,. I had the pleasure of saying hello.

    Web Video

    “All these people here to help”.

    Realising on the first day: COP really is an attempt by nations and NGOs and more, to do something for the common good. …. approach it with goodwill, and see what can be built on it!

    Web Video

    During COP I was able to offer, ‘remotely’ the ‘Time for Reflection’ slot for the Scottish Parliament. The Liberal Democrats’ leader later came up out of the blue,  and spoke about it in the Blue Zone. He said he ‘remembered the shirt’.  I actually recorded the talk in a cupboard overlooking the parliament chamber.Look out in the long set at the beginning, for the figures of ‘the people’

    Web Video

    A ‘Tinkle of cyclists”

    -I joined in with a ‘cycle protest’ running from the COP Campus to George Square

    Web Video

    Former Irish President  Mary Robinson, enthusiastically welcomed by the Amazon Rainforest pavilion, to plug her book on Climate change

    Web Video
    Web Video

    “Religion is for those who believe in hell, spirituality is for those who’ve been there” 

    “Uncle Ray Minicom” (?), speaking for Australian indigenous peoples. Location sound .

    Web Video

    “One thing our churches can do is to say to the countries: “Get rid of your armies”

    Web Video

    Unedited thoughts after the meeting chaired by Alok Sharma with indigenous people

    Web Video

    Similar reaction to a meeting in the WWF pavilion, led by Inuit people.

    Web Video

    “Transition is a must, but transition must be just.  “Transition will not be possible without being conducted in an openly and obviously just way….   Which is also a problem where there is populist misinformation, misleading the people.

    Web Video

    An assortment of views from a fly on the wall, in and outside of the Blue Zone.

    Web Video

    I used some of the ‘magic’ of the indigenous groups in the Peoples’ Assembly’ in the video advent calendar  December 2021

    Web Video

    The most eye-catching pavilion, from perhaps the smallest nation : Tuvalu

    Web Video

    More from the Pacific Pavilion ( which took a lot of locating)  -From Rev James Bhagwan, Pacific Council of Churches , Methodist based in Fiji.

    ( Sound quality  is as it comes, but what he has to say is worthwhile)

    Web Video

    I joined the quiet Christians outside the gates, ands listened to some more noisy protests inside.

    Web Video

    Prayer after COP

    A first attempt as to -what to say, what to pray, after the experience!

    Continue reading →
  • You know it’s Good News when…. Hymn poem for Epiphany 4

    Cliff edge

    You know it’s Good News….

    For Epiphany 4C (1 Corinthians 13, Luke 4). Thinking about the potentially violent reception of radical changes to lifestyle and the practice of faith that emerge when Scripture and preaching are taken seriously. 

    Meter  11 11 11 11 ( e.g.  St Deinio, Stowey)

    1) You know it’s Good News when it drives you to rage:

    makes changes apparent; the End of the Age;

    Love sounds like a message you’d like to ignore

    and throw down on rocks from the cliff to the shore!

    ===========================

    2)You’ve chosen to listen, but here’s the surprise 

    that Jesus brings justice to light to your eyes:

    says “healing is God’s gift for here and for now

    not stuck in the past, nor beyond far hills’ brow”.

    ================================================

    3)And Good News from Jesus is Good News for all

    the Earth and the enemy, monstrous and small;

    with warnings to heed and delights to enjoy

    inclusive and caring: it’s bound to annoy!

    ================================================

    4)In language of angels or slang of the street

    Christ’s friends will speak love to whomever they meet

    And how you receive it speaks volumes aloud

    But Good News that’s welcomed gives cause to be proud

    Continue reading →
  • Not a Christmas card, but….

    All I can manage with the energy remaining in 2021….

    Continue reading →
  • Home by another Way – Advent after COP

    All videos are readily downloadable via Vimeo.:

    An alternative, ecumenical, international, environmental, Advent Calendar

    (Top of Page: an alternative, spontaneous Christmas message)

    Christmas Message: Major reflection: on location in the Pentland Hills

    =================================================================================

    Day 27: Christmas Eve Joy with the shepherds

    Day 26: 23rd December No room at the inn

    Day 25: 22nd December As they rejoice dividing plunder

    Day 24: 21st December The vital voices for life

    Day 23: 20th December The scattered proud

    Day 22: 19th December Generations to come 

    Day 21: 18th December John’s two fires

    Day 20: 17th December The additional coat….

    *******Additional note for Day 19

    Day 19: 16th December: The right trees in the right place …. PLEASE VIEW NOTE (above)

    Day 18: 15th December Welcome for snakes

    Day 17: 14th December The Water of Life

    Day 16: 13th December The shame and the lame…

    Day 15: 12th December Hope & Responsibility

    Day 14: 11th December Reading it right, reading it green

    Day 13: 10th December Transforming the landscape

    Day 12: 9th December Location and message – from Orkney

    Day 11: 8th December What is wilderness?

    Day 10: 7th December Informed and inspired – from France

    Day 9: 6th December Called to prophecy

    Day 8: 5th December Cleaning up our act

    Day 7: 4th December The Trees are alert

    Day 6: 3rd December Redeeming ‘Redemption’

    Day 5: 2nd December Hope in Apocalypse

    Day 4: 1st December Nations in turmoil over climate crisis Opening Filmed in a ‘Plenary Hall’ at COP

    Day 3: 30th November The sustainable community

    Day 2: 29th November Don’t look away

    Day 1: 28th November The Branch of Justice

    Continue reading →
  • The elephant’s leg: coming up after COP! (written for a student Christian publication)

    There’s an insulting, ableist fable about three blind folk who were asked to analyse an elephant. The first bumps into a leg, and concludes it’s a tree. The second gropes the trunk, and concludes it’s a snake.  The third feels a tail, and concludes it’s a broom.  


    After impacting various protrusions, attending countless meetings, writing liturgies and more, over the last two years, what I have to share is as honest –  and as comprehensive – as the reporting of  the three, but probably of the one who bumped into the leg. 

    My colleagues are still stumbling, dazed as to what to make of the emotional impact of an event which had to happen, which by the standards of previous decades, did so much good, yet in the days of Code Red, leaves so very much still to do. 


    Thanks to some timely form-filling by a colleague, I was able, each morning, to pass through security into the ‘Blue Zone’  which was enormous grotto, full of fast-walking reporters, politicians, lobbyists and observers.

    Every nation trying their utmost to present themselves as greener than green, especially  major polluters Australia, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.  Indonesia, where deforestation has been extreme, offered a bamboo pavilion, traditional catering and costumes. Across the aisle, the UK pavilion, made of cardboard mailing tubes, bore  the legend “GREAT” all over it (in small print: ‘Britain and Northern Ireland”). Terribly friendly young people with t-shirts promoting collaborative practice swanned around close by, peddling dubious myths to support nuclear power such as “there were no casualties following Fukushima”.  


    Of course, the COP campus was awash with greenwashing – and yet most of it did look truly ridiculous. Lies, bribery, and buying up the credentials of ‘experts’ may have had their day – unless of course, they’re about to get far more sophisticated than Shell’s discredited claim that their fuels enable you to ‘drive carbon neutral’.

    A speaker in the WWF pavilion pointed out that there is not enough land on the planet  of any sort to plant sufficient trees to ‘offset’ planned levels of continued pollution.


    Their “Panda’ pavilion,  as well as the  water, science, peatland and cryosphere pavilions, were meeting places for accessible and informative scientific presentations which filled in some gaps  in my own knowledge. That although we might hope that the beauty of the natural world would make its own case,  the economic arguments for the continuation of our current state of exterminative warfare against the web of life of whom we are part, really have fallen apart. 


     Amongst people around me, the level of awareness was very high,  of the multi-layered crises of biodiversity, climate, and everything to do with the oceans which has been revealed by the overwhelming consensus of science.

    We do no one any favour, nor is it any longer an expression of love, to concede that denialism, delayism or incrementalism are anything approaching  valid ‘opinions’.  And you could include anyone who talks glibly about ‘solutions’ or ‘stopping the climate crisis’. It’s with us for better or worse, for all our lives and those of our grandchildren. 


    But  I do hope to have grandchildren.  There’s no cause to give up on life itself. Christianity prizes ‘hope against hope’.  It keeps me going each day to remember Jesus’ words ‘not to worry about tomorrow’ because you’re up to your eyes in the ‘kakia’ [original vulgar Greek]  of today.


    For people of faith, the lesson of COP is that  it’s finally time to mean what we say;  to ransack the treasures of our spiritual resources, recycling and repurposing “old and new”  [cf Matthew 13:52] and discovering how much sense it makes to look even to scary ideas of scripture and tradition, which, arose in times of threat and oppression. Faith should  build spiritual resilience, and my own extreme irritation with the dominant current narrative of British Christianity is that though ‘lament’ may be part of our response, it’s far from the whole picture. 


    We need something more like the ‘Hallelujah anyway’ of liberation movements: for joy in a long-haul struggle. We sensed that on that great march with 100K people on a damp November day in Glasgow. 


     Traditionally,  Advent confronts us with pictures of global turmoil, yet insists  that such times bring us close to ‘redemption’  which we read well as “discovering our true place, purpose and potential as activist creatures amongst God’s creatures”. Most of all, we have to learn from the indigenous voice at COP, of our kinship, dependence on and responsibility to all other life. To abandon the suicidal fiction of anthropocentricism. In life… and especially in faith.

    Continue reading →
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