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:
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.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:
- Information sheet for congregations explaining what the baton relay is all about.
- Leaflets to give to the general public or congregation members.
- Postcards (front | back) to send to the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Minister to tell her where the baton is .
- Advice for contacting the local media.
- Press release (Word format | PDF).
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If you see the baton, tell us where it is, hashtag: #cop21baton
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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…
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:
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?
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.
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.
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.
“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!
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’
A ‘Tinkle of cyclists”
-I joined in with a ‘cycle protest’ running from the COP Campus to George Square
Former Irish President Mary Robinson, enthusiastically welcomed by the Amazon Rainforest pavilion, to plug her book on Climate change
“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 .
“One thing our churches can do is to say to the countries: “Get rid of your armies”
Unedited thoughts after the meeting chaired by Alok Sharma with indigenous people
Similar reaction to a meeting in the WWF pavilion, led by Inuit people.
“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.
An assortment of views from a fly on the wall, in and outside of the Blue Zone.
I used some of the ‘magic’ of the indigenous groups in the Peoples’ Assembly’ in the video advent calendar December 2021
The most eye-catching pavilion, from perhaps the smallest nation : Tuvalu
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)
I joined the quiet Christians outside the gates, ands listened to some more noisy protests inside.
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….
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 proudContinue reading →
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 JusticeContinue reading →
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.
Continue reading →
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.