2023 May 5 - Living the 5th Mark of Mission

  • The Rev. Jasmine Chandra: Clergy day highlighted the importance of creation. From the location, to the prayers and presentations, we were reminded to value the gift of God's creation. I appreciated the practical presentation Andrew Matthis gave on community food forests. The biggest take-away was when he said that we need to see the environmental crisis that surrounds us as a cultural and spiritual-values crisis. As churches, we have a lot to offer in terms of how we care for creation and it is helpful to be reminded that our response should grow out of our faith. 
  • Postulant Alan Hall: I was happy, as a very new postulant, to be invited to the Clergy Day at Camp Medley where we reflected on the fifth Mark of Mission — our responsibility for and stewardship of God’s creation. It was good to be reminded that we were made to live in a garden, so environmental degradation is also a crisis for the very substance of our own nature. I found Andrew Mathis’s presentation about the food forest they have built at St. Mary’s in Fredericton brought together a number of apparently disparate threads. There is a community brought together through work, there is the rejuvenation of the land, and there is the possibility of harvesting and sharing food. And so the work of building a garden together is symbolically potent but it is also wonderfully ordinary. I was struck by the simple intentionality of the project. I also gained a heretofore unrealized appreciation for sea buckthorn. In the afternoon we turned to some of the wider reasons for both alarm and hope with an engaging presentation from Laura Myers. I also appreciated Bishop David returning, in his closing remarks, to questions of pastoral care. It was good to remember that our concerns about the environment, which are so often presented as global and inexorable, are also deeply particular when they take the form of existential despair, which they so often do, particularly in younger people. 
  • The Rev. Andrew Horne: It is hard to imagine a Clergy Day more informative, more friendly, or more urgently needed than the “Living the 5th Mark of Mission” event held on May 4. Andrew Mathis, drawing upon engineering, science and his love of plants, explained how local communities can create a “food forest,” a beautiful and environmentally-friendly way of producing food. Laura Myers brought her expertise in climate science and mathematics (she loves graphs) to explain the current threats of global warming and climate change, and to suggest various ways we might respond. Both Andrew and Laura were genial, articulate and prayerful. To further enrich the day, Cathy Laskey and Bishop David led us on a journey of “Rogation Blessing” around Camp Medley, and Rob Montgomery played his guitar and sang, which is always fun. It is strange, then, that the day left me feeling uneasy, a feeling that persists, not because of anything that was said, but because of a larger mystery that we find almost impossible to speak. Beyond our proper concern for healing our local environments, and our need to address the larger, global crisis of climate change, lies the cosmic dimension of our faith: our conviction that God alone created our world, and that He has promised one day to recreate it entirely. How then do we reconcile the need for human agency, and still acknowledge our dependence on the mercy of God? It is true, and was well-expressed throughout the day, that God chooses to work through us, his human creatures. We are called to be the caretakers and stewards of the world. But beyond this sacramental work given to us by God, lies the strong suspicion, well-founded in scripture, that we are not really capable of saving either the planet or ourselves, but God must rescue us. Here is the source of my unease. I want to accept, unconditionally, two truths that will not play nicely with each other: first, our human guilt in polluting the planet we have been given, and our responsibility to heal the damage we have done; and second, the promise, infinitely precious, that our ultimate deliverance lies with God alone, and that He has promised to create “a new heaven and a new earth.” Here are two very different truths, both of which I accept, but which I cannot easily reconcile. They are like two parallel lines of thought that do not cross. They are like two voices, equally authoritative, that do not know how to speak to each other. This is not a new problem in Christian theology. It is a modern instance of an ancient question: how can we reconcile human freedom with the sovereignty of God? I will not try to answer to that question here (I wouldn’t get very far). Perhaps all we can do is live out, as fully as possible, the paradox we are given. We must, as the old saying goes, “work as if everything depended on us, and pray as if everything depended on God.” We must do both of these, and both at once. There is plenty of fear and guilt in the world concerning this, our earthly home. This is especially true among younger people, many of who seem to have lost faith in human nature and in our human future. Hope seems to be in short supply. But we in the Church do have hope, and it is our particular task to share that hope: that God is at work both within us, and beyond us; in human agency and in his divine mercy. “For the Earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.” And we are part of that “everything.” My thanks to everyone who made our Clergy Day so candid, so challenging, and ultimately hopeful.
  • Just say yes.
  • There is a connection between the 3rd and 5th mark of mission.
  • Keeping our governments accountable for clean energy and efficiency.
  • Rapid change of the energy economy to sustainability.
  • We are part of a system and can help sustain them and their natural ability to do so.
  • We have both a role to play and a voice in helping.
  • Consistent actions speak volumes that multiply over time.
  • Listen to youth and church to build community as we listen.  How can we as communities support and make a difference in their lives, to have hope in creation not fear.
  • Hopeful to see how much the church is onboard.
  • Doesn’t have to be a big project.
  • Surprised how small the amount of our energy supply in New Brunswick is hydro.
  • Ice age temperature was a surprise and it doesn’t take much of an increase (doesn’t sound like much but is).
    Focus in on one project, good to do and right to do.
  • Inspired by nature, guided by ethics, based in science to create a flourishing future for all – permaculture.
  • There are parts of land that no longer exist is some dioceses because they are under water.
  • 75% of young people are frightened about the future and a lot of that fear is around climate change – medical survey

2022 March 30 - The Church Post-Pandemic with Alan Roxburgh