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CLIMATE JUSTICE

Dear colleagues
 
Well – what a first week back all together! Listening to feedback from leaders across the country, it’s been wonderful to hear such joy of communities fully returning together, friends reunited, and the beginning of the restoration and renewal for our schools after the challenges of this term so far. Thank you for all you are doing and have done to make that such a positive experience for students, parents, staff and the whole community.
 
Equally, as you’ve supported young people adjusting back to particular routines and structures, and negotiated the complexities of testing, and new regulations, we continue to be so grateful for all your tireless work in providing the very best experiences for the young people in your care. So, take a moment to know that you are loved and appreciated – we see you and applaud you.
 
In this week’s Called, Connected, Committed, we are delighted to shine a light on the crucial issue of Climate Justice – a central concern for our whole society, and of course a particularly deep passion for young people as evidenced throughout the past year in so many ways. It was such a joy to interview Lucie Shuker from Youthscape about their excellent new report – ‘Burning Down the House produced in partnership with Tearfund, which has some excellent thinking, resources and places young people’s voices right at the heart of the debate.
 
In our National Younger Leadership Groups, we have continued to hear the central message that unless the church takes a very clear and active role in addressing the climate emergency, it is not truly living out its broad and deep Christian calling to living well together. These groups run in partnership with the Archbishop of York Youth Trust will continue to meet in the Summer Term to further develop young leaders across the country.
 
So, dive into the podcast and the resources below to stimulate your thinking and share with your staff and students to further embed your work in this area.
 
Once again, our huge thanks for all you are doing and every encouragement for the week ahead.

Andy Wolfe - Deputy Chief Education Officer (Leadership Development)

Foundation Update
Our next Faith at Home Network for school/ church leaders is on Tuesday 23rd March at 11am. We will be exploring the needs of children & young people as they transfer to their next year, class or school. 
Join our Team
We are delighted to let you know that there are currently a number of opportunities to work within our Programmes Team- both through programme leadership and also through providing excellent operational support.
Please do share these job adverts with colleagues within your networks that you know would love to be part of a positive, growing, and mission orientated team!
Leadership Development Programmes Officer (Systems and Data) - Pathways | Pathways (churchofengland.org)
Leadership Development Programmes Officer (Events and Partnerships) - Pathways | Pathways (churchofengland.org)
Leadership Development Programme Leads - Pathways | Pathways (churchofengland.org)
 
Do get in touch with andywolfe@churchofengland.org or emmatrenier@churchofengland.org if you would like to speak informally and find out more.
This week's Called, Connected, Committed podcast is a conversation about the recent climate change report: Burning Down the House. Lucie Shuker, Director of Youthscape, speaks to Andy Wolfe about why this is so urgent, what young people have to say on the topic and what we can - and must - do to address it.
Listen to our Climate Justice Podcast here 
Resources for further reflection
'The research tells us that 9/10 young people are concerned about the climate crisis.'
Listen to young people voice their views on climate change in this video to accompany the report, then check out the Climate Emergency toolkit Lucie talks about in the podcast to take action: Church Climate Resources | Climate Emergency Toolkit
"Prepare, Declare, Impact"
'When the world looks back at the church in two hundred years' time, will they think the church helped to stop climate change or were part of the problem?' 
Have you written a Letter for Creation yet? The Church of England has partnered with Christian Aid for this project, where schools and churches around the country have been expressing their hopes, fears, dreams and the actions they are taking to address climate justice in their own context. What would be in your letter? Letters for Creation
Find out more here about what the Church of England is doing to tackle Climate Change and how you could get involved.
'This is already in the curriculum but how much more might we need to do? Are teachers equipped to have these conversations?'
Luisa Neubauer (who has worked with Greta Thunberg to mobillise young people) talks in this TED talk about practical actions everyone can take. 
"I dream of a world where geography classes teach about the climate crisis as this one great challenge that was won by people like you and me... This is not a job for a single generation. This is a job for humanity," 
Find out more, too, about Joe Brindell's campaign 'Teach the Future' to achieve a vision for broad climate education here in the UK, as mentioned in the podcast.
Looking for ways to get started, or enhance what you are already doing with your students? Why don't you explore:
The Let's Go Zero Campaign for Schools
Eco Schools Accreditation
Kew Gardens Education
The Queen's Green Canopy
The Circular Economy (Leadership development for 15-18 year olds)
The new Bishop for the Environment has been announced as Rt Revd Graham Usher, Bishop of Norwich.

Norwich Diocese have some beautiful resources exploring environmental issues on their website, such as this booklet about the Environment Crisis:
Nature
'If we want to talk about the climate, we can't avoid talking about political solutions - how do we eradicate poverty?'
Christian Aid is one organisation working to support those worst affected by the climate crisis, to help find sustainable solutions for communities so they 'don't just survive but thrive'. Find out how Faith, who lives in Kenya and whose community has been affected by ever increasing drought, is making use of a newly built dam as a water source.
One of the ways to explore this further is through Christian Aid Global Neighbours Accreditation. 
'The scheme aims to increase pupils’ understanding of the root causes of poverty and injustice, as well as engage and empower pupils as agents of change in the transformation of our world.'
'Climate change in church seemed to be a bolt on - but to young people, it's central.'
Ruth Valerio's book 'Saying Yes to Life' (last year's Archbishop's Lent Book) is a great place to explore the theological imperative for engaging in climate justice.
She says 'this is a world of wounds and it can be all too easy to bury our heads in the sand, focus on our own lives and refuse to engage in issues which require us to make changes, personally and in our churches and in broader society... but we know that as followers of the risen Jesus, we are called to navigate that tension and live lives that speak of hope for creation.'
'If you have some kind of eschatological hope, if you believe all this mess will be resolved in some way, it makes activism sustainable.'
A song of encouragement, showing that what might appear utterly hopeless is possible with God: 'You turn graves into gardens, you're the only one who can'.

A Prayer for Our World

Creator God,
Everything you have made is perfect, beautiful and worthy of respect.
We marvel at the diversity of your creation,
In awe at the interdependence of your design.
What a wonderful planet!

Help us to care for your world, 
Understanding our responsibility to be good stewards,
Valuing all you have made,
And protecting natural environments for all.

Where we have not noticed the impact of our actions,
Lord have mercy.
Where we have been too slow to make a change,
Lord have mercy.
Where we have put our own comfort over the health of our planet,
Lord have mercy.
Where we have ignored how climate change affects poverty,
Lord have mercy.

Help us to be passionate about your world,
Activists who love your creation,
Aflame with compassion for the poor,
And beacons of hope for future generations.

Wonderful, merciful and awesome God,
We ask you to hear our prayers -
Through Jesus Christ our Lord,
Amen

A reminder of the beauty of the earth we need to protect - Sia sings 'Spirit, can you hear our souls cry?'
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