JAEI AGM 2018 – 10 March 2018
Summary of the Eco-debate/AGM morning …
An eco-panel discussion considered the question: ‘Is Creation Theology critical to the Future of the Church?’ in an event organised by JAEI at the Diocesan Centre in Johannesburg on Saturday 10 March 2018. The event was part of the Ordinands monthly Saturday ‘training’ sessions.
Morning Prayer was led by Rev. Martha Gordon and Rev. Judy Bassingthwaighte using a special Eco-liturgy. The group then walked meditatively on the path above the Centre on and through the quartzite rocks of the ridge, among late Summer grasses and the large variety of indigenous shrubs. There is a commanding view of Johannesburg from the Ridge, giving inspiration to freely offered prayers of petition. Rev Gordon spoke of the ‘nature deficit’ suffered by inhabitants of cities in these days, of which children are especially vulnerable as their young selves develop, and Martha said how just a short walk in the outdoors can reduce stress connecting us again with ourselves and our Creator God.
Guests arrived for the discussion and the JAEI AGM that followed. Bishop Steve Moreo moderated the four panelists: Rev. Prof. Kevin Balkwill, Fr. Anthony Egan, Ven. Michelle Pilet, and Ven. Moses Thabethe, bringing respectively their input from Kevin’s esteemed academic knowledge of botany, Anthony’s insights on the Laudato Si of Pope Francis delivered in 2015 to ‘all peoples’ concerning ‘Our Common Home’, Michelle’s holistic and provocative takes on eco theology, and Moses’ ministry to the Ordinands and deep concern for our relationship with the Creation.
Topics discussed brought forth pithy and somewhat controversial points from all concerned, including the audience. Bishop Steve asserted the Diocesan commitment to the inclusion of the ‘environment’ in worship and parish considerations. Variously: it was posited that the Church in its oft fundamentalist form may well survive the eco crisis while not addressing the eco challenges we face at all! A feisty answer to a question on veganism held that all beings – animal and not – are sentient, enduring the suffering of being consumed, calling forth a reverence on our parts for all the creatures that sustain us as food. There was consternation over the water crisis in Cape Town when it was posited that God is not ignorant of the crisis nor its stressful effects on the people, and that prayers for rain may be missing the larger point of Climate Change effects on the Western Cape peninsula. And it was proposed that eco theology be employed to address our ‘anthropocentrism’ in the Church, that God Loves and Cares for all of God’s creatures, not only ourselves as human beings.
JAEI were grateful to be invited to be part of the Saturday monthly enrichment sessions offered to FoX (Exploration of Vocation), the Ordinands, and Post (those recently ordained), and will gladly accept being invited again.
|Rev Kevin Balkwill, Fiona Maskell & Ven. Moses Thabethe|
JAEI AGM – 18 February 2017
On Saturday morning, 18th February, 2017, JAEI held its 3rd AGM at St Francis of Assisi Parish in Parkview.
Although AGMs are not the most inspiring events around, they are always a good time to reflect on the past year – the highs and the lows. Only by looking back can one go forward in confidence.
Canon Reg Gersbach (from Christ the King Diocese) was our Guest Speaker who encouraged us to use all our gifts and talents in the important task of Caring for Creation. Besides his very hectic Diocese, Archdeaconry and Parish work, Canon Reg is an avid birder, fisherman, nature guide and environmental activist and manages to balance his schedule accordingly. This was truly inspirational for all those who attended our AGM and Fellowship morning.