Alex Wimberly, Chaplain at the Corrymeela Community sent ECI this report on the ECI Climate Justice Candle’s visit there:
Corrymeela is Ireland’s oldest peace and reconciliation centre. We are an ecumenical Christian community with a mission of transforming division through human encounter.
We were privileged to host the ECI Climate Justice Candle for the entire month of February 2019 at our Ballycastle centre. We hold worship twice a day in the Croí (our space for prayer and reflection) and throughout the month we focused ourselves on the issues of climate justice and ecological sustainability. Among the strong themes that arose from these sessions was the sense of gratitude we have for what is available to us. We believe a change in attitude from scarcity to abundance leads to a healthier relationship with the earth, with God, and with each other.
Corrymeela has long held environmental issues close to our heart. Along with a history of incorporating ecological themes into our worshipping life, we have made decisions with our environmental impact in mind. We have a wind turbine that can produce around 1/5 of our energy needs. Our polytunnel provides some of our daily greens in our fork-to-fork scheme, but can also serve as an outdoor classroom for many of our groups. Our rewilding committee, our ‘don’t mow, let grow’ policy, and our wildlife pond all work toward integrating ecological issues into our concepts of reconciliation work. We know that the work of peacebuilding is already tied up with the effects of climate change as the poorest and most vulnerable suffer from the decisions taken by more privileged people and nations.
The Corrymeela Community dedicates itself in part to the good stewardship of resources and to the care of creation. With the arrival of the ECI Climate Justice Candle, we found a focal point for two Community-led initiatives. One is the launch of a Creation Care Group within the membership, formed to encourage members to take up this essential work more fully. The other is our 2019 Lenten Walks, which has taken on the theme of ‘Solidarity with the Earth.’ The first walk started from the Croí with a brief service featuring the Climate Justice Candle.
We feel we are only at an initial stage for what is possible in terms of our own participation in sustainability efforts – and in our ability to be a place of learning, transformation, and advocacy. We hope to undertake a further audit of our site to highlight our strengths in these matters, and to raise the issue further within our community. We also look to building up our relationships with other Eco-Congregation communities so as to advance this crucial work and provide a more effective witness.
Having hosted the climate justice candle for a full month, its absence is noticeable. Nevertheless, its effect remains with us and will inspire us to do more.