Rev Geraldine Gracie from Cork Methodist Church sent ECI this report of the ECI Climate Justice Candle’s visit to Cork Ecumenical Bible Week, 21-16 May 2019. The theme was The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it.
Ireland’s declaration on May 10th of a climate and biodiversity emergency, was only one of the many reports from various agencies in recent weeks which have raised awareness of the human induced ecological crisis being experienced by our planet. It was apt therefore, that Cork Ecumenical Bible Week should have ecology as its theme.
During the week, four speakers addressed the theme from very different perspectives.
Rev. Elaine Murray, Rector in Carrigaline and Monkstown, suggested practical ways in which we could protect the environment for example, planting wild flower seeds and refusing plastic packaging when shopping. Deciding to do something positive every day in Lent was another popular suggestion. Rev. Elaine reminded us that environmental protection is not just the responsibility of any one particular religious persuasion but is the responsibility of every one, a realisation that could lead to dialogue and action between Christians and those of other faiths and none.
In his address, Dominican Fr. Ben Hegarty argued that humanity’s arrogance towards creation needs a radical re-think, remembering that we are not only stewards of the environment but also partners with God in its care and protection.
Dr. Richard Scriven, who lectures in Geography in UCG, entitled his talk ‘Exiles and Strangers’. He discussed how going on a Pilgrimage can help us get in touch with creation and also with ourselves. He likened us to ‘Strangers’ while living on earth because our real home is in Heaven.
The keynote speaker was Dr. Jessie Rogers who is a Scripture Lecturer in St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth, where she specialises in the Wisdom Literature of the Bible. Dr. Rogers guided us through Psalms 104 and 24 demonstrating how reading these (and other Psalms) can give us the incentive to participate in eco-justice.
As well as the scholarship of our speakers which challenged us to consider our individual contributions to ecological good management, the week was filled with warm hospitality, good humour, helpful discussions and opportunities for people from Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Church of Ireland and Methodist backgrounds to discuss together what the Bible has to say about this topic which is becoming increasingly relevant to all of us.
The Bible Week went very well and the ECI Climate Justice Candle was lit at each event where it was admired and its meaning discussed.
On Sunday morning 25th May it was lit at the Rogation Day Service in St. Luke’s Church, Douglas, Cork where the guest Preacher was Rev. Andrew Orr.