Welcome to St John the Baptist Church in Smalley, Derbyshire.
It was a sunny Saturday – people dressed in blue or green, there were many wonderful fish and bird head dresses, a billowing ark with animal faces at the windows and silken waves, children, drums and a huge octopus, all gloriously making their way through Derby. Organisers came from a coalition of groups and there were as many different approaches and perspectives on how we tackle climate change and support our ecosystems as there were people pre-sent.
Our route took us straight through a gathering of Christians witnessing to Je-sus on the streets. There was some conversation about personal salvation and the salvation of all things, and chat about sin and whether ‘Eden’ requires us to be vegan or not and so on. When we got to the Town hall, there were some angry speeches that I couldn’t hear very well, but saying, I think, ‘enough is enough’ and then a calm call to go beyond personal life choices to lobby and influence policy. The organisers led a rousing chorus of ‘We’ve got the whole world in our hands’ – with verses like – ‘we’ve got the rivers and the trees…., the insects and the bees….’ and ‘our children’s future in our hands’ and so on. And whilst I could sing the verses (a little thoughtfully), I wasn’t sure I could sing the chorus because I wasn’t sure where everyone around me thought God was, though I was quite sure God was within all of them. Then we moved to the lovely green behind the Cathedral. We were told there, clearly and simply, about Neonicotinoid’s impact on wildlife and particularly bees.
The penultimate speaker said that in the midst of the fear and challenge of ecological crises, another pathway is opening up, to draw us more deeply into the Kingdom of heaven; a growing awareness of the sentience of other things, the complexity and interconnectivity of intelligences different to ours, and an invitation to engage, not just from fear for human survival, but to act, willingly, with joy and awe for the sake of the kingdom itself. I bicycled home, through dappled light, full of peace.
Where have you encountered the Kingdom of Heaven?
As a church we take safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults very seriously. If you have any concerns or queries, however small, please contact our vicar or safeguarding lead. Rev. Kate Plant 01332 834928/ firstname.lastname@example.org or Carol Davidson 07747 871560/ email@example.com