Celebrating three decades of Christians Aware
Christians Aware was described as a source of “accumulated wisdom and
purpose” at its 30th anniversary conference in Derbyshire last weekend. It’s chair,
Coptic Archbishop Angaelos, also told around 70 members that its work on such
issues as religious freedom, social justice and climate change is “important and
effective”. He applauded Christian Aware’s “grassroots work” and its
“straightforward message of witness and advocacy”. Barbara Butler, the
Executive Secretary was described as “a powerhouse - having a vision and
bringing people on board to share that vision”.
Christians Aware is a Leicester-based ecumenical educational and religious
charity which stimulates work between Christians, other faiths and the secular
world specifically on the promotion of Justice and Peace. It does this with a
programme of special interest groups, conferences, work-camps, books, a
magazine and international exchanges. There is a summer school in North
Yorkshire in July, and forthcoming educational trips include a visit to Zambia at
the end of May. Participants at the conference included many with significant
experience of working in the global south, and concerned about development
The theme of the gathering at The Hayes Centre in Swanwick, Derbyshire was
'Future Earth? Sustainability for the Environment, for Farming and for Healthy
Food.' A key resource book was 'Just Food. Food and Farming for a Sustainable
Future,' edited by Barbara Butler. “We have chosen this focus because we know
that there is an urgency for farming and the environment to move together towards
a sustainable future” she said.
Speaker Professor John Wibberley from the Royal Agricultural University in
Cirencester spoke about the resilience of Britain’s small farmers and moves
towards sustainable agriculture. Claudine McCready and Barbara Woods - the
daughter and biographer of E.F. Schumacher, author of ‘Small is Beautiful’ - gave
ideas on living more simply and expressing gratitude to God through prayer for the
blessings of the natural world. Artist Adam Boulter showed through his
environmental paintings that all places are sacred and should be respected as
part of God’s creation, rather than commodified. David Buckland, who is also an
artist, showed his artistic projection onto a melting iceberg in the Arctic that
“Another world is possible”. A Christian Aid seminar on Climate Change called for
urgent action to keep warming beneath the 1.5 degrees threshold, including
reducing fossil fuel use.
Ellen Teague of the Columban JPIC team gave the final input, pulling together
conference themes and underling initiatives and campaigns for follow up. These
included: Eating less meat, supporting fairtrade, advocacy work on climate
change and biodiversity, and bringing environmental care into church liturgy.
Our Summer School this year will take place at Parcevall Hall,
Yorkshire July 22 - 26. The theme is "Dignity, Peace, Well-Being
through Sustainable Goals. A leaflet can be viewed via the button at the top
of the page.
Flyers for newly published books from Christians Aware "Just Food:
Food and Farming for a Sustainable Future", and "Rosa" by Susi
Bechhofer, can be viewed via the buttons below.
2 Saxby Street, Leicester LE2 0ND,
Opening hours Mon - Fri 10am - 4pm