Rise To The Moment – Relay to COP26

First published on: 30th July 2021

Rise To The Moment – Relay to COP26

Over the past week USPG’s Regional Manager Rebecca Boardman has joined the Young Christian Climate Network (YCCN) – an action-focused community of Christians aged 18-30 - on their Relay to COP26.

 

This November, world leaders are meeting in Glasgow for important climate negotiations (UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties 26 - COP26). YCCN believes it’s time to make decisions which protect people not bank balances, to decide that no country will go into debt tackling climate change. It’s a decade-defining opportunity to make a stand so that in years to come, the UK church can look back on 2021 and say “we did not sit at home while unjust decisions were made on our doorstep; we set sail towards a just future”.

In July, Rebecca joined a small part of the 750-mile walking Relay to COP26 that started at the G7 meeting at Cardis Bay in Cornwall and will end in Glasgow this November. The Relay is ecumenical and open to all regardless of age, ethnicity or gender identity. It is hoped that the Relay will raise awareness of COP26 and catalyse conversations around climate justice and care for creation in local churches and communities.

Rebecca’s journey accompanied the Relay to COP26 as it travelled between the Cathedral city of Salisbury in Wiltshire, through Winchester in Hampshire, to Reading in Berkshire. She says, “Over the past week it has been a real joy to journey with over a hundred people – diverse in age and Christian expression, yet united in their passion to see God’s justice here on Earth. We have stopped to talk with dog walkers, church communities and primary schools, expressing our belief that standing for climate justice is a core part of the mission of our church family. I have been blown away by the welcome and hospitality that we have been shown on our way; each clap, encouragement and meal - or cake - shared spurring us on.”

“Personally, my journey has been spiritually fulfilling. Even working for a role that champions climate and ecological justice it is easy to be distracted by activities and programmes. It has been liberating to get away from being behind my computer screen and walk through God’s beautiful creation. Slowing my pace down has enabled me to appreciate the landscape, flora and fauna and to notice the incredible interconnectedness of all things.”

“In part, our route followed the historic pilgrimage of the Pilgrim’s Way and a highlight was receiving the Wayfarer’s Dole at the Hospital of St Cross in Winchester. This reminded me of the many feet who had walked the same path that I was walking, and the many feet who would walk the path after I had left. As I was refreshed with the morsel of bread and small cup of beer (or juice!) – my Wayfarer’s Dole - I reflected that it is our planet that sustains us, as it has those who have travelled before us, and how it will do so for the generations to come. The need to renew and sustain life on earth felt real through our participation in this historic tradition of pilgrimage.”

There are still so many ways that you can get involved and #RiseToTheMoment with YCCN, and I really would encourage you to do so! It has been great fun! Consider joining our pilgrimage as walkers (maybe with a group from your church), or if your community is on the Relay route do offer refreshments or overnight accommodation. More information on the YCCN website https://www.yccn.uk/