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Climate justice pilgrims walk across Norfolk

COP26PilgrimsForum750
Climate justice pilgrims walk across Norfolk

A nine-day relay focusing on climate justice heading from Great Yarmouth to King's Lynn is underway organised by local Christians and Quakers

This multi-faith pilgrimage is a local expression of the larger national Young Christian Climate Network pilgrimage from Truro to Glasgow, where the COP26 climate summit will take place in November. It aims to unite local voices to express their urgent concern that COP26 produces realistic commitments to the radical changes needed to save the planet from ecological disaster
 
The Rt Revd Graham Usher, Bishop of Norwich, who is himself an ecologist and was appointed lead bishop on the environment by the Archbishop of Canterbury in June 2021 has encouraged the relay and particularly advocates the engagement of young people saying: “It is incredible that young people have been inspired to organise a relay from the G7 meeting in Cornwall to November’s COP26 in Glasgow. We need to hear their prophetic voices and enable them to convert the Church and society as a whole to engage much more with climate change. This ‘tributary’ of the main Youth Climate Change Network pilgrimage offers a great opportunity for young Christians from across Norfolk and Waveney to call for the crucial action needed to act on climate change. God bless them on their journey to bring change”
 
The relay started from Great Yarmouth on Saturday 21 August and following the Cross-Norfolk Trail, and yesterday (Tuesday August 24) passed through Norwich, before arriving in King’s Lynn on Sunday 29 August
 
With coastal erosion, rising sea levels and sea pollution posing some of the greatest climate and ecological threats to Norfolk, a discarded bottle filled with sea water at Great Yarmouth will be carried as a symbolic ‘baton’ across the county and, after meandering its way through churches and rest places along the entire Norfolk route, will be passed on at King’s Lynn to another relay group in the next county
 
Peter Belton, Quaker representative on the organising team, explains what the pilgrimage relay hopes to achieve: “With this year’s UN climate talks being hosted by our government, this is a key moment for people across the UK to come together and call for the radical action needed to prevent ecological disaster and mass suffering. We hope that this pilgrimage will demonstrate the strength of feeling in our communities and pressure the UK and other governments to make realistic commitments at COP26"
 
Participation by individuals, faith groups, accompanied young people, and families is actively encouraged; taking part in as much or little of the pilgrimage as they like.
All are welcome to be involved by:

  • Supporting pilgrims as they gather at 9.30am to depart from Great Yarmouth’s Britannia Pier at 10.00am on Saturday 21 August, from outside St Peter Mancroft opposite the Forum in Norwich at 10am on Tuesday 24 August or at the conclusion at King’s Staithe at 3pm on Sunday 29 August;
  • walking part or all the route with the group;
  • writing a prayer and leaving it at one of the ‘waystation’ churches or Quaker meeting houses to be carried by the pilgrims to King’s Lynn;
  • writing and posting a letter to the Prime Minister and other MPs or leaving it at one of the ‘waystations’, to be posted together with others from King’s Lynn

Revd David Longe, Rector of the Matlaske Benefice and Chair of the Diocesan Environmental Working Group says: “Our hope is that through participating in this pilgrimage (whether through walking it, writing letters, or praying) that we are all led to care for God's creation. Engaging in this route will, I pray, deepen people's awareness that we are not isolated from creation but through our ignorance threaten our beautiful single island planet that God formed. This we must now urgently respond to”
 
To get involved, or find out more, visit www.multifaithpilgrimage.org or contact COP26relay@gmail.com

Pictured above: The #COP26 pilgrims set off from Norwich on Tuesday morning, with a blessing from the Archdeacon outside St Peter Mancroft and The Forum, Norwich on the next leg of the relay


Helen Baldry, 26/08/2021


Reproduced from the Network Norfolk website. Used with permission.