Katie’s Story

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Katie3My Christian faith has been the most important inspiration for my love of our planet and the people that inhabit it.  I’ve come to know a God who delights in the detail and diversity of the cosmos and who is unashamedly bias towards the poor, the oppressed and the broken hearted, and at the same time, has more than enough love for all of us, whatever our circumstance.

In 2005, I started working for environmental charity Trees for Cities.  There, I worked with communities in London to plant trees and gardens in schools, estates, parks and on streets.  I saw that transforming an abandoned bit of grass or neglected park into something beautiful had the potential to transform a community.

In 2012, I worked with local churches, community groups and the local authority in Fleet to run our first Environment and Faith Festival.  Two more followed in 2013 and 2014, and in 2015, the Church on the Heath has run a variety of activities to highlight the issues of Climate Change.  We hope to receive our Eco-Congregation Award later this spring.

Katie2We have a planet that still has enough for everyone.  The fact that so much hunger and poverty exists is largely due to the inequality that surrounds the way those resources are shared.  On current trends, by next year, 1% of the world’s population will own more wealth than the other 99% (Oxfam report, 2015).  Some countries freeze water in deserts to create ski resorts and some children drink water contaminated with oil by the fossil-fuel industry.  It’s just not fair.

In the book of the prophet Micah in the Old Testament, it says this: “What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6 v8).  The teachings of Jesus boil down to two simple commands, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” and “Love your neighbour as yourself.  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22 v37-40).

Katie1Justice for the poorest is 100% connected to the way we care for our planet and the Christian faith says that our reason for action should be love.  My faith gives me the things I need to try and be part of a movement to end poverty and seek justice.  It gives me hope that our relationship with creation can be restored; it gives me a hunger for justice in the face of massive opposition, and it gives me a depth of love that goes beyond my immediate friends and family.

When we celebrate Easter, we mark the universe-changing moment when Jesus Christ died for all our sins and rose again, kick-starting the incredible process of reconciliation of all things in heaven and earth to God.  Perhaps even more incredible is that we are trusted to be part of that process (2 Corinthians 5 v16-21).  For me, restoring a neglected part of an inner-city estate, litter-picking a community park, supporting someone to be free of debt, providing emergency relief, praying for those affected by conflict: all these things are part of this role.

Katie

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