By Juanita Greyvenstein
We kicked off our Spiritually Empowered Earth Keepers workshop in Cape Town on 4 – 5 August. A lively, enthusiastic and diverse group of young people gathered at the Schoenstatt Retreat centre to share, challenge and empower each other to become voices for Creation.
SAFCEI believes that people of faith have a calling to speak against the socio-ecological injustices that face our people and planet – especially in Africa. This can be done through our words, but especially through our actions and way of life. We believe learning by participating and acting is the most effective way that we come to understand the injustices that face us every day. The workshop was packed with practical activities, games, exercises and theatre to equip young leaders with tools that will help facilitate a different consciousness among faith communities – a consciousness of compassion for others, for the earth.
Jessica is a young leader from Mowbray Presbyterian church and she sums up her experience of the workshop in the following way: “The experience I had at SAFCEI was incredible and taught me how to look after my community and to transfer that knowledge to my little sister. The church-audit was one of the things that we have encouraged our church to do and the best part was giving the voice back to the earth and letting people in the church know that even the earth has a voice and feeling.”
Gabieba is an intern with Muslims4EcoJustice and reflected on what she gained at the workshop: “What I gained … was to become more mindful about nature, to respect animals and to be more aware of the custodianship of God’s creation. We already managed to apply and implement some of the information and activities given at the SEEK training into our workshops.”
Participants had the opportunity to participate in an Anti-Nuclear vigil, embody different characters in an eco-justice struggle, were inspired to address the injustices suffered by many factory farmed animals in South Africa and themselves partook in a church eco-audit.
The two days spent together flew by and we were truly enriched by the conversations, stories and friendships formed. Participants will now apply this training in their communities and will meet with a larger group of SEEK participants for a follow-up workshop in October.
We look forward to seeing this enthusiasm and commitment to Earth Keeping grow among young leaders in our faith-communities, equipped to speak up for the earth!
(Pictures by Kate Davies)