Sandie Stratford, worshipper at St Peter’s Eastgate, is soon to be walking 485 miles over 56 days, from London to Glasgow, inspirationally marking the importance of COP26, and the imperative to act now in the face of the real and present climate emergency.

Details of the route can be found at www.caminotocop.com. Follow Sandie’s progress and donate to a good cause via her Facebook site.

Sandie writes: ‘I’ve always been an environmentalist and a campaigner on a rather low-key level, until recently. My faith informs my attitude: surely God’s heart is breaking to see how people trash the beautiful world God made and gave us to enjoy. The injustice inherent in climate change, and the challenge to love my neighbour combine to make me realise that, for a Christian, this is not just a hobby (like knitting or bowling) but a central faith issue. How am I to ‘act justly’, repenting of my part in fossil fuel addiction, in damaging my brothers and sisters across the globe, and acting to stem climate catastrophe?’

Sandie became painfully aware of the impending climate emergency in June 2008 when her daughter was arrested for her part in holding up a coal train on its way to Drax power station. She’d been making a gripping but grim film about the way humanity is destroying itself, called ‘Age of Stupid’. Researching archive footage left Beth with no option to draw attention to the urgency by breaking the law.

So in 2018, Sandie joined Extinction Rebellion. ‘I found its ethos of non-violence, love and regeneration to be totally in tune with my faith. The Faith Bridge brings together people whose faith, like mine, drives them to action. It’s been exciting to join in Vigils for the Earth alongside Muslims, Jews, Buddhists and others; to celebrate Eucharist surrounded by Metropolitan Police; to sing Amazing Grace with thousands in Trafalgar Square.

Now I am getting in training to walk the ‘Camino to COP26’. I shall be in good company walking from Parliament Square to Glasgow with fellow ’Faith Bridge’ people of faith. We will be staying over in church halls, mosques, community centres, Quaker meeting houses and people’s homes, with emergency tents carried in a support car. Fifteen of us plan to walk the whole way; many others will join for a day or a week, as they are able.’

We’ll be keeping up to date with her progress as she makes the pilgrimage north to arrive on the 31st October. We wish her well!

Prayer for COP26

God our creator,

create in us a new heart,

a new understanding,

a new way of living.

God our Redeemer,

rescue us from the brink of disaster,

open our eyes to see the dangers that lie ahead.

God our Sustainer,

equip and energize us,

to hold fast to the changes that we need to make.                      Amen.

 

(taken from Time for Creation – Liturgical resources for Creation and the Environment ISBN 978 1 78140 185 9, p46)