Welcome to Living Lent!

Over the past few months, as we have prepared for today, we have shared in the recognition that the climate in which we now find ourselves can no longer wait for change. With a predicted 12 years to restrict the irreversible consequences which accompany the threat of 2°C warming above pre-industrial levels, we are left with few options but to act now.

But I don’t need to convince you! You are here, standing as part of a community ready to respond. Welcome – we’re so pleased you’ve joined us.

Together, over the next 40 days, we will explore what whole-life change looks like, for ourselves and for the world. At the heart of our Living Lent ethos, we want to recognise that bringing about change for the climate is not just an activity, but a lifestyle. As we choose not to use single use plastics; say no to buying new; walk instead of drive; cook with beans rather than meat, we are stepping into a commitment to review how the way we live responds to the needs of the world around us.

By doing so over 40 days, we are offered the opportunity to shape new habits. By committing to new choices, new intentions and altered priorities, we have the chance to begin living to a new rhythm – a new way of being.

And this is what we need in the face of climate crisis. Our current attitude towards the climate is not proving urgent enough. We only need to look as far as the recent climate change debate in the House of Commons, at which so few MPs were in attendance, to see this.  In the same week, International Petroleum held their annual conference in London, where industry leaders in fossil fuels celebrated the growth and development of the industry.

As a country, we’re not only dragging our feet, but taking one step forward, two steps back. Our current mind-set of industrial development, ease of living and financial growth is simply not structured to accommodate the radical change we need. For that, we need commitment.

But there is cause for hope. Whilst MPs were absent in the comments, young people rallied across the country to strike from school, declaring their demands for change, and will do it again on March 15th.  Campaigners to continue to stand in solidarity with a planet they want to see last.

And all of you are here.

It feels like change is coming. We’re seeing a rise of the climate change agenda in the public consciousness, as more increasingly global citizens find themselves frustrated with a status quo which limits the future drastically. This Lent, we have an opportunity to join in. By declaring our commitment to change in actions louder than words, we join our voices with a growing noise which says we’ve had enough.

Through Living Lent, we hope you will find opportunities to go beyond simple, practical action, finding yourself changed in thought and deed. As part of this community, we hope you find space to share the joys, challenges, success and frustration you face as you make choices which might not feel comfortable. We hope that at the end of these 40 days, you have found a new rhythm of being, which allows your relationship with the planet, and with God, new room to grow.

So, welcome! We look forward to hearing from you as we journey through Lent together. Remember to get in touch with us, to share how you’re getting on. You can do so through our Twitter, @livinglent2019, our Facebook community, or through our website.

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Hannah Brown is the JPIT Intern for 2018-19. Her role involves managing JPIT’s social media, working with the Peace and Justice Forum and collaborating with the team to research and communicate key areas of JPIT’s workplan. She recently graduated from the University of Nottingham where she studied English Language and Literature. She has a background in local church partnership and engagement.