Saturday, 12 December 2009

Nenagh bells rang out – and the people came

The Nenagh Churches Together team
l-r: James Armitage, John Armitage, Joc Sanders, Sr Patricia Greene,
Rev Marie Rowley-Brooke, Rev AnnaGretta Hagen (visiting from Norway)
photo by Padraig O Flannabhra

The bells rang out on Sunday 6th December to announce the Nenagh Churches Together prayer vigil for the Copenhagen climate talks, held in St Mary’s Church of Ireland from 4.30 to 6.30 pm. And the people came, from many different church traditions including Catholic, Methodist, Church of Ireland, and Lutheran. Some came for just a few minutes, others for the entire two hours, but between 20 and 30 were present at any one time, substantially more than attended the Day of Prayer for climate change in Teach an Leinn in October, according to the organisers.

The focus of the vigil was a table covered with a green cloth symbolising creation, on which were placed symbols of the faith shared by all Christians, a cross, a bible and a candle, together with a globe symbolising the beautiful God-given planet earth, now threatened by global warming.

In a calm, contemplative atmosphere, those present listened to readings and music, reflected in silence, and prayed for the success of the Copenhagen talks. They prayed too for the world leaders gathered there including our own – it is not nations that make decisions, but individual human beings, who must feel the heavy burden of their responsibility. And they also prayed for an end to the human greed which is damaging our God-given planet. Young people played a big part, among them: Thomas and Ellen Langley from Templederry who read prayers; and Leaving Cert student Maggie Starr who read her poem ‘It’s a sprint to the line’.

It is pleasing to note local TD Máire Hoctor was there - she will no doubt convey the message of the vigil to An Taoiseach Brian Cowan and Minister of the Environment John Gormley, who lead the Irish delegation at Copenhagen.

Afterwards people shared refreshments of tea, coffee and delicious home-made cakes, and chatted. Among comments overheard were these:
  • “Let’s hope that the governments can wake up and see what the average everyday people are seeing over the world”;
  • “The poor earth needs all the prayers we can manage”;
  • “It was moving and meaningful, and especially so because it was a shared witness with Christian traditions working together”.

The Nenagh Churches Together team look forward to working together on many such shared events in future.

It's a Sprint to the line, Or a race against time.
By Maggie Starr

In the dying sunlight of my evening,
My thoughts smell of burning fear.
I've over-dosed on my anger,
And the antidote has yet to be conceived.

We've blinded our views of previous failings,
Unwilling to comprehend their probable conclusion.
We've smoked this animal from his caving,
Our deafness anaesthetizes our guilt.

Our knowledge-seeking conscience have tasted the antidote,
Some have touched the formula in moral experimentations.
Our selfish race have evaporated the referee,
Our league must now trust in our own resourcefulness.

A great poet once said;
*"I had a dream, which was not all a dream,
The bright Sun was extinguish'd, and the stars
Did wander."

This problem is the religion of our age,
Self-righteous, intolerant based on dissent.
But, the best time to do something worthwhile,
Is between yesterday and tomorrow.

It's a sprint to the line,
Or a race against time.

*Lord Byron


Stephen Neill said...

Well done folks - a great result and a great example to us all :)

Joc Sanders said...

Thanks, Stephen. It was very much a joint initiative of lay Christians from the different churches. Let us pray our prayers may be answered!