A generosity that inspires
Three years after the last Leaders’ Forum, 72 A Rocha leaders from 20 countries gathered once more in Sintra, Portugal for a time of deepening connections, strategic thinking and Biblical reflection.
The theme of the week was Generosity, and leaders were reminded that all of A Rocha’s work is a response to God’s own generosity – his loving act of creating wonderful habitats and fascinating species and calling us into relationship with them. ‘God’s action of creation is an act of freedom and generosity, not of necessity,’ Andrew Shepherd, Co-director of A Rocha Aotearoa New Zealand explains, ‘it is an act of love and community.’ It is this hesed or steadfast love for the whole creation that gives A Rocha joy and confidence in its mission.
During the week, workshops explored the different ways in which scientific research can further the conservation work of A Rocha; how churches can be supported to implement creation care as part of their everyday life and witness; and how different readings of the Bible can enrich our lives as a faith community engaged in caring for creation.
Delegates also took part in a nurdle hunt and beach clean-up. Nurdles are the basic building blocks for most plastic products, but they often get washed up on our shores with troubling effects for marine ecosystems. In 15 minutes, 40 participants found 500 – and this was a relatively clean beach!