One World Week

“The Enormous Challenge” — the event held at St Andrew’s Church
Sunday 25th October 2009

The Revd Jonathan Still (Rural Dean of Farnham and Vicar of The Bourne) told visitors to Farnham’s One World Week Event, “We are the richest people on Earth, the richest people who have ever been - and we face the most enormous challenge that humanity has ever faced.  We have to realise that One World is about us.  We have to change the way we live.”

The Vicar explained why he is an enthusiastic hands-on member of the Farnham Initiative — who grow and share their own food within the community — one of a dozen diverse organisations involved in the ‘Hungry For One World Event’ hosted by Churches Together in Farnham at St Andrew’s Church, Farnham, on Sunday 25th October.

A visit to Tanzania some years ago had changed his life.  The people he met there were for ever apologising for their houses, their roads, for everything they had —  but he had felt ashamed. They knew of the prosperity of the West and saw themselves as ‘deficient versions of us'. “I had been given opportunities that they would never have.”  Their children went eagerly to school in uniforms carefully patched.

Every person present here is among the richest people on Earth —   also the richest people that ever have been. We are going to live about twice as long as they are and we consume more than ever has been consumed on Earth. We are probably the richest people who ever will be.  In recent times the view had been that, through technology, our wealth could eventually be extended to include everybody.  But now we knew that this was not possible.  There were not enough resources to make everyone as rich as we are now.

I fear we face the most enormous challenge that has faced humanity — the challenge to get our quality of life from relationship rather than from possessing and consuming.  I think all religions are saying: ‘It is not about possessing — it is about relating.’

Jane and I went to St Paul’s Cathedral to hear James Lovelock talk about these issues.  I had a profound experience there — that we must change the way we live.  We have to realise that One World is about us — remember that we are the richest people that have ever been on Earth — this Earth which is the great self expression of the Creator in all its beauty and glory.

Taking part in this all-embracing One World event, with stands, displays and projects were: Amnesty International (marking Protect the Human Week); CAFOD; Christian Aid; Compassion in World Farming; Farnham Beekeepers; Transition Farnham & Farnham Local Food Initiative; Huulanaya; Humanity First; One World Linking; Tearcraft & Traidcraft; and All Hallows School and Heather Golding with Art Work.

091025 One World Week (1)
Ione Carver, of St Thomas-on-The Bourne, looking at Robert Simpson's 'One World Linking in Farnham' stand.  Her late husband, Commander Geoffrey Carver, helped set up the link between the Anglican Diocese of Guildford and West African countries, including Nigeria.
091025 One World Week (2)The display featuring the All Hallow's School’s link with St Paul’s in Bamenda, Cameroon.

The Mayor of Farnham Lucinda Fleming, guest of honour, commented on the buzz and positive atmosphere of the afternoon.

Welcoming the large gathering to St Andrew’s, the Rector, Canon Andrew Tuck, said: “It is great that our church can be used in this way as a forum.  So many important issues face us.  Some are quite overwhelming — yet we all know that big things start in small ways.”

Event organiser Jenny Floyer (Chair of Churches Together in Farnham) led an informal service.  She began by asking everyone to “think what gives you joy in your life ... and now greet the person next to you and tell them what it is.”  In a ‘Necessities of Life’ procession, children brought bread, rice, oil, seeds, water, etc.  Jenny broke the loaf into one large piece, one smaller piece and crumbs to represent how food is unfairly distributed around the world.

There followed a sequence of music, recitation and prayer on the ‘Hungry for One World’ theme of the event.  Those taking part included Heather Golding (vocal), Andrew Tilling (guitar); Andy Marriott speaking Martin Luther King’s ‘I had a dream’; Haallah Shams reading from a sermon on the equality of mankind delivered by the Prophet Mohammed; Roger Morton and Ann Scrase reading passages from the Old and New Testaments; and Maddy Wilde, Anna Loader, Mia Golding and Freya-Anne Robertson in a dramatised interview about a multi-faith coffee growing cooperative in Uganda.  Prayers were read by Clare and Sian Besley and Hannah Lodge from the Church of the Holy Family, Heath End.

The afternoon ended with continuing fellowship over a shared tea with delicious sandwiches and homemade cakes, etc.  Especially popular were the tasty savouries brought by guests from Islamabad, Tilford.

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