On October 4th, in celebration of St. Francis of Assisi, the closing event of the Season of Creation 2023, a thanksgiving prayer, was held. Ecumenical youth leaders from around the world gathered in a space of prayer and reflection to give thanks for the fruits of this ecumenical period, which this year had “let justice and peace flow” as its theme.
Suzana Moreira, co-chair of the Season of Creation Ecumenical Steering Committee and of the Youth Committee and responsible for Laudato Si’ Movement’s Eco-conversion programs, moderated the event and first invited the audience to recall the “flowing rivers” that have marked the year around the SOC.
Sharon Thiong’o, of the World Communion of Reformed Churches, prayed the official Season of Creation prayer to initiate the meeting. Afterwards, Rev. Rachel Mash, co-chair of the Season of Creation Ecumenical Steering Committee, representing the Green Anglicans, recalled the theme and symbol of this year’s Season of Creation, highlighting and giving thanks for the thousands of people who joined in social media to celebrate the Season of Creation.
WATCH: Relive the entire event here:
This was followed by perspectives on justice and peace from the global south. Pastor Josias Vieira, from the “We in Creation” (Nós na Criação) movement in Brazil, and young people from the Don Bosco School of Excellence in India participated.
Lisa Adjei, PhD in Biochemistry and Physiology, a church leader and founder of the Sankofa Collective, spoke next. She is originally from Ghana and currently works for Christian Aid as Director of British Church Relations, supporting UK faith leaders in the field of justice and mission.
A poem and a moment of intercession followed later in the event. Bino Makhalanyane, from the Green Anglicans, invited those gathered to pray together, giving thanks to the Creator Father for all his gifts. They especially prayed, on the road to COP 28, for political leaders to take action.
Towards the end of the event, youth representatives read a statement calling for justice and peace to ecumenical leaders: “The climate crisis is one of the most urgent challenges facing humanity today. It is not just an environmental problem, it is a complex and interconnected crisis that affects every aspect of our lives, from the economy to social justice.”
To conclude, Father Antoine Al Ahmar, Director of the Theological and Ecumenical Department of the Middle East Council of Churches, led a prayer inspired by Psalm 104 and blessed those present.