“Things that make for peace” was the theme of this year’s conference of the National Justice and Peace Network in Swanwick, Derbyshire, from 17-19th July.
Attending from the Middlesbrough Diocese were Clare and David Palmer, Alan Gerrard, Anne Tracy, Tom Robinson, Nan Saeki, Elizabeth Love and Patricia Clarke.
Guest speakers included Prof. Paul Rodgers from the Peace Studies Department of Bradford University and Fr Edu Gariguez, a Fillipino religious leader and environmentalist.
Fr Gariguez has spent a number of years campaigning against large-scale mining projects which have threatened the existence of indigenous peoples in his native Philippines.
“I am fulfilling the mission that God has given me as a priest”, said Fr. Gariguez when asked about the motivation behind his campaigns for justice, peace and care for creation.
Organisations such as Pax Christi, Cafod and Missio were represented at the conference fayre whilst a variety of workshops were held on subjects such as the Pope’s recent encyclical Laudato Si’ and the militarization of young people.
Bishop John Rawsthorne, a patron the Justice and Peace Network, celebrated a lively and energetic Mass for the conference attendees.
Tom Robinson said: “The weekend was a fantastic opportunity to join with fellow campaigners from across the Church and to share experiences, encouragement and support.
It was heartening to hear about the varied campaigns taking place in our parishes and to meet like-minded people who are committed to the justice and peace cause.”
As the conference came to a close, participants anointed one another with the words “Blessed are you, a peacemaker”. May our small acts of peace overcome the world!