Ayla Rehn shares impressions and images of St. Ethelburga’s intra-collaboration: Journey of Hope meets Lifelines.

The Journey of Hope pilgrims came together last week to explore a little of what it means to be reconciled to Earth: Understanding the landscape of social and ecological crisis and moving towards courage, whilst getting a taste of St Ethelburga’s programme, Lifelines, and planting 100m of wildlife corridor on a farm in Dorset.

On the first afternoon we read St. Ethelburga’s land acknowledgement to honour the history of the land.

And the participants greeted the land with their own pieces of sacred text that connected them to Earth.

Alice de Favre – landowner at Chettle, gave an inspiring talk about the ecology and community in the village where the hedgerows will be planted, and explained how they will benefit the local ecology.

Mark Nam – Alumni of Journey of Hope – shared his passion for reconciliation through his project ‘The Teahouse‘ which supports clergy of Chinese heritage in the Church of England, and explored

what the ‘west’ can learn from the ‘east’ to bridge divides and love Earth.

The pilgrims regathered for St. Ethelburga’s workshop on ‘Deep Adaptation’: understanding the landscape of social and ecological crisis and considering how we might navigate the future from a place rooted in our deepest values.

The last session was with our amazing colleague Jo Winsloe-Slater. Jo shared St Ethelburga’s programme People of the Earth, and participants experienced the joy of hospitality with her foraged-hedgerow-food workshop.

During this module 100 meters of hedgerow was planted in service to Earth.
A prayer was offered for the life of each tree, for the hedgerows and all the life they will sustain.
The pilgrims also visited last year’s hedgerows, planted by other Lifelines participants, and did some maintenance and weeding, despite the pouring rain!

I felt proud, happy and a little tired, as well as full of thoughts and ideas of what it could mean to be reconciled to Earth. I was grateful to Chettle Lodge for hosting our Journey of Hope participants and felt blessed by all of it: people, nature and opportunities.

Ayla is a Pastor from Frankfurt, Germany and is spending the last part of her education at St Ethelburga’s. As a Protestant she’s interested in the relation of faith and justice and how to live in peace – with ourselves, our neighbours and the whole Creation. At some point the world’s collapsing overburdened her and and questions arose: “How can I deal with it? And what can I do for ‘a better world’?” Asking these and further questions are the nature of Ayla’s being. Spending time together with other people feeling the same urgent need to just do something is the reason why Ayla chose St Ethelburga’s Centre for Reconciliation and Peace. She’ll support Becca and Michael in Journey of Hope with the Reconcilers Together partnership as well as creating a new offering for secondary schools to visit the Centre, including a workshop on peace-making. In addition to that, Ayla loves football, vegan lifestyle, and political commitment, and she is looking forward to explore the city and all its sides during her (limited) time with us.