John Paul de Quay

'Let Us Dream' activity workshops begin

22nd October saw Journey to 2030 launch their first ‘Let us Dream’ deanery workshop.

Parishioners from the deanery of St John Southworth in the Salford diocese gathered to ponder two seemingly simple questions. “What do we want our communities to look like by the year 2030?” and “how do we get there?”

To help them discuss these questions we created an activity day that aimed to:

  • help participants realise the potential of our communities to make real change in the world.
  • To encourage them to dream about and share the world they would like to see.
  • To help form a deanery network of people keen to make a change.
  • To give training on using Journey to 2030 resources, so that by the end of the session you will have the confidence to run these activities in your own parishes, schools and communities.

The day had a dual purpose. Our partnership with The Guardians of Creation – a multi-institutional research project examining ecological change in the Catholic Church – led to a collaboration on their behavioural change workstream. Jakub Kowalewski, Senior Laudato Si’ Research Fellow, was able to use the workshop to investigate the various ways in which people involved with frontline activities in the Church think about behaviour and the change necessary to create a more sustainable future.

Because our society and environment are bound in an ‘integral ecology’ whereby a healthy society will foster a health environment and vice versa, and a dysfunctional society will cause a dysfunctional environment and vice versa, it is imperative to address both the cries of the earth and the poor, both locally and globally if we are to build a world that more resembles the kingdom of God. This ‘integral ecology’ is one of the main underpinning principles of the workshop. Everything is connected. This gives us huge power in making great changes to our world starting in our communities, and how these communities will in turn change the world.

With this in mind, the first question “What do we want our communities to look like by the year 2030?” revealed a range of responses, articulated in many different ways, bright ideas festooning the paper with brightly coloured art markers as well as well considered spider diagrams.

“I enjoyed the activities very much - it took us a while to get into a creative mode, but once we engaged our imaginations our endeavours were fruitful!”

A range of different responses surfaced; some highly practical, some sentimental, were met very concretely with an overarching theme of a civilisation built around togetherness, care for creation, and centred around God.

You can see many of the creative entries and send in your own on the ‘Let Us Dream’ page:

Moving on to the next question; “how do we get there?” we introduced the ‘Building a caring community’ activity pack, which uses the Laudato Si’ goals from the Vatican as a lens to infuse care of creation (of which social action is a part) into parish and school activities and mission.

In having a practice run of using these resources, the deanery group started to build a picture of the great many things that they were already doing in in care for the poor, the planet and praising God. We produced a celebratory mapping of many good initiatives, which e hope will be built on to encourage more engagement with these excellent initiatives. As Laudato Si’ starts with a ‘thank you’, we also start our response as a recognition of the good works of the community.

Using the same activity pack, we then asked what are the concerns we face for the poor and the planet globally and locally, and the spiritual needs of our communities. This revealed common concerns that going forward, the newly formed network of parishes, schools and communities, can begin to address together.

The network will now support their communities in running these activities in their own parishes, helping the individual communities to build action plans to address our many crises ecological, social and spiritual in an integrated manner, with a wider network to support them.

“this project is a good opportunity for lay people to take up their role to work alongside the clergy and religious to take forward these social issues. If we can promote the idea of the deanery as a function for parishes to work and achieve more together than on their own, then I am hopeful.”

Future workshops will be listed on The Journey to 2030 events page here:

The Guardians of Creation Research project will launch their research summary in the early Spring of 2023.

A huge thank you to Salford diocese for their support.

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