James is back in school!

by James Trewby

James Trewby, our Justice and Peace Education Worker has been working with students at Cardinal Wiseman school in Birmingham.

James Trewby, Columban Justice and Peace Education Worker, is glad to be back working in schools to promote justice, peace and the integrity of God’s creation. Unsurprisingly, his opportunities in schools have been limited over the past few months as a result of the Covid19 pandemic and lockdown restrictions – although he’s doing many online workshops, presentations and livestreams.

Invited by the school to work with Year 10 students, James has been attending Cardinal Wiseman Catholic School in Birmingham each Friday over the last half term. The students began by learning about and discussing ‘See-Judge-Act’, a method created by Cardinal Joseph Cardijn. It describes the process of learning, reflecting, discerning and acting on an issue, through the lens of faith.

As part of this the students enjoyed (virtually) meeting with climate activist, AG Sano, in the Philippines. He shared his first-hand experience of how climate change is affecting communities and encouraged the students to consider actions they could take.

In later sessions the students explored 5 top tips for putting their faith into action for the common good, and at the beginning of Advent, created Christmas cards for environmental defenders in the DRC, Columbia and Brazil, to support the CAFOD’s recent campaign, ‘Messages to the Brave’.

Christmas cards designed by the students at Cardinal Wiseman School.

Last week students were introduced to the website ‘TheyWorkForYou’, which takes data and information from official parliamentary sources and adds features that make it easier for people to understand. Following this they studied the ‘Wellbeing of Future Generations Bill’, that aims to ‘make provision for requiring public bodies to act in pursuit of the environmental, social, economic and cultural well-being of the United Kingdom’ for future generations.

Feeling passionate about their futures and their role in supporting the Bill, the students wrote letters to their MP, Khalid Mahmood, asking him to support the bills, giving their reasons.

In their final week, concluding their programme together, the young people were asked to name their key learning from their time with James. Their 15 comments included: “Faith calls us to action”, “We’re stronger together”, “We’re not too young to make a difference” and “We’re part of the solution”. They were then horrified to find that these became the clues for some very competitive games! Mining ‘Solidarity’ and ‘Eat less meat’ is not easy! Finally, in a moment of prayer, they all wrote letters to themselves to be opened in the New Year.

James said “It has been an absolute pleasure working with the group at Wiseman – many thanks to them and their chaplain, Keri. It has been exciting to see the young people realise the power they have and the ways in which the Gospel calls them to use it. I look forward to hearing how they go on to make a positive difference in the world.”

Besides his work in primary and secondary schools, James runs retreats, INSET, training sessions and workshops as well as organising virtual encounters with activists and missionaries around the world, all of which enable young people and educators to explore the relationship between faith and action.

For further examples of the work that James does or to invite him to speak at or organise an event for you, please visit the website or email education@columbans.co.uk

Letters to local MP, Khalid Mahmood.

Find out more about James

Find out more about James and his work to support the Columbans.

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