The annual weekend conference of the National Justice and Peace Network (NJPN), which gathers Justice and Peace campaigners from across England and Wales, takes the theme: ‘Sustainability? Survival or Shutdown’. Scheduled for 21-23 July in Derbyshire it will address issues crucial to the common good and the well-being of the natural world, with a particular focus on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Echoing the words of Pope Francis in Laudato Si’ that all issues are interconnected, it will consider such issues as structural injustice, conflict, migration and environmental challenges.
A Columban team will be going, with chairing responsibilities and running a workshop on Migrants.
The conference offers opportunities for networking and prayer with Catholics and others from across the country, sharing an interest in world peace and the promotion of social justice. The weekend includes consideration of the UN Sustainability Goals and integrity in public life. There will be talks and workshops, a ‘The Letter’ film screening, a Just Fair with stalls from many different charities and organisations, and time for socialising.
Speakers include Christine Allen and Brian O’Toole. CAFOD Director Christine Allen says she is “delighted to be speaking at the conference which is “an inspiring reminder of how people up and down the country are working tirelessly to secure a better future for our common home.” She criticised the UK government’s “pitiful response to the ongoing hunger crisis in East Africa,” saying “it’s hard to square their reluctance to do anything meaningful to help tackle the crisis with the phrase of ‘leaving no one behind’ in the Sustainable Development Goals.” She added, “I look forward to discussing these issues and more at the conference in July.”
Brian O’Toole is the Director of the Presentation Sisters Justice Desk for Ireland and England. The Presentation Sisters is a global network and has non-governmental status in the United Nations. He says that the International Presentation Association is committed “to respond to ‘the cry of the Earth and to people kept poor’ by embracing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in a human rights framework, addressing the issues of women and children, care of the Earth and indigenous peoples.” He adds that, “our mission is to speak and act in partnership with others for global justice from a contemplative stance, in a spirit of oneness with the whole of creation.”
The Conference Mass will be celebrated by Fr Dominic Robinson SJ, Chair of Westminster Justice and Peace Commission. All are welcome, including families. Children and teenagers follow their programmes.
The venue is The Hayes Conference Centre in Swanwick, Derbyshire. Organisers, alongside NJPN, are the Diocese of Westminster Justice and Peace Commission, CAFOD, Christians Aware and the Columban team for Justice, Peace and Ecology.