Laura Young – Reflections on The Justice Conference 2021
There aren’t many times in your life where you can join with brothers and sisters from across the world to dive deep into justice, theology, worship, and fellowship altogether… all from your home computer! However, The Justice Conference 2021 brought this opportunity right to my doorstep. This year was my first ever experience of The Justice Conference, and it blew all expectations I had completely out of the water. Even with the conference being online, I still felt completely part of everything that was happening, and thoroughly enjoyed listening to speakers from around the world on some of the most important issues our world is facing.
A topic which sums up my personal justice conference experience was the climate crisis. Hearing stories from Nigeria, Canada, the United Kingdom, Kenya, Brazil, and so many more captured the urgent and united approach we must take as Christians to tackle climate change. The last 18 months have truly shown what global action against a global issue, a pandemic, really looks like. From across the world people have been taking action to unite, inform, educate, and pray about the coronavirus, and every single action we take to keep our neighbours near and far safe matters. In this same spirit, The Justice Conference showcased the concern around the world for the changing climate – how individuals, communities, churches, and nations are putting faith into action for our world and neighbours who sit at the front of the climate crisis.
I particularly enjoyed hearing from Katharine Hayhoe, who so simply put the science, theology, and action all into one package alongside the hope we have in God’s plan for restoration. This dovetailed with the discussion from young people across so many different countries talking about not only the impact of climate change on their communities but also the action that has been taken already to mitigate and adapt to their changing environments. With COP26, the United Nations climate summit, taking place in just a few months in Glasgow, this was a timely reminder of how important it is that we all, individuals, communities, churches, and countries, engage with this conversation. I look forward to some of the extra events The Justice Conference is putting on in September looking at the climate crisis and how it intersects with the church, racial injustice, gender, and inequality.
Being from Scotland, having an online event meant I, and many others from around the world, had the opportunity to join in with this conference, meet and have fellowship with others from around the world. For too long our perspectives have been shaped solely by the small circles around us, becoming rigid and cemented in what we have grown up around and experienced. Although the last year has been so tough on so many, the barriers it has broken down with technological advances mean we can meet with others globally altogether. This has been such a blessing to our individual spiritual lives and community teaching, and has broadened all of our understandings of theology and justice. Moving forward, no matter what our ‘normal’ begins to look like, I hope and pray that this global connectedness stays forevermore.
Laura Young is an environmental activist, passionate about intersectional climate justice issues. Based in Glasgow, Laura works for Tearfund as the COP26 Campaigns and Advocacy Coordinator alongside being an ethical influencer online under the name Less Waste Laura. Her work looks to educate, challenge, and inspire people to think more about the system in which we live, specifically speaking into Christian groups and churches as we look towards the United Nations COP26 Climate Summit which will be held in Glasgow, November 2021. She is an environmental scientist by degree, but has joined her passion for the outdoors, academic background and faith to pursue justice through everyday living and activism.