Introduction to Cloud and Fire
We don’t know how the ecological crisis will play out. One thing is for sure: the future will not be like the past.
Anthropocene: the current geological age, viewed as the period during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment.
This new age has come to be known as the Anthropocene. It is a time of surging crises and collapsing certainties. But it is also a time when ancient and neglected counternarratives are coming into their own – the wilderness journey, the Dark Night, the Cloud of Forgetting, the still silence of letting-be. We are entering an age of faith and foreboding, a time for wise, courageous and humble leadership from those in ministry and from the rest of us, all reluctant prophets and misfits burdened with insight.
Cloud and Fire is a contemplative Christian journey anchored in Scriptural archetype, symbol and image. It is an invitation to make new meanings in the climate emergency by:
- remembering our baptism as a sign of Exodus from slavery and of the subsequent testing in the desert
- seeking signs of God’s grace as we participate in the Paschal mystery – Christ’s passion, death and resurrection
- a profound examination of conscience, in light of the Cross and our own vocation.
Through prayer and discernment, these motifs will become for us means of grace and clues to navigation. Each participant will discover a path unique to them, but gain from each other courage and wisdom for an uncharted future.
Cloud and Fire offers pastoral formation for the Anthropocene. It brings together small groups of participants, under the canopy of Borrowed Time, Green Christian’s programme offering pastoral care in the climate and ecological crisis.
There is only one entry qualification for Cloud and Fire – to assent to the ‘Creed’ below, which establishes some common working assumptions for a cohesive group and a creative experience.
Cloud and Fire is for anyone who senses a call to one or more of the tasks set out in the Creed below, both for personal benefit and especially for the common good. It will be of particular value to those with responsibilities for pastoral care, worship and spiritual guidance in our churches.
If you are comfortable with the Creed, and would like to join a group, or talk with a member of the team, please get in touch via the contact page.
We look forward to hearing from you and starting the conversation.
- that the impacts of climate change are already causing immense harm, suffering, damage and injustice to humans, communities and ecosystems across the world
- that further adverse consequences are inevitable everywhere, from destructive sea-level rise to violent weather events and global food and water stress
- that scientists are right when they say that human activity is threatening the systems that enable life with catastrophic collapse
- that every day that passes without an urgent and radical change of course at the required depth and scale increases the likelihood of disaster and the intensity of suffering and injustice
- that this unprecedented crisis in human history is becoming manifest in growing social and political tensions with incalculable results,
- and that these developments pose a huge challenge to many of the traditional narratives by which the world’s faith traditions have sought to interpret the meaning and value of human life.
Therefore: those who seek to live truthfully, and/or to offer pastoral care in faith contexts, are faced with significant new tasks which may include:
- a critical examination of their own understanding of the fundamental truths of their faith
- acknowledging to themselves and others the need for new wisdom and insight, and developing a capacity to live with profound “unknowing”
- working with their own emotional responses, seeking support and guidance with others
- a sensitivity towards others’ trauma, which might present itself in various ways
- recognition of a new or renewed vocation to participate in working actively, transformatively and inclusively for climate justice.