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Reconnect, before it's too late!

by Michael Ford last modified 05 Feb, 2020 04:56 PM

In a "groundbreaking" new book, our Chaplain to Gypsies and Travellers calls on his experience living in community and with those he serves to suggest that we can rebuild by simply relearning how 'to be with one another'.

In ‘Accompaniment, Community and Nature’ the Revd Jonathan Herbert writes that too much of the political discourse is about separation and suggests that we need to learn how to reconnect with one another and with nature, before it is too late.

Jonathan, who lives in the Franciscan community of Hilfield in Dorset and has been arrested through his involvement with Extinction Rebellion, suggests that we could learn much from learning how to accompany each other.

He says:

“Lots of people feel alienated from each other, and marginalised by society, and no longer connected to the natural world, which has led us to the climate crisis and feelings of despair.

“The good news though is that we can rebuild the torn fabric of society and our fractured relationship with our planet, by relearning how to be with one another.”

The book is an extraordinary journey based on Jonathan’s experiences of living in community, working with marginalised people and explores how as individuals and a society we can learn to reconnect.

Jonathan adds:

“The book is wide-ranging and full of stories.

“It challenges objectification of people and also of nature, and suggests ways we might learn to live more sustainably on the earth - our common home - and suggests ways to break down differences between people and how we might live happier, more connected lives.

“There’s a lot of people in our society today who don’t talk to each other. There’s a lot of loneliness. There are whole groups of people who feel marginalised from society.

“We live in the 6th wealthiest country in the world but we live with a lot of national discord and individual unhappiness.

“When I’ve lived in rural Africa, in India and the Pacific Islands, people there know how to be with and enjoy one another and generally live much more communally, rather like Gypsies and Travellers in this country. I’ve lived in community for the last 25 years and, while it presents its own challenges, I can never say I’ve felt lonely or without purpose.

“If you are feeling a sense of despair about the growing divisions in society, or worried about the climate change emergency, I hope the message in this book will bring hope and inspire you."

The book is being launched on Saturday Feb 8th, 3.30pm at Hilfield Friary DT2 7BE and on Wednesday March 25th at 5.30pm at Sarum College SP1 2EE.

Copies will be available from the Sarum College Bookshop.

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