• Gordon MacLellan

Begin by saying "Thank you"

Do you begin by saying "Thank you"?

Faith Initiative Issue 41 (June 2020)

The cover carries a statement, or maybe it’s a warning…

And then flows into an editorial….

Music has sustained the balance of my thoughts, reminding me that beyond the anxiety of this pandemic is a world full of joy and sweet harmony. Emotions are however, close to the surface and a passing exchange with a fellow walker that has made us both smile is solace to my soul; acts of kindness from strangers to strangers brings tears to my eyes; and the glorious sight of spring unfolding in the hedgerows….*

Take time, if you can, to read, take a moment to absorb, take a cup of tea, as we did, to read bits aloud to other people and mull it over…do you think? Do you not think? O, I like that bit, O, I’m not sure about that....

The Faith Initiative Magazine comes from the Faith Initiative whose object is: The promotion of religious harmony by: Providing educational resources and information to promote a better awareness of the causes and consequences of inter-religious tensions and conflicts; and educating the public in the diverse nature of religious belief.

Essentially, stop bumbling around, sit down and have a read. We’re posting this because the magazine is a good read anyway and CelebrationEarth features in the keynote address in the latest issue, no. 41

In the opening paragraphs of the keynote article Celebrate to Motivate, Martin Palmer says

About five years ago, when I was Secretary General of the Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC) we helped Christian, Hindu and Muslim colleagues in East Africa produce a rather extraordinary document.

We had been invited by UNESCO and the Kenyan Government’s education department to create a faith-based Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Toolkit. Typical rather long-winded UN terminology but essentially ESD is an international education programme for schools on environment and sustainability.

When one of our colleagues attended the international meeting of the ESD programme she was asked, quite bluntly, what possible difference could there be between a ‘normal’ ESD toolkit and a faith-based one. Her response captures for me why we celebrate – indeed why it is at this time so important to celebrate. She said, “We open our toolkit by saying Thank You, then we look at why in the light of such gratitude we need to protect our planet. The usual ESD secular toolkit starts by telling us how everything is going wrong and that we are to blame.”

That’s it. That is the heart of why we as people of faith celebrate. Why we say Thank You to the awesome magnificence and generosity of Creation, evolution, God – doesn’t really matter what you call it, they are all stories of meaning…..2.

I hope this is enough of an invitation to take you to the Faith Initiative website. You can download this latest issue and previous issues there. People keep telling me that during the various phases of our lockdown summer, we have time to do things we might not otherwise do. I suggest you could make this one of yours. Perhaps you should think about where you trip up in a field that ranges from “we are to blame” to “saying Thank You”. Have a read. Have a think. Talk to someone else. Then remember, or consider, or argue about the quote on the cover of Faith Initiative Issue 41.

“Only through love and compassion is the protection of Nature possible”3

* All quotes are from Issue 41, Faith Initiative: embracing diversity magazine

1. Editorial: Heather Wells

2. Keynote: Martin Palmer

3. Quote: Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi cited: 365 Meditations: collated by Marcus Braybrooke, Pub octopus, 2004, ISBN 1-84181-230-7


  • Cover of Faith Initiative 41

  • Stream and wildlife strip by G MacLellan

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