Nature Forum – The Abbey Wood community
“Praise be to you Lord: In the words of this beautiful canticle, St. Francis of Assisi reminds us that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us.”
As part of the South Thamesmead regeneration programme, the Nature Forum unit of Peabody Trust advertised its community development plans and asked for interested persons to join in as volunteers. I registered online in January 2021 and started attending their monthly meetings on Zoom where I have encountered an amazing group of young people, though not faith based, who are so talented and generous in giving their time and energy to reconstruct and design green spaces in the community. To beautify the environment and conserve natural habitats around the lakes and brooks of Southmere thereby, increasing biodiversity and ecological footprint in the area and beyond.
To add our voices and contribution to this great initiative, I applied for a co-design kit to build birdbox and mini green space in our Close and invited some interested families in the neighbourhood to join in the good action. The children showed great interest in the building and codesigning the birdbox and planting the seeds for creating our green space. Through this initiative, we have been able to integrate and find convergence between the four Ephata themes of our Assembly that underpins an integral spirituality.
Viewing the conservation between nature and care of the environment as a rights based approach to eco spirituality. The Sisters in Abbey Wood Community have taken an interest in the project and are very happy to accompany the children as they creatively engage in their co-designing thereby illustrating the mystic of living together in community and the ministry in this case becomes part of the bigger picture in the Mission Heart of the Province.
Through this initiative, the Abbey Wood sisters have created a weekly children’s prayer forum on zoom where the opportunity is taken to pass on the faith and Christian values to younger generation. We will not wait to do big things but will do small things in extraordinary ways. That for us is an encounter with the Ephata moments. We are sowing seeds that will blossom in the future. We may not be there to harvest the fruits of our labour. However, we are convinced that we have left our marks on the sands of this time. In the words of St. Vincent de Paul: “We know that things are not now what they will be when God has perfected it in Christ.”
Franca Edet, DC