An ecumenical Christian community of young people, aged 18 and older, will gather in Winnipeg in August to reflect on the economic, ecological, community and faith dimensions of food during the first “justice camp” initiated by the eco-justice committee of General Synod (the governing body of the Anglican Church of Canada).
The camp, with the theme, Setting the Table – A Place for Everyone and Every Place Honoured, is scheduled for August 15-21.
“Food sits at the heart and stomach of our collective life. It’s time to start talking about it together because all is not right at our collective table,” said Rev. Cathy Campbell, of St. Matthew’s church, Winnipeg, who has written a book about food and food security, and is a leading force behind the event. “For six-and-a-half days we will eat, pray, sing, study, work and learn together.”
Participants will visit one of five “immersion” sites: mixed farming areas in Clearwater and near Brandon, Man., a commercial fisheries site on Lake Manitoba, an organic market farm in St. Adolphe, and an urban food centre in Winnipeg.
“We hope that young adults, university students and seminarians will make a point of coming,” said Laura Marie Piotrowicz, youth ministry developer for the diocese of Rupert’s Land, who will give staff support to organize the camp.
Arrangements are being made to give course credits from the faculty of theology of the University of Winnipeg and from the Peace and Conflict Transformation Studies program at Canadian Mennonite University.
The eco-justice committee has committed funds to the camp; finances are also being sought from the Anglican Foundation, and from individual dioceses. Other sponsors include the Mennonite Central Committee, the United Church of Canada, and the Canadian Foodgrains Bank.
The idea for a justice camp germinated last September, when members of the eco-justice committee sought ways of harnessing the enthusiasm of young people for the Anglican church’s ministry of peace and justice. Plans for future justice camps are being made in the dioceses of British Columbia, Ontario and Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island on themes of peace, indigenous justice and ecology. Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, has endorsed the justice camps.