This week Archbishop Winston Halapua took his concerns about climate justice and his moana theology message to a new stage – to the immaculate grounds of a stately hall in the English midlands.
He’d been invited by the USPG (nowadays, United Society Partners in the Gospel) to be their keynote speaker at the Greenbelt Festival, which was held in the grounds of Boughton House, near Kettering, over the long weekend of the August Bank Holiday.
The Greenbelt Festival has been held every year since 1974, and its organisers say their mission is “to create spaces, like festivals, where art, faith and justice collide.”
Dozens of artists and performersshare stages at Greenbelt, and many church and parachurch agencies – USPG among them – host events within the festival.
This year USPG is highlightingclimate justice, and it asked Archbishop Winston to anchor its 2017 Greenbelt programme.
In a number of talks, panel discussions and sermons, Archbishop Winston described how rising sea levels are threatening and dislocating communities in the Pacific – and he also preached and taught on ‘moana theology’, his conviction of God’s care for all things, and how the waves, tides and ocean currents are metaphors for God’s love and of the interconnectedness of the environment.
USPG backed his presentation in several ways, including by the creation of an interactive model of Tonga, which graphically showed the impact of rising sea levels on the flat and scattered islands of Archbishop Winston’s homeland.