France forum 22_whole family

A family Forum in France

For the first time in four years, the A Rocha family gathered for the 2022 Global Leader’s Forum. The Forum is a chance for A Rocha leaders to come together in community for fellowship, prayer, and advancing the mission of the A Rocha worldwide family. Over 80 delegates convened in the French hills above the Côte d’Azur at Les Courmettes, with over 20 countries represented.

It was inspiring to reunite around our common vision and faith, across diverse cultures, and languages. We are grateful for the hospitality of the A Rocha France team who shared their beautiful centre at Les Courmettes. Special thank you to Canadian cook and farmer, Shelley Spruit, who made sure our bellies and souls were abundantly nourished with daily ground grain, freshly baked bread and other delights.

It was a time of celebration with answered prayers and good news, including updates that the Atewa forest in Ghana remains protected and undeveloped, growth of the African Forest Programme and the new Friends of A Rocha Network. It was a privilege to witness the A Rocha Worldwide Covenant being acted out over the week as thoughtful and prayerful work was done to review and update A Rocha’s mission and vision statements and A Rocha’s commitments, all of which were approved at the first ever Decision-making Meeting held on the last day of the Forum. God’s grace was tangible as the gathered leaders worked together on articulating our Christian commitment to conservation.

It was also a time for reflection and remembrance amidst the grief of losing our dear colleagues, Miranda Harris, Chris Naylor, and Susanna Naylor, at the end of 2019. We thank God for this time to mourn together, and the strength brought through community and fellowship in Christ. Thank you for your continued prayers for the A Rocha worldwide family as we surrender and partner with God through this season of renewal, like new wine in new wine skins (Mark 2:22).

fredrika-carlsson-SbOJ_kguMGM-unsplash w_COP logo

A Rocha at the COP

The international climate change conference, COP26, takes place from 1-12 November 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland. It is the 26th Conference of the Parties, bringing together the signatory countries of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The key aims are to agree on ‘ambitious’ targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and to achieve ‘net zero’ by 2050, when the amount of greenhouse gases we are adding to the atmosphere is no longer more than we take out.

13 staff members will be representing A Rocha from the UK, Ghana, France, Canada, Climate Stewards and A Rocha International. A Rocha Ghana and A Rocha UK have exhibition stands and others will be networking, reporting out, and seeing how they might influence outcomes. Their key asks will be for countries to commit to emissions targets that will, if implemented, cut greenhouse gases by 40% in 10 years; for rich countries to fulfil promises to provide $100 billion a year in climate finance; and for all countries to include Nature-based Solutions in their national plans, with agreement on sound, common principles or standards.

The team will be posting regularly on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Read more and follow along as the conference unfolds. And if you are interested in beginning your own journey to Net Zero, why not take a look at Climate Stewards’ new website? There are free online tools and advice to help individuals, churches, NGOs and businesses measure, reduce and offset their carbon emissions.

Photo by Fredrika Carlsson on Unsplash


A global conservation gathering

Every four years, the IUCN World Conservation Congress brings together thousands of leaders and decision-makers for the largest global gathering in the conservation movement.

Due to the pandemic, this year’s gathering in Marseille was smaller than usual, but A Rocha International and A Rocha Ghana were both able to attend and for the first time, participated in the Members Assembly. Decisions made here can inform international climate and biodiversity policies, so our presence demonstrated that a Christian organization is able to advocate for conservation across a wide variety of topics and that A Rocha is clearly respected for its solid scientific work.

The exhibition area, which functions like a trade fair for the conservation movement, welcomed 25,000 visitors and A Rocha France joined the A Rocha delegation to present Eglise Verte, a programme supporting French churches to go green. There were many significant conversations held at our stand with people from around the world and a generally positive response from those finding a Christian organization in the mix.

One particular highlight was the celebration of Prof Alfred Oteng-Yeboah, the Board Chair of A Rocha Ghana and trustee of A Rocha International. In recognition of his enormous contribution to biodiversity conservation in Ghana and around the world, he was bestowed the IUCN’s highest honour, the John C. Phillips Memorial Medal, joining the ranks of distinguished conservationists such as Sir David Attenborough, Mrs Indira Ghandi and Professor E.O. Wilson.

Photo: Alfred Oteng-Yeboah receiving the John C. Phillips Memorial Medal. Photo by IISD/ENB


Get to Glasgow

For 2021, six families from Northamptonshire in the UK set themselves a challenge: to walk, run, cycle or scoot the distance from their home to the COP26 UN climate change conference in Glasgow, finishing just in time for world leaders to arrive in Scotland this November.

Their journey will take them 353 miles – not actually to Glasgow, but around their local area – and more and more people are signing up to join them as they learn together how to respond to the climate crisis. Around 300 people are now taking part, from all around the UK and from Australia and Canada too.

‘It’s very humbling as momentum has increased without us doing anything other than spending time outside and talking about God and our place in it all.’ says Hannah Persaud. ‘It’s very much a shared pilgrimage – we reflect, listen, learn and pray as we travel together, even though we may be apart. The kids are fully involved and there have already been some very moving stories of connection and lifestyle change, and God moving in people’s hearts as we gently journey on each week, all at our different paces, all in our different spaces, out in creation and open to what He shows us.’

You can join in from wherever you are. Or show your support with a donation to A Rocha UK.

Photo by Henry Xu on Unsplash