Guest blog from Alison Dennis
It’s been long journey but finally, more than a year after it began we have arrived at the start!
In Summer 2017 an email went around the Orpington Churches asking if anyone would like to meet their MP to talk about climate change. Eventually in December, three responders from different churches met each other in the flesh. With invaluable preparation from Jo Musker-Sherwood, we set out together meet with Jo Johnson MP.
‘Oh no, not climate change!’ Didn’t seem like a promising start from Jo Johnson but with the help of the notes from Hope for the Future, we managed to sound like we knew what we were talking about. To our surprise he agreed (in principle) to come along to a meeting to discuss environment issues with Churches Together in Orpington.
Much advice from Hope for the Future, hundreds of emails and a couple of planning get-togethers later, we found ourselves somewhat nervously waiting to see who would turn up to our Friday evening event on Oct 12th
We were rewarded with 175 attendees, a very positive atmosphere and lots of interest in the exhibition of local and national environmental groups. 29 people signed up saying they would like to take things further.
The discussion ranged from ‘How will Brexit affect future government environmental policy?’ to ‘Why is the government permitting fracking when both local and country-wide voters are against it?’ We were elated to hear Jo Johnson say that he saw Churches Together as a place where the most important issues were discussed and to realise that he saw us as a force to be reckoned with.
You can catch a flavour of what went on from the Livecast on the Orpington Baptist Church Facebook page.
So we begin the journey of influencing our MP, strengthened from 3 of us to 32. As we have seen from the very timely IPCC report – there is not a day to waste.