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The Annual Conference of the National Justice and Peace Network of England and Wales, takes place on 21-23 July at the Hayes Centre, Swanwick, Derbyshire, UK. This year’s theme is ‘’A Sabbath for the Earth and the Poor: The Challenge of Pope Francis.’’

The keynote speaker is Fr. Peter Hughes, an Irish Columban priest who has spent five decades as a missionary in Latin America. Fr. Hughes will draw upon his witness there to highlight the symbiotic relationship between combating poverty and protecting the natural world.

The interconnectedness of all our actions, is a central and recurring theme of the Conference and one which is aligned to the Sunday Gospel of 23rd July, with the parables of the mustard seed and the yeast. In both parables,  the natural agents (seed and yeast) once set in motion,  work away on their own, quietly and oblivious to the other. But through the intervention of human agency (planting and kneading), both agents come fully into their own. Amongst the lessons we learn from the parables is that of the value of inter-dependence. The garden and kitchen settings of the parables remind us that it is in our ordinary, everyday lives, relationships and activities, that we need to be alert to the possibilities of prevention of human trafficking and the exploitation of others.

Workshops to be held during the weekend, include Care for Creation; Sustainable Agriculture; Mining; Indigenous People; Stigmatisation of the Poor; Divestment from Fossil Fuels; Archbishop Romero; Volunteering and much more. There will also be a workshop on Modern Slavery.

For further information: http://www.justice-and-peace.org.uk/conference/

Prepared by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications person.

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