"Deep listening is an act of surrender": Meet Judith Rigby

Meet Judith Rigby, Congregational Worship Leader of All Saints' Church in Puerto de la Cruz in North Tenerife. In this blog post she shares some thoughts on the Lambeth Conference and the devastation caused by wildfire in Tenerife.

"As I write this the wildfires continue to burn on the slopes of Teide, impacting five regions of our island. As we have been faced with the heat and temperatures well in the 30s I have followed with awe the stories of the many volunteer firefighters from our own and other neighbouring islands, dressed in heavy protective clothing and working in the skies and on the ground alongside the raging fires. Trusting and listening to each other they are working together to protect the homes of the 600 plus who were evacuated and to stabilise, control and extinguish 27km perimeter rings of fire.

I am also reminded that the bishops from around the Anglican Communion gather for the 15th Lambeth Conference in Canterbury. The theme is God’s Church for God’s World - walking, listening and witnessing together. The fruit of their prayer, bible study, worship, fellowship and listening together will shape the life of the Anglican Communion for the next decade. Their biblical focus is the Book of 1 Peter. 1 Peter reflects the challenges that Peter's communities were facing; belonging, alienation, persecution, slavery and exile. Each time we pray the Our Father we pray: “Your Kingdom come. Your will be done.” 1 Peter raises an inspiring vision of God´s Kingdom. Have a read and you will see Peter encouraging his listeners to witness in their lives to Christ´s hope and holiness.

One theme of the conference is Our Environment and Sustainable Development. Coming from many different corners of the globe those present will be able to speak to varying global crises, their impact on the most vulnerable and the Gospel call to serve the world in need. Listening will be imperative.

Deep listening is an act of surrender. We risk being changed by what we hear. As we listen to the stories from our own and other parts of the world impacted by global warming and climate change we can ask ourselves what is at stake for the other person? Telling of our wildfires we know the impact of them on our island. The primary goal of listening is to deepen our own understanding. The hope is that in listening well we are changed by what we hear and new horizons will be opened up for each listener.

Our Diocese in Europe encourages each of our chaplaincies to become places where we strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth. We have five Ts to remind us: Transform, Treasure, Tend, Teach and Tell. As we look into the sky or watch TV and social media we see the flames, the smoke and the devastation caused by the fires. We acknowledge the strength of those working to extinguish them and pray with gratitude for their work and their selfless dedication. Journeying together we pray that we will respond to our 21st century world, changed by science and technology and impacted by the crises of injustice, war and poverty.

In the life of All Saints we pray this week: “May Your Kingdom come. Your Will be done. May we take seriously our responsibility to care for creation and sustain our earth. We pray for safety for all working on our behalf to protect our island home. Amen.”