Saturday, March 25, 2017

Lent Resolutions

Since Lent started on a 'first Sunday of the month' this year, it was a particularly convenient day for an EcoChurch activity between the service and our Lenten bread and soup lunch. We invited people to write up green lifestyle tips that they are already practising and hang them on this tree. The plan is to draw green tips from the service sheet from these in future. We also put out 'lifestyle audits' for people to complete, with the suggestion that through Lent they might want to use these to make their lifestyle a bit greener.

The following week Jennifer Leach from Ourider Anthems came to talk to us about their Festival of the Dark. It feels a bit strange at first for Christians to talk about joining a festival of the dark, but this is about reconnecting with a sense of the changing seasons of our world, using the festivals that for centuries drew us together as communities. She was particularly advertising today's 'The Night Breathes us In' event - it sounds beautiful although many of us were concerned that the cost of producing such an innovative and adventurous event is reflected in a ticket price that does make it rather exclusive. We are hoping the church might be able to be involved in future more accessible events that would also be open to children.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

For the Common Good

Today Hamish shared in church copies of his latest briefing paper - a summary of Herman Daly and B Cobb Jnr's For the Common Good: Redirecting the economy towards community, the environment and a sustainable future. It is not yet up on his Engaging the Powers website but anyone interested will find papers on similar themes here.

After a particularly tough week I very much appreciated Gary's sermon on moments of mountain-top wonder - plenty of food for thought about our experience of God through Creation. I've not read The Solace of  Fierce Landscapes, although it rang a bell when he said it, and I'm thinking this 'explanation of apophatic mysticism' might prove good Lent reading.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Europe's Greenest City



Late last year Christine and I (pictured at the top outside the bishop's palace) were very fortunate in being able to join an Oxford diocese link visit to Vaxjo in Sweden where the theme of the exchange was the environment. We stayed in a church-run college and visited a variety of sites in our three days, including the biogas plant pictured in the middle (part owned by the church because they own a farm whose cows produce some of the manure) and the rapeseed oil powered crematorium (lowest picture). We also learnt about some of the problems with using rapeseed oil at a church whose boiler had ceased functioning but which was part of a deanery where they are rolling out a very high tech plan for long distance controlling not only the heating and dehumidfying but opening and closing up the building and even ringing the bells. After we got to England I gave a presentation on our experiences after church one day and the text for that is now attached as a page to this blog.
I promised to put a link to their bishops' letter on the environment - that is here.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Simplicity

We've enjoyed two really excellent sermons for the end of Creation Season. Last week's was part of the series on understanding what is happening in the different elements of a communion service and was focused on the Eucharistic prayer itself. It included some beautiful lyrical moments and environmental theology. The week before's was responding to the reading on Jesus's words to the Rich Young Man and it was one of those sermons where I find myself sitting on my hands to avoid applauding at the end. Richard didn't actually use the phrase Joy in Enough but the concept ran through the sermon and he included some suggestions on embodying simplicity from a book by Richard Foster. He had also typed these up for people to take home at the end. They were:
1. Buy things for their usefulness rather than their status or prestige.
2. Learn the difference between a real need and an addiction. Then find support and accountability to regain "sobriety", freedom from addiction.
3. Develop a habit of giving things away.
4. Avoid unnecessary and short-lived technological gadgets that promise to "save time".
5. Enjoy things without owning them. Fore example, take advantage of public libraries and parks.
6. Nurture awe and appreciation for nature. Spend more time outdoors!
7. Get out - and stay out - of debt.
8. Use plain, honest speech. Say what you mean and keep your commitments.
9. Reject anything that oppresses others. For example, buy Fair Trade products.
Seek God's kingdom of love and justice foremost. If anything distracts you from that purpose, let it go.