Sunday, March 1, 2020

First Sunday in Lent

Despite being the first Sunday of Lent, today's All Age Communion felt a particularly joyous service. It was a beautiful morning to walk in, with daffodils greeting us at the edge of the forecourt. Hamish singing 100 billion times, a gorgeous Creation song, was certainly one of its highlights.
Our shared lunch was vegetarian and mostly vegan - soups and no puddings because it is Lent, but delicious and satisfying nonetheless. The proceeds from the collection for that are going to Yeldall Manor.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Fairtrade again - Public lecture by the CEO of Cafedirect

John Steel, CEO of Cafedirect, will be speaking at the University of Reading at 6.15 next Wednesday (4 March). The event is jointly organised by the University Chaplaincy and the Department of Economics and is open to members of the public as well as staff and students.

Climate change, social enterprise and business values are all likely to be under discussion. Entrance is free but booking is essential and there are more details here.

Ash Wednesday - being human and fairtrade

There are, as usual, an abundance of resources to mark Lent this year. The Archbishop of Canterbury's Lent Book is by Ruth Valerio - Saying Yes to Life. This works through the days of Creation to consider matters of environmental and ethical concern. Some of us will be reading it through Lent (although I think Rosemary has already finished it!). 

The book is designed for individuals or use in groups, but at St John's Lent is when home groups stop. Instead we gather together each Thursday for a film shown in the church and some of those who join us are not Sunday worshippers at all. The film titles are usually released only at the last minute, but this year's theme is 'What makes us human'. Perhaps not entirely coincidentally, the write-up for the Lent Book explains that "Foundational to Saying Yes to Life is what it means to be human and, in particular, to be a follower of Jesus"

So that we do all have something to do at home too - last Sunday everyone received Christian Aid's, Count Your Blessings leaflet. Its focus is the climate crisis.  There's some interesting articles on Lenten themes in the current issue of Pathways too.

Meanwhile, the first week in Lent is always the beginning of fairtrade fortnight so the church Traidcraft stall was being 'borrowed' for a fairtrade stall at a local primary school and there were fairtrade toppings for pancakes at the University Chaplaincy's pancake party on Tuesday.

Citizens UK

Jessica Maddocks of Citizens UK has been exploring the possibility of a Reading branch of this community activism organisation. Several of our congregation have been on her list of interviewees so far and apparently a desire for political action on climate change is a particularly high priority in Reading.

Last night I joined a Citizens UK delegates' meeting (along with Jessica and members of the University of Reading's sustainability team) in a skype link to the Milton Keynes Citizens UK meeting. We were considering priorities in lobbying during the Police and Crime Commissioner election. The proposals under discussion included asking for a commitment from the Thames Valley police to set an ambitious target for the force to be carbon neutral; building stronger links between schools and police with named police contacts for every school; and a commitment that all those employed by the force (including contractors) should be paid a real living wage. Oxford diocese were also represented through a remote link and many community groups at Milton Keynes were in the room.

Despite some technological hitches with our sound link, it was an invigorating and interesting experience of democracy in action. Hopefully some of us will make it in person to the next event.