Monday, June 15, 2009
Spreading the word: Forbury Fever and Woodford Park
On Saturday 6 June Reading Borough Council held their annual environment festival in Forbury Gardens: Forbury Fever. As part of the newly formed Reading Christian Ecology Link I was there on a stall in the drizzling rain - more of a cold than a fever, my husband remarked.
We were trying to get more origami arks and petition signatures for Operation Noah and promoting the Ecclesiastical Electricity plan to get solar panels on a church roof in Reading. On display panels at the back there was various information, including advertising the forthcoming showing of Age of Stupid at the Town Hall on 30th June. We also had displays on Caversham Heights Methodist, Tilehurst Methodist and St John and St Stephen's Eco-congregations.
There seemed to be fewer things going on in the gardens than previous years and the rain certainly kept the visitors away. Nonetheless our puppet show which some girls from Reading Community Church put on every fifteen minutes was very popular, telling the story of Noah's Ark. We did get a few colourful origami arks to float in our paddling pool (before rain sank them) as well as some signatures and good conversations.
The following day my family cycled in brilliant sunshine to the Woodley Churches Together open air service marking the start of Woodley carnival in Woodford park. My husband had been asked to preach. He focussed on the Trinity Sunday reading of Jesus's baptism but wove in a message for Environment Sunday (both 7 June): lots of Biblical stories of God leading God's people into new lives through breaking waters and the opportunity for that now, including the new lives we need to lead in the face of the current climate crisis (sorry to paraphrase so brutally). So I had the posters of our Eco-congregation from the previous day up on display again, plus inviting more petition signing and lots of general info on greener lifestyles. Unfortunately the very moment the service ended, the rain began, luckily only briefly but enough to send some running for cover. I did have some good conversations with members of Woodley churches thinking of trying to follow the eco-congregation route. As so often, there was much bemoaning the seeming apathy among most of their congregation for such matters.