Before the communion service at St John's was quite over this morning, Rosemary, Richard B and myself slipped out to catch a train to London for the People's Climate March. We were expecting to arrive late so headed out of Charing Cross and found ourselves joining the very beginning of the march. This did mean we had little sense of just how many people were present but Avaaz are reporting 40,000. The atmosphere was not as carnivalesque or optimistic as some I've been on but good natured and generally positive nonetheless. Being at the front meant we did get to hear all the speakers - Richard Chartres, bishop of London, gave a rousing introduction; a young campaigner who had ensured climate change stayed on the school curriculum was inspirational; Vivienne Westwood's rant left many of us puzzled and provoked some heckling but she was followed by a very positive speaker from Zero Carbon Britain who claimed that without nuclear or fossil fuels we still have the resources for the energy we need. Emma Thompson told of her recent visit to the Arctic and read a large chunk of Desmond Tutu's article in today's Observer on how climate change is 'the human rights issue of our day'. A speaker from Avaaz finished the rally, encouraging us to keep campaigning up to the crucial talks in Paris next year. Although we didn't bump into any friends on the march itself it was good to see three campaigners from Trinity as we got onto the train for Reading.
I started this blog in November 2007 as a resource and a record of our church's journey towards becoming an EcoCongregation. In May 2009 we were assessed for the award and passed. It was due for renewal in 2012 but due to significant plans for rebuilding our church/school plant it seemed appropriate to wait a while. Once EcoCongregation was relaunched as EcoChurch we registered and found our results were mixed: gold for 'worship', silver for 'community and global', but only bronze for 'lifestyle' and 'buildings' (and not enough land to count). In February 2019 a new survey indicated we'd made it to silver with 'lifestyle' and 'buildings' too. So now we have a new challenge ...
I hope that church members will find the blog useful and that it is also helpful to others with a concern for our environment. Please use any of the liturgy, green tips or ideas on it as you like. It would be lovely to hear back if you do. It would also be great to hear ideas and experiences from other churches.
The views expressed herein are my own and may not reflect those of all of the congregation.
The church of St John and St Stephen in Newtown, Reading is attached to a school with minimal green space. The Sunday morning congregation (about 70 from an electoral roll of just over 100) includes a wide range of ages and backgrounds and has long been concerned with overseas development issues (we are a Fairtrade church who support Tearfund and Christian Aid and several mission organisations. A number of the congregation are or have been involved in development and/or overseas mission). This concern was the inspiration for the decision to try to become an EcoCongregation back in 2007.