Monday, June 23, 2008

Newtown: a Sacred Space

I forgot to mention the evening Sacred Space service on Sunday 15th which was focussed on our local community. Many of our congregation no longer live (or never have done) actually within the parish boundary. Part of the service was spent on a short walk - we had to choose between themes including youth, age, other faiths, other denominations and bridges. My family opted for 'children' and walked with six other children down to Newtown School where the large barbs over the high gates made quite an impression on us all. We took a detour on the way back because I'd never seen Sun Street community garden although often heard it mentioned. The idea was to walk back discussing what we'd seen (based on some questions provided) and when we got back we wrote down our dreams for the community on this theme. Ali has all the sheets of ideas now - we wait to see what may come of this.

On my arrival home I found a Newtown GLOBE e-mail asking for volunteers to weed at Sun Street the following Saturday - perfect timing I thought, as we were not the only group to visit, and duly forwarded the e-mail widely. Unfortunately it was raining, not knowing if the work would still happen, I wimped out of the cycle ride over to find out and I have yet to find out if anyone else was stronger.

The green woodpecker has nothing to do with the Sacred Space service. It's a tribute to our beautiful, beautiful garden visitor whom we saw knocked down by a car outside our house this morning.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Cakes and Climate change

Last Sunday environmental and development issues seem to have been a theme of the children's groups. My four-year-old returned from Scramblers with a poster about Creation, inevitably with a few Thunderbirds added and I couldn't quite fathom why the space for a picture of himself had been filled with a ladybird and a dalmatian. The Exclaimers were looking at the story of Dorcas/Tabitha. Ann used Tabitha's occupation making clothes for widows as an opportunity to look at recycled clothing and what happens to clothes sent to charity shops. This included finding out how rags are rewoven into new cloth in India. Meanwhile the Pathfinders have each been given £2 to make into more money for Christian Aid. Last week Johnny was selling crockery he'd decorated. This week four of the girls were selling cakes they'd baked. Next week we get to throw wet sponges at Josh and (I think) Johnny too.

This week's notices included a last minute plea for more action to make the Climate Change Bill a really meaningful document. Christian Aid want us to e-mail Hilary Benn and ensure the government don't renege on their earlier promise to ensure companies have to report their carbon emissions. Tearfund, A Rocha and Cafod are all trying to get more MPs to sign their support for amendments that will increase the target for reducing CO2 emissions to 80% (in line with scientific advice) as well as to ensure that shipping and aviation emissions are taken into account. The bill is back in the House of Commons this week - if you're reading this in time please click on the links and take action too!

Depressingly I later received an e-mail from Richard drawing my attention to a MORI poll which shows that most Britons doubt that humans are the cause of climate change.
My husband is currently reading William Hague's biography of William Wilberforce: I had not realised that having abolished Britain's slave trade the government then set about closing down the operations of other European countries by effectively buying them off. One of the actors in the film of Wilberforce's achievement, Amazing Grace, likens the abolition of the slave trade to abolishing oil today. If such actions could be taken then . . . ?

I also received a phone call after church from Alison about tomorrow's Panorama episode exposing Primark's use of child labour (9pm BBC1). If I can persuade my e-mail account to start working I'll alert other green team members to this.

I was pleased to note that Mates, Dates and Saving the Planet appears to have been borrowed.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Books and flower meadows

Every June 5th is World Environment Day. This year my children's book club (Red House Books) marked the occasion with a great selection of reduced-price environmental books for children, many of which are excellent for adults too. Consequently I bought a handful to add to the children's library. I Wonder Why There's a Hole in the Sky (for age 5+) was immediately borrowed by one family who are relatively new to the church and hadn't yet realised about our eco-congregation ambitions.

For 9 year olds and upwards we have You Can Save the Planet (some parents may blanch at some of the advice - limited toilet flushing for instance)
Especially for girls aged 10+ (and mainly because I like the title) there's Mates, Dates & Saving the Planet: a girl's guide to being green and gorgeous
For 12+ there's You Can Save the Planet: A day in the life of your carbon footprint and
An Inconvenient Truth by Al Gore (the excellent film of which was watched by our home group plus three younger members a couple of weeks back). I'd especially recommend both of these to adults too. (And anyone who has not yet seen the film, Richard and Rosemary or Mark and I can lend you a DVD).

I also handed out postcards about the proposed eco-town at Weston Otmoor. The Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust are campaigning against this location because it threatens to destroy the beautiful wildflower meadow at Woodsides Meadow. In the last fifty years 98% of our traditional hay meadows have disappeared and this is a rare survival. The postcards are to be sent to the Minister of State for housing.