Thursday, October 28, 2010

How to use your community building to generate clean energy

Park URC are now well on the way to installing pv panels and a biomass boiler, having secured most of the funding needed. They hope to be installing the panels before the end of the year and the boiler next May. So, a speaker from there will be among those encouraging users of other community buildings in Reading to take advantage of the current very generous Feed in Tariff rate to help them produce green energy for themselves and the grid:

How to use your community building to generate clean energy and get paid for it

An information evening for voluntary, faith and community organisations:

This event is for you if your community, faith or voluntary organisation owns or rents a building.

On the night there will be:

* Impartial advice from an Energy Savings Trust expert plus local project study from Park United Reform Church

* How to save money making your building more energy efficient; a case study from Friends Meeting House

* Don’t own your building? Expert advice on how to convince your landlord to help

Please book a place by emailing or call 07828 498 315

Tue 23 November 2010 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM

Friends Meeting House, 2 Church Street, Reading, RG1 2SB

20 10 2010

On Wednesday of last week Rev Jesse Jackson addressed a Christian Aid supporters day at Central Methodist Hall, urging activists to 'Keep dreaming' of a world of justice, clean water, peace, more health care and education . . . ending poverty in the developing world. Three of our congregation were there for the event and afterwards lobbied our MP Rob Wilson about the government's role in responding to climate change and ending poverty.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Creation Flourishing?

As we wait in hope and prayer for good news from the UN conference on biodiversity in Nagoya, St John's two months of Creation Season have almost finished. This year we were rather more low key - I asked intercessors to include environmental concerns and we included pictures of Creation Flourishing in the overhead images during the service. I didn't manage to provide examples from Reading for every week (not because there are insufficient examples, time failed me).

We also have a map of Reading on our Eco notice board on which I've asked people to mark their favourite green spaces in Reading. Today I decided to try out one suggested by Rosemary - High Wood on Church Road. It is indeed a treasure (pictured above). I'd been in town earlier so caught the number 17 bus (which passes very close to St John's) up to the Three Tuns and it's a short walk down Church Road from there. We did hear various birds and watched squirrels but what seemed to be flourishing most there were fungi in beautiful variety.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Visitors from Sweden

This Wednesday some visitors from Oxford's twin diocese in Sweden were visiting to explore the outworking of Oxford's 'Living Faith for the Future' programme and wanting to see what environmental things were going on, so they were directed to St John's. We spent an hour or so in St John's cafe. In my enthusiasm to share all our experiences I unfortunately didn't get round to asking what their own experiences were - so if any of you are reading this blog, it would be lovely to know what the equivalent schemes in Sweden are? Luckily both Suzanne and Ali were able to be present to answer many of the questions, as well as Owen who is leading the EcoCongregation movement at St Barnabas, Emmer Green.

At the foot of Mount Sinai

Last term my Sunday school group were working through Genesis with a particular eye to environmental themes - several weeks on Creation followed by the very obvious environmental parallels in stories including Noah's Ark, the Tower of Babel and the famine in Egypt. The emphasis was on appreciating and caring for creation. This term we've moved on to Exodus which instantly struck me as book to help us 'Sustain the Sacred Centre' to use the Oxford Diocesan theme for this year, and prepare ourselves spiritually for building the kingdom. We began with Moses's mother who trusted in God but did not sit back and wait for her child to be rescued, she acted in that trust. Then we looked at the two different responses to injustice embodied in Moses' responses to witnessing his fellow countryman being beaten (murder and consequent exile) or women unfairly treated when waiting to water their sheep (standing up for them and consequent marriage to one) - ie espouse non-violent responses to injustice (climate or otherwise). This week we came to the burning bush at the foot of Mt Sinai and an opportunity to talk about prayer, finding quiet places to do this. The children were very keen to take their flame decorated bush outdoors and we found ourselves in the little garden at the heart of the church/school plant which was a great space. Contemplative prayer is not suited to all six-ten year olds but hopefully even those who fidgeted the whole way through might one day remember the techniques when it's helpful!

Meanwhile the harvest bounty continues - Hugh gave us a carrier full of grapes that my boys very much enjoyed pressing with bare feet for wine.

Reading's Local Travel Plan

The council are currently developing a new local travel plan, encompassing a strategy plan for up until 2026 and an implementation plan for the next three years. I've been looking at it as part of my role on Reading Climate Change Partnership but anyone can comment on the current draft by going to the council's site. Please do - I was chatting with someone at the over-crowded bike racks on Broad Street and mentioned the plan: he assumed that it would not cover cyclists but it does. At first sight the 175 page document does look a bit daunting but actually it isn't that scary and you can skim through to the nitty gritty that affects the areas of Reading that matter to you.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Park URC - on the way to sustainable energy

Below is an e-mail I've just received from the Minister at Park URC: exciting news that means Reading should have a church with PV panels on it very soon. They'll still need another £15,000 so if anyone would like to contribute do get in touch with the Minister, Rev Robert Weston. Hopefully this will be a very visual reminder to people at this busy spot on the outskirts of Reading of the importance of trying to limit climate change:
I’m delighted to let you all know that we have been given a ‘conditional offer’ of a grant of £39088 from the Community Sustainable Energy Programme – Capital Grants Scheme, towards the cost of PV solar panels to go on the church roof and a wood pellet boiler to provide heat to the church and church halls.
This is fantastic news for us and reflects the huge level of support given by members of the church and the local community. We will now be seeking to secure the remainder of the funding required for these two important eco-projects.
Please join us in giving thanks and praise to God for this wonderful news!