As usual there was a large group of St John's congregation at Greenbelt this year. The theme, Saving Paradise, was inspired by a book of that title (subtitled: How Christianity Traded Love of this World for Crucifixion and Empire) whose authors were among the speakers (I know Alison made it to a couple of their sessions, I'm planning to download the talks when I get a chance). Both a lovely mini garden at the centre and Soul Space were themed on the four elements (my youngest would happily have spent a lot longer at both) and this theme also flowed through the Sunday Morning Communion - the sunniest part of the festival this year. Indeed we did experience the elements very much with strong wind, lightning,and torrential rain sending rivers along the paths and turning part of the site into a lake of mud (which the children loved even if some of us struggled with it!) There was a venue especially devoted to environmental issues, named Eden - Paul Kerensa opened in there with a genuinely funny take on climate change. Around the side of it were some inspiring small sets including an inspiring piece on SPEAK's Bardic Bike Tour that Fish had set up (maybe others did too, I just happened to see Fish in there).
I started this blog in November 2007 as a resource and a record of our church's journey towards becoming an EcoCongregation.
We had been inspired to act because members of the congregation were increasingly concerned about the impact of Climate Change on the developing world. Some of us were trying to make changes at home, but working together as a church meant we could achieve so much more.
In May 2009 we were assessed for the award and passed. The scheme was later re-launched as EcoChurch, so we got round to applying for their Bronze award in 2016. In 2019 we made it to silver. Our current challenge is how to get to gold!
The church of St John and St Stephen in Newtown, Reading, is attached to St John's School who use our church space during the week. The Sunday morning congregation (about 65 with an electoral roll of just over 90) includes a wide range of ages and backgrounds, some from the local parish and others from further afield. You can find out more about the church by clicking on the photo of the church above.
The views expressed in this blog are my own, and not necessarily shared by all of the congregation.