Friday, March 24, 2023

Green Meetings and Mothering Sunday Flowers

It's been a week of 'green' meetings - last Saturday the Berkshire Area of the Third Order Franciscans were here at St John's and I was asked to talk to them about our EcoChurch journey.  Some of them were already members of EcoChurches and could share their experience too, while others said they were enthused to set their own church on the path.

Daffodils left over from Sunday morning - the art on the walls in our Café, inspired by the CofE Lent theme "Dust and Glory", includes quite a few images that also celebrate Creation

Then there was the pre-service gathering on Sunday to assemble the Mothering Sunday posies. Unlike most cut flowers, daffodils are typically grown in Britain, so they're definitely a better option than the mixed flowers that can occasionally be handed out (I'm told even roses!). Nonetheless, I miss the tradition we had at Tadcaster of collecting the flowers locally (one of the downsides of an urban parish). The gorgeous-smelling greenery that was bound with the flowers did, however, come straight from Chris S's garden, which was lovely. This year we abandoned the practice of wrapping them in aluminium foil in favour of more re-usable elastic bands. Had we more time, I know, raffia bows would have been better - something to aim for!

On Tuesday, vicars from two of our neighbouring parishes joined Jeremy and I for lunch (the regular Tuesday Café baked potatoes) to share experiences and suggestions for reducing our carbon emissions (and heating bills) with greener energy. St Johns's own plans are still awaiting agreement from the Oxford Diocesan Schools Trust because the project will give much of its electricity to them.

That evening we had our regular EcoChurch team meeting. Some of the discussion was about the buildings section (do our new paper towels from recycled tetrapaks work as well as the old FSC ones, how long until all the lights are LED etc!) and our little bits of land - time to renew the weeding rota. We also discussed 'global and community engagement' - eg how to encourage more people to get involved with local Newtown Conservation projects: the Community Garden (meeting this Sunday) and the Cemetery (first Sunday of the month) - there is still time to join in after our service has finished.

Finally, on Wednesday I was at RISC, representing Reading Area Green Christians, as a partner of Reading Climate Action Network, in a 'Strategy Room' session, looking at potential new policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As one of the other participants mentioned, it's really worth keep reminding people that our food system is responsible for about a third of all climate changing emissions - this and heating were the targets of the suggested policies.

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