Photo by TreetopMom on Flickr

Inspired by the places we dislike as well as like

With just over a week left to enter the Inspired by Creation competition (the deadline for entries is 30th September) we continue our series of reflections with another of the judges Ed Newell, the Sub-Dean of Christ Church Cathedral, sharing how he is inspired by creation.

Photo by TreetopMom on Flickr

Photo by TreetopMom on Flickr

Do you find yourself returning time and time again to a ‘special’ place? Over the years, I’ve been drawn back to a part of the north Devon coast. It’s there that I often go to think, reflect and pray. Looking out to sea speaks of the eternal. Standing on the cliff grounds me in my daily life. It’s a boundary, and a place where I sometimes feel closest to God. Seasonality and changes in the weather help as well. The sea’s changing moods might reflect my own or challenge me.

Yet there are also places where I feel spiritually alienated and uncomfortable. These are also important, because they have taught me to search for God in new and different ways. I find this most especially in drab towns and cities. Here, perhaps more than anywhere else, I’ve felt the importance of community, and of how small things – maybe a patch of wild flowers amongst rubble – can be uplifting. So place matters, and it’s good to experience places we dislike as well as like – and to search for God in both.

Canon Ed Newell, Sub-Dean of Christ Church Cathedral

Where are you inspired by creation? For full details and to enter the competition visit: www.earthingfaith.org/inspired.

Tell your friends about the Inspired by Creation competition. Email them, Tweet and share on Facebook.

Promote the competition with posters and fliers – order here.

Inspired Wastwater – A favourite piece of holy ground

To mark Creation Tide we are running the Inspired by Creation competition. During September we have asked a few people to share their reflections. Here the Bishop of  Oxford – the Rt Rev John Pritchard shares his special place of inspiration.

When we asked Bishop John about where he was inspired by creation he immediately said Wastwater in the Lake District.

Photo: Wastwater – Lake District by +John

“Many people have a favourite piece of holy ground, somewhere where the veil between heaven and earth seems very thin. Mine is in the Lake District where you look down Wastwater to the great mountains of Yewbarrow, Great Gable and the flanks of Scafell Pike. This is where time stands still for me and I am put gently but firmly in my place before the beauty and scale of God.

The view of Wasdale is iconic. It’s often used by those who want to advertise or promote the Lake District, but for me it speaks of majesty, adventure, refreshment, innocence – a whole host of profound emotions tied up with some life-long values.

I’ve loved the Lake District all my life, since I went up there year after year from Blackpool, with friends and family. The excitement of the first glimpse we would get of these sleeping giants goes through me still: life was about to become infinitely richer, the colours sharper, the wind more bracing; everything was about to feel ‘right’.

Three of us once stayed in a National Trust cottage just here, from where this photo was taken. I could look at that view forever, watching the ever-changing play of light and shade, feeling deeply at one with every element before me. Indeed it wasn’t a scene to stick in the photo album; it was a place to ponder the vicissitudes of life, to ask big, unanswerable questions. It was a place to dream, to make resolutions, to imagine a better world. It was a gateway to something so beautiful you spoke in hushed tones; you almost wanted to cry.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote:

Earth’s crammed with heaven,

And every common bush afire with God:

But only he who sees, takes off his shoes;

The rest sit around it, and pluck blackberries.

I’m dying to get back to the Lake District sometime next year. It’s a place I ‘take off my shoes’. The mountains and lakes, the colours and sounds, the feel of the wind caressing or blasting my face – it’s all profoundly renewing. And it takes me under the surface of our personal and social superficiality and into the mystery of the God who ‘wrote’ nature before he ‘wrote’ the Bible.”

Bishop of Oxford – the Rt Rev John Pritchard

Where are you inspired by creation? For full details and to enter the competition visit: www.earthingfaith.org/inspired.

Tell your friends about the Inspired by Creation competition. Email them, Tweet and share on Facebook.

Promote the competition with posters and fliers – order here.

Inspired seashore walk

We asked Oxford based photographer KT Bruce – who is one of the judges of the Inspired by Creation competition – to share a reflection about how she is inspired by creation.

“Each day the sun rises and the sun sets and it doesn’t wait for applause.

I love walking along the seashore and thinking about the world I live in and counting my blessings.

Nature is so calming and a good walk can often give you time to work out problems that have been troubling you and you feel God is not very far away.

The colours of nature inspire me to capture images which remind me of places which have very strong affection in my heart.”

KT Bruce

Where are you inspired by creation? For full details and to enter the competition visit: www.earthingfaith.org/inspired.

Tell your friends about the Inspired by Creation competition. Email them, Tweet and share on Facebook.

Promote the competition with posters and fliers – order here.

Creation Tide 2010

“Let the heavens be glad and let Earth rejoice” Ps. 96.11

Each year Creation Tide is celebrated from the 1st September to the second Sunday in October (taking us through to 9th October in 2010 – and including St Francis of Assisi Day on 4th October). Churches and groups are invited to use this time of the year to focus on, and promote the preservation of, Creation.

Here on the Earthing Faith website we are marking Creation Tide with Inspired by Creation – a chance to share with others how creation inspires you through sharing the place where you connect with God and what that inspires. Elsewhere there are lots of resources to help you focus your thoughts, prayers and actions during Creation Tide. Here are a few…

Creation Flourishing - a time for celebration and careChurches Together in Britain & Ireland have produced new resources for Creation Tide this year on the theme of Creation Flourishing – a time for celebration and care, and linking into the United Nations International Year of Biodiversity.

Resources for Creation Time 2010 include lots of ideas and suggestions that can be used on one occasion or over the 5 weeks, including:

  • Sermon notes based on the Lectionary readings for the 5 Sundays
  • A keynote sermon on the theme, and other sermons
  • Prayers of intercession
  • Resources for children’s groups and schools
  • Group study ideas
  • Biodiversity FAQs – for churches
  • A range of other liturgical material

You may also find the CTBI resources from previous years useful – they can be found here.

The Season of Creation website also has a wealth of resources, including a Three-year Cycle of Readings for Creation Tide, as well as liturgies, sermon themes and childrens resources.

You might also find the following websites useful for more general resources to use during Creation Tide:  European Christian Environmental Network | Christian Ecology Link

If you know of other resources that might he helpful to people please share them in the comments section.

May the Spirit of God, who is above all and in all and through all,

fill you with the knowledge of God’s presence in Earth

and the pulsing of Christ within you.


Taken from The Season of Creation’sLiturgy – Planet Earth Sunday 1

Inspired garden

Inspired garden

Photo by mattfreer

This is the little patch of earth that inspires me – my garden. With the chickens pecking about, the vegetables growing, the sunflowers shining down, and the apples and pears leaning down from above, it is a place of abundance in the summer. It is a place of joy shared with family and friends – and yet is also where I can spend time alone. As the seasons roll-by the plants die back, leaving their seeds, which miraculously bring life in the following seasons. No where else have I been able to experience the mystery of resurrection in such a deep way. In short, working this patch of earth brings me a connection to our Creator I can struggle to find elsewhere.

So where are you inspired by creation?

Today we launch Inspired by Creation – a competition to mark the season of Creation Tide and opportunity for people to share the place where they find inspiration and a connection with God. You can enter the competition by sharing a photograph or a poem/prayer that captures your special place of inspiration. There are three prizes for each category, which include wireless energy monitors, books and hampers!

You’ve got until the 30th September to enter the competition – so get inspired and share your special place.

For full details and to enter visit: www.earthingfaith.org/inspired.

Tell your friends about the Inspired by Creation competition. Email them, Tweet and share on Facebook.

Promote the competition with posters and fliers – order here.