May + June 2014 events in Milton Keynes

Two events coming up in Milton Keynes, organised by the MK Christian Environment Group…

Joy In Enough – Tuesday 6th May at 8.00pm

An informal evening focused on the theme of the recent Christian Ecology Link conference, that will explore the proposition that the pursuit of growth economics does not take into account planetary constraints, nor does having more and more posessions deliver satisfaction for those who already have enough.

There will be a short video Enough is Enough, based on the book of the same name by authors Rob Dietz and Dan O’Neill, lecturer in Environmental and Ecological Economics at the University of Leeds and chief economist for CASSE (the Center for the Advancement of Steady State Economics) – and a discussion on a Christian response, including CEL’s own Joy in Enough project.

Wicken Fen – Saturday 21st June

MKCEG group are planning a visit to Wicken Fen to explore Britain’s oldest nature reserve and the amazing variety of wildlife it supports – over 8500 species of plants birds and dragonflies. There will be a short introductory talk, possible boat trip and walk.

Please let David Miller know as soon as possible if you would like to join MKEG for either event by using the contact form below:

Re Enchanting Nature – Saturday 22nd June

A Quiet Day to re-engage with the natural world and through prayer and contemplation to explore our response to the current understanding of the cosmos and the sense of the connectedness of all creation as experienced through Franciscan Spirituality.

The day will be led by Revd Liz Baker, Anglican Priest and Director of the Well Community and a trained Labyrinth Facilitator, drama and movement teacher. Liz has lived and worked at the Well since 2001 and is an Associate of the Society of the Sacred Mission and has a particular interest in the sacramental in the everyday.

Venue: The Well at Willen, nr Milton Keynes

Date: Saturday 22nd June, 10.00-4.00

Cost £15 (includes lunch)

Book by phoning the Well (MK 242190), or by emailing bookings@thewellatwillen.org.uk

via Milton Keynes Christian Environment Group

Pilgrimage Project

Pilgrimage involves going on a journey, which can often lead to us connecting to the world in new ways. Be it appreciating God’s creation in deeper ways or connecting with a deeper call to live the spiritual life.

The Diocese of Oxford has launched the Pilgrim Project  to encourage the spirit of pilgrimage,  part of which has led to the launch of a new diocesan pilgrimage map which features 15 places of special spiritual significance across the Diocese of Oxford. The hope is that the map will inspire not just visitors to each place on the map, but also a spirit of pilgrimage elsewhere. For example, one rural benefice has already been inspired by this project to plan a local pilgrim map encompassing each of its seven churches. What could you do in your area? How can the spirit of pilgrimage encourage us in caring for creation?

Resources to help are on hand, including:

There are A3 posters of the Diocese of Oxford pilgrimage map available and also pocket sized folded maps. Contact the Diocese of Oxford Communications office (01865 208225) if you would like copies.

The Bishop of Oxford, The Rt Revd John Pritchard, will be visiting each place on the map to pray with local people over the summer. There is an open invitation to join him if you are in the area.

  • Monday 8 August: 9.30am Olney; 11.15am North Marston; 12.30pm Drayton Beauchamp
  • Tuesday 9 August: 9am Cookham; 10.30am Easthampstead; 12 noon Stoke Poges
  • Wednesday 10 August: 10.30am Speen; 12 noon Goring
  • Thursday 11 August: 10.30am Stanton Harcourt; 12.15 Dorchester Abbey
  • Friday 12 August: 9am Christ Church Cathedral.
  • Tuesday 30 August 10 am South Newington
  • Wednesday 31 August: 9.30 University Church; 10.45 Binsey; 2pm Compton Beauchamp

See below to view the Diocese of Oxford pilgrimage guides for each of the participating churches on their map.

Bulk oil buying scheme

Oxfordshire Rural Community Council is calling on churches to get involved in their new bulk oil buying scheme. The scheme aims to keep fuel costs as low as possible in rural areas, where many households don’t have mains gas. The scheme will source better prices for oil deliveries and also help to reduce the carbon footprint of the actual delivery system.  Every time a tanker comes out to make a delivery, it uses fuel – a full tanker may only get about 8 miles per gallon – so if deliveries are organised so that one tanker can reach as many customers in as small an area as possible, fuel consumption is reduced.

ORCC is asking for people to help get the scheme going by becoming a local coordinators. Their job will be to garner support locally so the scheme can start in your local area. ‘We’ve made it as simple as possible because we know people are busy’ said ORCC’s Chief Executive Linda Watson, ‘Local co-ordinators are going to be vital to the success of the scheme.  They won’t have to do the negotiating with the oil suppliers and won’t have to deal with any money, so we don’t expect this to take much time.’

Further details via ORCC News – and  Local co-ordinators’ leaflet and Members’ leaflet.

* Update * The bulk oil buying scheme offered by ORCC in Oxfordshire has now been extended to Berkshire and Buckinghamshire – details below:

Oxfordshire – contact Oxfordshire Rural Community Council (ORCC) at www.oxonrcc.org.uk/home/bulk-oil-buying-scheme

Berkshire – contact Community Council for Berkshire (CCB) at www.actionforall.org.uk/CCB/ccb_oil_club

Buckinghamshire – contact Community Impact Bucks at www.communityimpactbucks.org.uk/pages/work-with-commu-bulk-oil-buying-scheme-159.html

Car clubs – a way to reduce carbon emissions and congestion

If you can’t cover your travelling entirely by public transport, cycle or on foot, you still don’t need to own a car: join a car club instead! Members get access to a fleet of cars parked in designated bays in local streets without any of the hassle or cost of ownership. Once a member, you can book a car, online or over the phone, for periods upwards of half an hour, and you’re charged according to the length of booking and distance travelled. Members each get a smart card to open the car when they have a booking, so there’s none of the hassle of collecting a conventional hire car.

Oxcar's first birthday celebration - Photo: Oxford Mail

One such car club was set up in East Oxford just over a year ago when a local residents’ group, Oxcar, joined forces with a national not-for-profit car club, Commonwheels. An innovative move was to lease suitable cars from residents, which has made a mix of cars available – small runabouts (including new fuel-efficient Polos), medium-sized hatchbacks and a 7-seater MPV – as well as allowing lower than conventional booking rates. Any car that is leased to the club is fitted with the necessary electronics and becomes part of the fleet, available for use by all members. In return the Club takes on the costs of the car (tax, insurance, service, cleaning etc) and gives the owner free driving hours per month (mileage fees still apply). This can offer the owner significant savings. (For anyone living in East Oxford, Oxcar / Commonwheels are looking for more cars to adopt!).

But crucially, this is not just about saving money – it is about reducing carbon emissions. An independent survey of the first year of the East Oxford scheme, conducted by Carplus, showed that with growth to over 200 members and 8 cars (more on the way) each Commonwheels car had reduced by 10 the number of cars on the roads of Oxford. There’s no doubt that more thought is given as to whether a car journey is really necessary. Congestion and dangerous overparking are reduced too! This is encouraging the County and City Councils to offer more parking bays to the car club which, provided there are more offers of cars to lease (or loans to buy new cars – with the promise of a small return on the investment) will attract more members, in turn providing the resources for more cars, attracting more members ….. . A growing success story!

So why not explore starting a community car club in your area? Perhaps, if needed, you could offer a parking place on your church’s property? Join the discussion about Car Clubs in the comments below.

If you want to hear more, you are welcome to Oxcar’s first AGM: Tuesday, 9 March, 7.30pm at the Gladiator Club, 263 Iffley Road (corner of Percy Street) 0X4 1SJ. There will be an opening address by Monawar Hussain, Deputy Lord Lieutenant for Oxfordshire, followed by reports of activities to date and discussion of possible directions in the future. For further details, email: oxcar2@yahoo.co.uk

Or you could go to websites: for information about the Commonwheels Car Club (which has cars in Reading, High Wycombe, and Headington as well as East Oxford): www.commonwheels.org.uk

For Oxcar details: www.oxcar.org.uk (currently being rebuilt and updated) – for details of the car adoption scheme, write to oxcar2@yahoo.co.uk

For general information about car clubs: www.carclubs.org.uk and www.carplus.org.uk