Season of Creation Update

Our ‘Season of Creation’ update for September 2017 includes information about the Season of Creation resources, an introduction to Hope for the Future’s new workbook on talking with MPs, information about the forthcoming Kimberley and Kuruman/Oxford summit, Harvest resources, and a round-up of new campaigns and training opportunities.

Read it here

Hope for the Future Event: Talking with MPs about climate change

PARTNERING with other people in care for creation can be an important part of a church’s witness and outreach, a way of practically showing the love of God and neighbour. But how can we work effectively with partners in the community? And how can we build positive relationships with local politicians?

Recently in Oxford, Christians from different churches came together to think through these questions. In the morning Alice Hemming, coordinator of Oxfordshire’s Community Action Groups network, and John Clements, from the Parish of North Hinksey with Botley, spoke about the way in which community sustainability groups operate and how churches can start their own or get involved with them.

Inspired by examples like the Botley Community Fridge, participants brainstormed about activities their churches could undertake and community partners they might work with. In the afternoon, leading environmental charity Hope for the Future ran a session on how to build a constructive relationship with your MP. Using – for the first time – their newly published workbook, which brings together expertise gleaned from research and dozens of MP meetings, Director Jo Musker-Sherwood and Assistant Director Sarah Robinson discussed how parliament works, techniques that are effective in meetings, and how to continue a relationship beyond a single meeting.

The afternoon culminated in a role play exercise in which a group of participants planned and carried out a meeting with Jo standing in as their MP. The response to both sessions was enthusiastic.

If you’d like to find out more or want to receive a Hope for the Future workbook, contact the diocesan world development adviser maranda@ccow.org.uk.

Creation Care and your local church – an Autumn of opportunities…

This Autumn, we have a special opportunity to share our love for God’s creation and for each other … will you join in?

You may have seen the new “For the love of …” campaign. It’s a way of sharing with each other the many different things that we love – people in different parts of the world, our seasons, farming in Somerset, the wonderful majesty of the Great Barrier Reef –  which are threatened by climate change … and because of which we take climate change seriously. Anyone can share what they love online … would you join in, and ask other people in your church to do so, too?

Then there are three opportunities for us to pray and act together as churches, bringing our loves and concerns before God, and putting pressure on politicians to take climate change as seriously as we do.

  • From 1 September to 4 October, many churches will be observing “Time for Creation,” an annual chance to celebrate God’s goodness in giving us this wonderful earth and to explore our role in caring for it. This year the theme is “God Whose Farm Is All Creation,” and the resources (which contain sermon starters and prayers for each week) focus on family farming as well as more generally on creation care and climate issues. If you’re doing something on farming, you might also want to consult the wonderful resources of the Arthur Rank Centre or to talk with our diocesan rural officer, Canon Glyn Evans.

If you’re only choosing one week to celebrate, you might want to pick 21 September, which is the closest Sunday to the UN Secretary General’s special summit on climate change.

  • On the weekend of the 18th and 19th of October, the focus switches to sharing our concern with politicians. Christian Aid’s Hunger for Justice campaign is asking churches during this weekend to invite their MPs to an event or service, and to ask them to speak about their commitments to international development and their responses to climate change. It’s a powerful time offering the chance to pray and to help politicians to see that this is an issue about which we care. If you’d like more information, email Jess Hall at jhall@christian-aid.org or ring 01865 246818. If you can’t invite your MP, you could also use the Hope for the Future letter-writing materials to let him or her know your concerns. Hope for the Future is an initiative of some of the northeastern Church of England dioceses, and it offers a useful pack that you can use to write letters in church or as an individual.
  • Finally, on the 1st of November, you can bring all the Autumn’s events together in a day that involves prayer and fasting (the fasting being in whatever way is appropriate for you and your church). This is the initiative of Faith for the Climate, a working group that brings together a huge number of Christian agencies (Christian Aid, Tearfund, A Rocha, CEL, Operation Noah, CCOW, etc) and churches working on climate change. They’re asking churches to hold a brief time of prayer – and providing service materials if you want them. You’ll be joining people all around the country … and indeed, all around the world. The idea is that we’ll then pray and fast every 1st of the month for a year … praying that God will bring about genuine progress on climate justice at international, national and local levels. If you’d like more information, contact Maranda St John Nicolle.

Deanery Calls For Disinvestment From Fossil Fuel Companies

Revd. Dr. Darrell Hannah Rector of All Saints’, Ascot Heath explains about a move in Bracknell Deanery to call for the Church of England to disinvest from fossil fuel companies and how you can help…

In Febraury 2014 General Synod of the Church of England voted overwhelmingly in support of the Church strengthening its work on the environment, and made clear Synod’s desire to see this include the Church’s ethical investment activities and ensure the investment policies are ‘aligned with the theological, moral and social priorities’ of the Church on climate change.

Building on this support in February 2014 Bracknell Deanery passed a motion urging the National Investment Bodies of the Church of England to disinvest from Fossil Fuel companies. The motion was an amended version of a motion which originated in the PCC of All Saints’, Ascot Heath.

When the motion was first introduced to the Deanery Synod, in December 2013, there was much uncertainty over the issue of disinvestment. So a special meeting of the Deanery Synod, but one open to non-members, was organised to explore the issue. Speakers on various sides of the issue were invited: Bishop David Atkinson and Mark Letcher, both of Operation Noah, and Dr James Corah, of CCLA. This proved to be a very informative evening.

Before the Deanery Synod met again, in February, I wrote the following paper – Download the proposal for Bracknell Deanery Synod here – and after some debate the motion was passed. In the House of Clergy there were five votes in favour, one against and five abstentions. In the House of Laity there were thirteen in favour, three against and four abstentions.

The motion will now be considered by Oxford Diocesan Synod at its November meeting – and we are calling for other deaneries to pass similar motions in the run-up to diocesan synod. If you would like to explore doing that please do be in touch with me using the contact form below.

This is part of a wider movement and the Bright Now campaign is calling for people to sign a petition and write directly to the Church Commissioners in the Church of England.

Contact Revd. Dr. Darrell Hannah Rector of All Saints’, Ascot Heath

Hope for the Future campaign

Hope for the Future is a UK wide campaign aimed at getting realistic climate change policies into the manifestos of the main political parties ahead of the next general election, May 2015. 

The campaign has been started by the North East and Yorkshire Anglican Diocesan Environment Officers Group, and is being put forward as a national and ecumenical initiative.

Hope for the Future encourages church congregations to run ‘Climate Write-ins’ – encouraging people to write individual letters to their MP’s and prospective parliamentary candidates, asking the politicians how their party will incorporate into their manifesto the legally binding carbon budgets to reduce emissions in the UK up to 2027, and plan investment in a low-carbon future for the UK, as recommended by the government’s independent advisor, the Committee on Climate Change.

They are also recruiting and deploying ‘Climate Ambassadors’ to visit churches and encourage them to hold these ‘Climate Write-ins’, strategically targeting key constituencies.

After the ‘Climate Write-in’ people are asked to write follow up letters responding to MP’s replies and lobby them at their surgeries.

For further details and resources visit www.hftf.org.uk.

2013: A year of food – Food Matters

Food Matters is a new project from the Diocese of Oxford to help churches reconnect with the seasons, celebrate festivals, and explore global and local food related themes.

Food Matters starts with a launch event from 7.30pm on 24 January in Oxford when four exceptional people – Roy Lambourne (farmer and agricultural consultant); Mike Rayner (priest and public health expert); Ruth Valerio (theologian, author and activist); and Paul Valentin (international director of Christian Aid) will speak about “What Food Means to Me.”

Please do join us for this event – details and registration at: www.foodmatters.org.uk/launch-event/

We’re also asking people to share what food means to them as Christians. See what others have said and add your thoughts on the Food Matters website at: www.foodmatters.org.uk/what-does-food-mean-to-you/

Join the Food Matters mailing list to receive an email about the first Food Matters resource at the end of January called “Preparing the Ground” and focussed on winter. Three further resources will follow in the year –  ideas for celebrating festivals and with opportunities to reflect; to pray; to “grow your own”; to share local and global stories; and to take action for a fairer food system for all.

Find out more and join the Food Matters mailing list at www.foodmatters.org.uk.

 

Gardening against the Odds award

The Conservation Foundation and the Sunday Telegraph have launched the 2012 Gardening Against The Odds Awards, which celebrate those
inspirational people  who create beauty in the face of physical or psychological difficulties,  or an inhospitable environment.

To enter the awards, visit the Conservation Foundation website by Monday 17th September.

www.conservationfoundation.co.uk