Lent resources 2011

Lent is the traditional time of the year when many churches and groups will give something-up or look at running a course on a particular aspect of faith and life. Here are a few of resources that may be of interest…

1. Carbon Fast

Tearfund are again running Carbon Fast  to help tackle climate change and its impact on our global neighbours. Join the fast from 9 March and each day receive a prayer, a reflection, and a lifestyle or campaign action to take. There are weekly themes of simplicity, sacrifice, community, justice, creativity and generosity.

To get started and sign up for daily emails visit www.tearfund.org/carbonfast, where you will also be able to download resources, including a weekly guide for churches.

2. Lent course from Reading campaigning network

The Reading campaigning network have launched a Lent course for 2011. JESUS, THE EARTHLY POWERS AND US, has been devised by Reading Churches Campaigning Network, and is a 5-week course that delves deep into Scripture and into recent scholarship on power and justice. It starts from the words of Jesus in Matthew’s Gospel: “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to the least of these my brethren, you did it to me’. It looks at the ‘New Vision’ of Jesus which has come from Biblical scholars and theologians, including Rowan Williams and Walter Wink, and covers matters such as, What was Jesus really like?, The Lost Message of Jesus, Christians and mammon, Christians and climate change, and what action should we be taking.

An A5 booklet for course participants is available, price £3.50 including postage. The course foundation was laid by Hamish Preston and booklet has been shaped by Peter and Lesley Boardley, Owen Jewiss and John Madeley.

Copies are available from: Hamish Preston, 19 Oaklands, Bulmershe Road, Reading RG1 5RW. e-mail: ghhpreston@aol.com (Cheques should be sent and made payable to ‘Hamish Preston’). Telephone queries to John Madeley, 01189 476063.

3. 21M

Another course that may be of interest for Lent is 21M – an eight-part DVD resource exploring the Five Marks of Mission for the 21st century produced by CMS. The Five Marks are an internationally recognised description of the elements of Christian mission involving evangelism, discipleship, relief and education, justice and creation-care

Using group activities and games, Bible studies, video interviews with current thinkers and practitioners (including Dave & Anne Bookless of A Rocha UK) and examples of mission in action from around the world 21M explores the Marks of Mission in some depth. The resource aims to inspire churches and groups to put the Marks of Mission into action. 21M is designed to be a flexible resource – structured to run as an eight-week course on mission, but elements could be used alone. The course is designed to be suitable for use by cell and home groups, youth groups (aged 14+), Lent groups, and whole churches. It consists of a DVD with film clips and a Leader’s Guide.

More information on the 21M DVD can be found at www.cms-uk.org/21M, where it can also be ordered for £4.95.

4. Future Shape?

BMS World Mission has also released a course with studies for groups and individuals, video comments from experts in the field and a video, including contributions from Dr Elaine Storkey, President of Tearfund, broadcaster and writer, Rev Dave Bookless, A Rocha UK,  and Sir John Houghton, Nobel Prize-winning Climatologist.

You can download Future Shape? or order it as a free DVD from www.bmsworldmission.org/futureshape.

Are you using other resources that you can recommend? Please share them in the comments section.

Grow Zones – get your community growing

How can you combine growing your own delicious food, making new friends, learning a natural growing method, and the opportunity to reconnect at a deep, spiritual level with creation? The answer is Grow Zones, a community growing project that you can start in your neighbourhood and church.

Designed specifically with churches in mind, Grow Zones provides an opportunity to engage new people from your neighbourhood in a simple, practical project that bears on our common concern for the earth.

The idea is very simple. Someone from a local church or neighbourhood hears about Grow Zones and, with the aid of the Grow Zones kit, forms a local team. People are introduced to a natural growing method known as Permaculture and helped to redesign their gardens so they can grow more of their own fruit and veg. Each team is offered insurance as part of the package, and sets out on a series of visits, where they work on one another’s gardens to make their dreams real. The commitment is deliberately light just four mornings make up the whole course, but experience shows that deep bonds form between people, lasting friendships are made and many go on to experience and learn more.

One participant said having experienced Grow Zones:

“I have longed to do something really positive about caring for creation. As part of the Grow Zones pilot in Bristol, and being introduced to Permaculture, I have been set on a fascinating journey that has transformed my view of the world we live in and resulted in my becoming involved in a whole set of community growing projects here in Bristol. It seems to me that reconnecting with the land, and with growing our own food, is an extraordinarily powerful means to help us reconsider how we are living and  to build fresh expressions of community life. There was a sort of implicit and deep spirituality that pervaded our experience of Grow Zones here in Bristol, as if God was there among us as we worked together. As a Christian minister, I have also been concerned to express concern for creation in a way that is more than theory, or just ‘doing without’ something. It seems to me that the great biblical hope for peace and harmony in creation finds real expression in the hearts of those who join together in a project like Grow Zones.”

Start a Grow Zones Team

The GrowZones Kit

Would you be interested in starting a group in your area? You don’t necessarily need to have any gardening experience, all you need is to be good at organising and encouraging people. If you can gather a group of people together, the Grow Zones Kit will provide the help and resources to get you growing for your first season.

For more information, and to start a team, visit www.growzones.com.

Grow Zones is a national project – supported by the Local Food fund – and a series of Christ and the Earth retreat days supports the programme. To book a retreat day and find out more about the community behind Grow Zones visit www.earthabbey.com.


Your church & renewable energy Seminar – Sat 5th March

An opportunity to hear about renewable energy options and your church building.

Find out how your church can generate electricity, cut energy bills and, through the feed-in-tariffs, make a good return on its investment!

Including presentations and information from experts, plus an opportunity to see solar panels on a church roof in action. The seminar will include time for questions and answers on a range of issues, and include presentations from:

  • Natalie Merry (Diocese of Oxford’s DAC Secretary)
  • Martin Carr (Director, Energize Oxford Ltd)
  • Dr Christian Jardine (University of Oxford’s Senior Researcher on Solar Photovoltaics, Microgeneration, Energy Policy)
  • Jane Hull (Forestry Commission’s Woodfuel Support Officer)
  • Lesley Fellows (Renewable Energy Project Advisor)
  • Gabby Mallett (The National Energy Foundation’s Head of Communities).

On 5th March 2011 at All Saints Church, Wing, Buckinghamshire

Starts at 9.30am and finish by 12.30pm

Coffee and tea will be available for a small fee.

To book a place use the form below or click here.

Click here to download a poster to advertise the event.

Organised by the Diocese of Oxford and hosted by All Saints Church, Wing