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.

 

Climate Week – 4-10 March 2013

Climate Week is a national campaign to inspire action on climate change. It culminates with thousands of events and activities taking place throughout the week of 4 to 10 March 2013, planned by organisations from every part of society. Showcasing real, practical ways to combat climate change, the campaign aims to renew our ambition to create a more sustainable, low-carbon future.

Shrinking the Footprint, the  Church of England’s national environment campaign, is supporting Climate Week 2013, and are calling congregations to take part on Sunday 10th March as part of their weekly worship. Here is how you can get involved:

  • Walk, bike, or car-share to worship – Encourage everyone to use alternative transport to get to your Sunday service.
  • Climate Week Swap – Hold an exchange event where everyone brings items such as clothes, books or children’s toys that they no longer want to trade for others.
  • Bubble & Squeak – Pass around a recipe from the Climate Week website for a low-carbon Sunday meal.
  • Green Roundtable – Arrange a discussion for members to talk about ways to lower your church’s carbon footprint

For details of how to run a Climate Week Swap and be part of Climate Week 2013 – visit www.climateweek.com, email info@climateweek.com or telephone on 020 3397 2601.

 

Operation Noah Lent Course

Operation Noah has published a course which is designed for use as a Lent course – though it is also appropriate for use at any time of the year. It is targeted for use with Church and house groups and the content is based on the Operation Noah Ash Wednesday Declaration.

There are five sessions, each with handouts for participants and notes for group leaders – including:

  1. Does climate change matter? If so, why does it matter?
  2. How can I better celebrate creation as God’s gift?
  3. What is God asking of me?
  4. What do I need to change?
  5.  What can I do now to cherish God’s earth?

Available for downloading at www.operationnoah.org/lent-course

Energy monitoring scheme

The Diocese of Oxford has been giving churches access to the national Shrinking the Footprint Energy monitoring scheme since 2012. The energy monitoring aims to build a better understanding of our energy usage and total carbon footprint so we can support energy saving actions and meet our commitment to protecting God’s creation.

The scheme, which was piloted in the Diocese of Oxford in 2012, gives all CofE churches and schools in the diocese the opportunity to use, for free, energy monitoring software that will help track and reduce energy use.

Funding for the national ran out at the end of 2013. However, thanks to support from Low Carbon Oxford, churches in the Diocese of Oxford will still be able to use the software throughout 2014, when we hope national funding will be available to develop the scheme further nationally .

For further details and to sign up for the scheme visit the diocesan website.

Ash Die-Back Disease

Following the discovery of Chalara fraxinea or “ash die-back” in mature woodland in Suffolk the government has banned all imports of live ash trees. The disease causes leaf loss and crown dieback in affected trees, and can lead ultimately to tree death. It has the potential to kill millions of ash trees if it becomes widely established in Britain. Ash makes up to 40% of our native woodland in some areas, so it is vital that any new instances of the disease are reported to the Forestry Commission as a matter of urgency.

What are the symptoms?

  • Black/brown discolouration of the leaf base and midrib
  • Small lens shaped lesions or black spots on the bark of stems and branches
  • Trees with withered tops and shoots

A full guide is available online from the Forestry Commission: http://www.forestry.gov.uk/pdf/pest-alert-ash-dieback-2012.pdf/$FILE/pest-alert-ash-dieback-2012.pdf

For updates from the Forestry Commission visit: http://www.forestry.gov.uk/chalara

What should I do?

  • If you have responsibility for a churchyard or any other wooded area, or you live in a property provided by the Diocese that has ash trees, read the Forestry Commission guide and make an inspection of your trees as soon as possible
  • If you find signs of the disease take photographs and contact the diocesan buildings and glebe department immediately:

For churchyards and consecrated land: Natalie Merry – natalie.merry@oxford.anglican.org or 01865 208229

For glebe land and vicarage/rectory gardens: Tony Kerry – tony.kerry@oxford.anglican.org or 01865 208292

If you find no signs of infection this does not mean that your trees will remain unaffected in the long term. Monthly inspection is recommended until further guidance is received from the government.

The Life of Trees and the Tree of Life

A Rocha’s 2012 Environment Resource Pack, The Life of Trees and the Tree of Life, is freely available to churches worldwide.

Ideal for use during Time for Creation (1 September – 5 October) or any suitable date.

Why trees? Martin Luther said: “God writes the Gospel, not in the Bible alone but on trees, flowers, clouds and stars.” Today, human behaviour is leading to massive deforestation around the world. All of A Rocha’s national projects are involved with protecting and planting trees or forests, and A Rocha International’s Tropical Forests Programme links several of these. In fact our human lives are dependent on trees in multiple ways. The Bible also starts and finishes with trees – in the Garden of Eden and in the heavenly-earthly City. In between, Jesus’ death on a tree expresses our misuse of God’s creation as well as God’s wonderful saving plans for people and all creation.

The pack contains PowerPoint presentations, and a short downloadable video suitable for showing in a church service, as well as a Service Outline and Children’s Activities and more. Find out more at The Life of Trees and the Tree of Life | A Rocha.

Although the pack is free, churches are encouraged to support A Rocha’s work through a special collection or regular giving. More details can be found here.

 

Food Matters Conference – 1-3 October 2012

This unique event will bring together leading theologians, policy experts and activists to grapple with vital questions about food, hunger and poverty.

Presentations, discussions, workshops and worship will look at our theology of food, how we enable food security in a resource- constrained and overheating planet, who has the power over our food systems and how they are using it – as well as inspiring examples of ways in which these issues are being addressed by individuals, churches and agencies, and explore how we can all be part of the solution, both locally and globally.

 

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