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.

Traditional Skills at Dorchester Abbey – 23-25 August


Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th August from 12 – 6pm

Monday 25th August from 10am to 4pm

Traditional Skills will be showcased at Dorchester Abbey, with contemporary craftspeople who are continuing the crafts and skills that would have built Dorchester on Thames’ medieval abbey and sustained the resident monastic community.

Within the Abbey and its Cloister Garden, there will be demonstrations of skills, and opportunity to try some of them for yourself – discovering how much of the medieval tradition continues today.

This year the emphasis is on the crafts and skills that the monastic community would have needed, including demonstrations from:

  • a herbalist,
  • a pole lathe turner,
  • a coracle maker,
  • weavers,
  • spinners and dyers,
  • a calligrapher and illuminator,
  • a basket maker
  • and beekeepers.

The construction and maintenance of the Abbey church will be represented by: stonemasons, a woodcarver, a stained glass artist, a blacksmith and an embroiderer.

Entry to this event is free.
Donations to the maintenance of the Abbey will be much appreciated.


For further details visit http://www.dorchester-abbey.org.uk/

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

[contact-form to=’drddhannah@yahoo.co.uk’ subject=’Contact via Earthing Faith website – RE Divestment Article’][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Comment’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]

Earthing Faith Gathering – 1st May 2014


Developing an eco-friendly parish: a resource evening for churches in Reading and Berkshire

In 2014 Earthing Faith gatherings will bring people together to showcase resources to help churches explore environment related issues in a parish, with a particular focus on resources for worship.

The Reading gathering took place on Thursday 1st May at St Nicolas Church, Earley and included the following:

  • The Bishop of Reading, introduced the evening by reminding us we cannot carry on as usual, that we need generous imaginations to recover who we are and are called to be, which is priests of creation, and that that brings a huge responsibility. Bishop Andrew talked about the need for a popularised green theology, and encouraged us that we can all do something, not matter how small.
  •  Rev Graeme Fancourt of St Luke with Bartholomew church in Reading introduced their new food-based project that is just getting off the ground. The aim is bring a wholistic approach to evangelism, social action and the environment by creating spaces for heart, mind and soul to mix and sit together, adn has grown out of their involvement in donating to local food banks. They hope to start a pop-up restaurant in their church hall, using food that has been grown in what will be an allotment garden at the back of the church. Everyone will eat together and the money raised will be used to help people to fill their pantry at home.
  • Emma Major, Licensed Lay Minister (LLM) at St Nicolas Church, Earley, introduced Oakwood Forest Church, which met for the first time in November 2013. Sprouting from a visit to the New Forest Forest Church and conversations with friends from other churches in Earley. We are the sort of people who go for walks in the woods when we are trying to find some quiet time with God and so the idea of combining Church with nature was very appealing, especially in our very urban location. The great thing about starting a Forest Church is that there are no costs and no buildings to worry about. One quick conversation with the ranger of our nature reserve and another with our church insurers was all we needed to meet for the first time with everyones blessing.

What is Oakwood Forest Church? 
Oakwood Forest Church is:

  • A fresh expression of church
  • Non-denominational
  • Open to everyone
  • Christ Centered
  • Part of a national network of Forest Churches.
  • Wendy Neale from St Nicolas Church, Earley, talked about the work of the Justice, Peace and the Environment Group (JPEG) which meets regularly to look at social justice and environmental issues on behalf of the whole church. Activities have included:
    • growing food with children;
    • campaigning around the IF campaign;
    • switching the church to green energy;
    • having received a bequest for building work at the church, they will be embarking on improvements to the building that will be as green and energy efficient as possible;
    • the church has strong links with Jubilee Centre in Zambia, and this relationship has been very important to how the congregation links globally, with members of the congregation visiting the centre and it’s work once a year.
  • Mairi Johnstone, CEO of A Rocha UK, shared about the aims and objectives of A Rocha and the many resources that they have available – including the new At Your Service section of their website which includes many worship resources from Dave Bookless and others. Mairi also explained that the Eco-Congregation Award scheme is being re-launched later in 2014, and mentioned that A Rocha will also be launching a new project around land and re-connecting people to land near you.
  • Maranda St John Nicolle, from CCOW and the Diocesan World Development Advisor, shared about how can we campaign on climate issues, and introduced us to a number of different opportunities, including:
  • encouraging parties to deal responsibly with climate issues in their election manifesto policies (Hope for the Future: http://www.hftf.org.uk/ )
  • sharing the reasons why we want to do something about climate change on the “For the Love of …” website: http://fortheloveof.org.uk/
  • encouraging pension providers “to embed climate-awareness into their investment decisions, into dialogue with companies and into policy advocacy”  (Share Action: http://www.shareaction.org.uk/greenlightcampaign)
  • encouraging investors – personal or corporate (including churches, dioceses and the Church of England) – to divest from fossil fuels (Operation Noah’s Bright Now: http://brightnow.org.uk/, Bracknell deanery campaign: http://bit.ly/R2JZZK)
  • joining in fasting and prayer with people from around the world on the 1st of each month (materials available from Christian Aid: http://bit.ly/S9YD2y and from Tearfund: http://bit.ly/S9YD2y)
  • sharing in new advocacy campaigns with specific asks that will be coming out from CAFOD, Christian Aid and Tearfund in the coming year
  • engaging in lifestyle campaigns through organisations like the Breathe network, Shrinking the Footprint … and Earthing Faith!
  • Matt Freer, Diocesan Environment Officer, shared briefly about a number of diocesan resources to help churches ‘green’ their buildings and use their churchyards.
  • The evening closed with worship led by Susie Stead and Rev Tim Steaddownload as pdf.

Missed this gathering? There will also be a similar gathering on Thursday 9th October 2014 with the Bishop of Buckingham in Aylesbury.

Oxfordshire Green Open Homes – May 2014

GOH advert

Oxfordshire Green Open Homes is a great opportunity for people to engage with their local community about climate change. You could open up your own home to the scheme – or visit someones home locally to see what you could do in your own.

  • Find a local Green Open Home

Visit greenopenhomes.net

  • Open up your own Green Home

By opening your home to show Solar PVs or a new boiler you will have an opportunity to inspire visitors to take action to address climate change.  You can also take part to promote any lifestyle changes or low cost improvements, such as turning down the heating, putting foil behind radiators, wearing an extra jumper, or taking the bike instead of the car. The minimum requirement is to be open for just 2 hours.  If you’d like to take part please contact Lois Muddiman at The Low Carbon Hub for further details using the contact form below or call 01865 246099.

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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:

[contact-form to=’david@millersofmk.co.uk’ subject=’Contact via Earthing Faith website’][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Comment’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]

Low Carbon Oxford Week – 14-22 June 2014

bgrtfeccuaekvgj-jpg-largeThe week of 14-22 June will see a wide variety of inspiring events popping up all over Oxford city – from film showings to food fairs; ‘schwopping’ to super-local suppers; cycling to upcycling – there will be something on offer for everyone and the whole of Oxford is invited.

The Diocese of Oxford is a Pathfinder member of Low Carbon Oxford, and is encouraging churches in Oxford are encouraged to get involved in one of the following ways:

  • Register an existing‘green’ event happening during LCO Week – eg weekly farmers market, bike rides, webinars
  • Add a ‘green’ theme to existing events during LCO Week – eg ‘green’ sermons, upcycling activities in schools
  • Work with other organisations to put on a special event for LCO Week – eg film showings, gigs, talks, open days, tours
  • Provide a free venue – eg a shop window for some artwork, a lecture theatre for a talk or a café for a film showing
  • Donate a prize to the LCO Week upcycling competition
  • Promote Low Carbon Oxford Week on Twitter and Facebook

Find out more at the Low Carbon Oxford Week website.

Contact Jenny Carr on 01865 252564 to discuss how you can get involved.