Minister’s Letter

The earth is the LORD’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it (Psalm 24:1)

Dear Friends, It was only in October that I spoke of the season of thanksgiving and beauty of the created world. Yet as I wonder what to write about this month, I once again can’t get beyond the concerns that are in the forefront of many of our minds in relation to climate change. For the past 3-4 months fires have raged through Australia. There has been loss of human life, death and hurt of many beautiful creatures, loss of a green vegetation only for it to be replaced with a blackened and charred landscape. There are floods now, but not necessarily where they are needed. As the floods surge in some places, fires still rage on in others. I believe, as do others much more knowledgeable than I, that the increasing temperatures of the earth’s atmosphere have a major role to play in this devastation. In the past couple of days, the respected Sir David Attenborough has spoken out once more expressing his concerns and speaks of our responsibility in caring for planet earth. He told us that at the age of 93 he only now appreciates how extraordinary his life has been. He tells us that “the world is a unique and spectacular marvel, yet the way we humans live on earth is sending it into a decline – it is heading for disaster”. He suggests humans are overruling the world replacing the wild with the tame. And this is costly. He gives what he calls a ‘witness statement and vision for the future, that if we act now, we can yet put it right. But we need to ACT NOW! We need, he suggests, to act with nature and not against it. The world it seems is changing every day and we don’t have time to spare because the moment of crisis has come. This all might sound rather dramatic to some, but it is hard not to accept the evidence which is ever before our eyes these days. So, if we haven’t already, how do we begin to make a difference? Well, I think the reality is we would each find it difficult to change everything we need to at once. There will be a process of transition, but that can indeed begin straight away. I must admit, I personally am not finding transition easy, but I am trying. It is difficult for instance to go to the shop and not come away with something wrapped in plastic. Most of our toiletries and cleaning products are in plastic, sometimes I leave the computer or lights switched on using unnecessary electricity. Occasionally for a treat I might turn the heating up a couple of degrees or I might take the car a short distance when, if I set off a little sooner, it would be an easy walk. In our household we have started with toiletries. We now use solid, palm oil free shampoo bars instead of liquid shampoo, we are using recycled loo roll, I am trying to turn off the computer early, my husband’s company is using electric cars, when feeling chilly we try to layer up instead of turning the heating up. A start! And what about church. In October at the Waymark conference we were introduced to ‘ECO Church’. I did a preliminary survey of St Mary Magdalene’s to get a broad picture of where we were on environmental issues. This survey had 5 sets of questions to complete which covered 5 topics; Worship and Teaching, the Building, our Land, Community Engagement and Lifestyle. The PCC agreed that we begin to explore being an Eco Church and we will look forward to some teaching on it, hopefully by a visiting speaker. Liz has already shared with us her experience at the international justice conference. However, already, we are planning to use environmentally friendly cleaning products, we are in the process of stopping using single use plastic. As nature in our church grounds is part of ‘ECO Church’, we will be inviting people to consider donating to purchase bird boxes and Bee Bombs (wild-flower seed pellets) to use around the perimeter of the churchyard, thus attracting bees which are declining in number. As we explore, I am sure there will be much more that we can do to reduce our carbon footprint. The time is here where we need to play our part in making a difference – and it matters that we are in it together. We have not discussed this yet at St Laurence’s yet, but I’d like to think we will in the near future. The earth is the Lord’s and we are his people. He has entrusted it to us. So, let us together, work for the love of God and for our little piece of his kingdom ~ not just for us but for the generations who are to come. God Bless, Heather