As I write, we have just had a very successful Harvest time at church, involving Wadworth School, Wilsic School and Loversall Nursery. It was a community event with over 500 people in church over the 4 days. Many thanks to all those who helped in the preparation, the taking part and distribution of food afterwards.
During this Harvest I felt moved by God to reflect on God’s gifts to us, but also, by extension, what our response to God’s gifts should be in our worship. Through the Christian year we don’t have a specific focus on Creation and our response to God’s gifts to us. Bible readings direct our sermons in the direction of Creation or Thankfulness but it is just at Harvest and the other odd Sunday through the year.
Originally an Australian idea, that has caught on in other parts of the world; is to designate a given 4 week period during September or October to a Creationtide season. This seems an eminently good idea to me, during which we can incorporate the traditional Harvest Sunday but also allows the theme for the words and prayers we say in church to be around Creation for a 4 week period. More pray and planning is required before this becomes a reality but I would welcome people’s views around the idea of a Creationtide Season.
There were other promptings that came my way during Harvest and thinking around Creationtide. These were that the whole church’s activity should reflect a reverence and care for creation. Others churches have done this by becoming “A Fair Trade Church” and by thinking about the environment through the “Shrinking the Foot Print” campaign
Becoming a Fair Trade Church means committing to use only Fairtrade tea, coffee, sugar and biscuits for all services and meetings in church and to move towards using Fair Trade products e.g. fruit wherever possible.
There is also a requirement to have Fair Trade stall in church and to promote Fair Trade during Fairtrade Fortnight and through the year when ever possible.
The “Shrinking the Foot Print” campaign makes the church think about how it interacts with its environment but also includes some concrete plans by the national Church as an organisation:
• Carbon reduction target of 80% by 2050, with an interim target of 42% by 2020
• Annual carbon and energy reports for all parishes and dioceses by 2016
• All church buildings to have carbon footprints calculated and recommendations made by 2012
• Advice for all parishes on choosing green energy tariffs by 2010
• ‘Eco-twinning’ between UK and developing world parishes, faced with early effects of climate change
• New Climate Justice Fund offering aid to churches in the developing world
During the next few months I would welcome your comments about the above as we think as a Church about our day to day interaction with God’s Creation.