Each week I value reading the International Catholic Weekly called The Tablet. A recent front cover has a picture of a seal caught up in a fisherman’s net with the heading ‘The cry of the earth’, and then inside a fascinating article titled ‘The empty sky’ in which the writer laments, ‘There is a swift-shaped hole in my heart and it is so painful I want to weep’. It continues to report on the United Nations biodiversity report published on 6 May, which highlights the loss of wildlife as equal to climate change as one of the biggest threats we face.
It seems that we are being reminded repeatedly of the twin challenges of climate change and the loss of wildlife. There was encouragement too: ‘With such huge environmental destruction on a global scale, putting our own house in order is the right thing to do. Small, simple, holy steps give a big message.’
As church communities we are taking some small steps, and I sense a gradual growing engagement:
- recent switch to a green energy supplier and change to LED fluorescent lights in parish hall at a cost of over £1,200; possibility of replacing some spotlights in St Paul’s
- my ‘annoying’ insistence, when the church heating is on, that the main doors of both churches are not left open as people arrive and leave!
- positive response, especially by young adults, to my Easter sermon and the warnings by the modern-day ‘prophet’ David Attenborough
- use of biodegradable glasses at Community Day and use of china and metal cutlery (thanks, washers-up!) by the café team
- user groups of St Paul’s Hall and rooms urged to avoid single-use plastic
- splendid articles in the parish magazine by Max Priesemann each month, including that alarming picture of planet earth on fire, now one of our roadside posters
- pair of blue tits nesting in boxes put up at St Paul’s last year
- replanting of churchyard at St Matthew’s using appropriate, beautiful plants
- our Building for Life project also includes many eco-friendly elements.
I think back to the beginning of the Fairtrade movement and how it has grown from a small group of enthusiasts to becoming mainstream, especially in our supermarkets. It confirms just how things can change.
God bless each of us in our small steps!