Eco-church news

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I have heard the last months described as the Corona-Coaster: a good description I feel for all of us as we have experienced the ups and downs, twists and turns of our daily lives. For me the one constant was the nurturing I felt within God’s Creation as the seasons unfolded and the grey turned to green, burgeoning with life. We met so many other folk out and about immersing themselves in our wonderful surrounding countryside and there was much talk about this sometimes new-found appreciation continuing and being a positive move in caring for God’s earth. Then the cork burst from the bottle and hoards of people not used to visiting our countryside and beaches came and left their litter with no thoughts of leaving the place as they found it. Now there is a new scourge of discarded blue plastic PPE.

Where does this leave us and what is our role in this connection as Christians in this community?

Over the last couple of years we have managed to gain a bronze Eco Church award. One area of focus is Lifestyle; how has ours been? While we are spending less time in church perhaps this is where our focus should be.

 

In our still accessible grounds at St. Katharine’s we are making strides towards creating a more diverse area for wildlife in the lower churchyard. Chris Flannery and I have been popping down between the heat and rain to dig out the current rough vegetation which Anthony has now mown off. We have promises of a little help but could do with some more so we can be ready to sow wild flowers seeds in the autumn. Thank you to Alan and Joan Cottle for a little garden bench which will soon be ready. We want to create space for anyone to find peace for prayer and contemplation and where they can feel at one with nature.

 

September is the church’s season of Creationtide. As nature around us changes again from summer to autumn, plants produce seed, swallows fly back to warmer climes and animals prepare for winter why not use the time to contemplate God’s role for you in caring for his creation.

 

If you would like to join our gardening team, share your efforts or take a role in furthering this cause please get in contact via Lucy in the office. We look forward eagerly to hearing from you.

Jane Scheuber


Let the work begin…

It is good to be back in church for services, though with social distancing and work having started on the interior of the church, the space that is left to us is severely limited. Our congregation has held up surprisingly well and whilst we have to say, rather than sing, the hymns, we did have music at the beginning and end of the service.

The works so far is largely in the north-west corner of the church, where the font will be. This will mean that people will be able to see the font from the pews, rather than having to turn round and crowd at the back of the church. It also means that we have two Victorian pine pews seeking a welcoming home!

 

 

 


Coach House Garden update

As autumn approaches we see signs of the changing season, colour coming in the acer leaves and cooler mornings with quite heavy dew on some occasions.  Some of you will have in your own gardens, the stately spires of Acanthus Spinosus or to give it its common name bear’s breeches. It has been noted that bumble bees get trapped once they have entered the flowers and cannot retreat leading to their demise, with this in mind we cut down the flowering spikes a while ago and this autumn plan to eradicate the plants from where they have been spreading at an alarming rate. The phrase ‘garden thug’ comes to mind. We must protect our bees at all costs.

 

Meanwhile general tidying carries on along with bird feeding. There were some beautiful orange berries on the honeysuckle near the front door recently and I had planned to take a photo on our next visit, however they had all been gobbled up by the blackbirds!

There is a walnut tree surplus to requirements kindly planted in the wrong place by a squirrel, would anyone like to have it later in the season? We continue to enjoy the privilege of this peaceful outdoor space for which we give thanks. Happy gardening…best regards from Lynnette and Arthur


Discipleship 101

For some time the Benefice of Broughton Gifford, Great Chalfield and Holt has been looking at how to provide excellent resources that help everyone continue their journey of faith development. Alongside this the Rector, Canon Andrew Evans, had a clear vision to help everyone share their faith in simple ways, understand how to listen to God and know how much they are loved by their heavenly Father. The lockdown time propelled the Benefice into producing online services and, most recently, the Discipleship Series (also known as Discipleship 101). It was also the catalyst for putting together a new website that reflects the unity of three villages and the diversity of their congregations.  The rather long Benefice name was crystallised into a website name that encompassed all villages and was easy to remember; namely Faith in our Village. Now the website, Facebook page, Instagram feed and YouTube channel all link with the same name and logo across them all. It was interesting to see that the day of the name change immediately resulted in more Facebook page likes and YouTube subscribers as people connected with the friendly and unified nature of the new name.

The Discipleship Series is continuing to be produced alongside a gentle return to in-church services and there is now a growing bank of easily accessible resources on the YouTube channel. Each week’s playlist includes:

Talks explaining the topic

My Stories from members of the three churches where real testimonies of God’s goodness are shared

Worship songs recorded by the music group

Prayers relevant to the topic.

The playlist approach has been chosen so that different elements of each session could be used in home groups, in church services, as a follow up group for those who have completed Alpha and even as a reflective tool for prayer meetings. The possibilities for using these Discipleship sessions are endless.

As well as developing a wonderful resource which will be available freely to anyone who wishes to make use of it, the process has brought out from members of the congregations some previously hidden skills! From those who have provided video editing, those who have been laying down music tracks, those bravely going in front of the camera and those who have courageously shared their stories, we have seen all ages pull together to produce a superb set of resources.

To access the Discipleship series and other services, follow this link and do take a look through the playlists and different sessions. Let us know if you use the Discipleship series and how helpful you find it.  For more information contact united.benefice@outlook.com


Alpha Online

What is Alpha?

Alpha is a series of sessions exploring the Christian faith, typically run over eleven weeks. Each talk looks at a different question around faith and is designed to create conversation. Alpha is run all around the globe, and everyone is welcome.

A chance to connect

Usually, Alpha starts with a meal together but during this time of social distancing we’ve needed to adapt. Each session still kicks off with a chance to meet new people and connect over video chat!

If you want to know more about Jesus and the Christian faith then please get in touch with us.

Email: united.benefice@outlook.com  or phone 01225 782717