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


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


Life in Lockdown – view from the Bible

I’ve been reading of folk isolating

From accounts in God’s wonderful Book

It’s been an interesting discovery

I recommend you take a look

 

In great fear Moses isolated himself

Elijah became thoroughly depressed

2 Emmaus walkers in deep disappointment

And Jonah in rebelliousness.

John was forced onto Patmos,

Daniel used his time to pray

The exiles in Babylon couldn’t sing

They just did not want to stay.

 

But Moses met God in the burning bush

Elijah encountered God’s care

Jesus himself joined the travellers

and Jonah repented in prayer.

John glimpsed something of heaven

Daniel was protected from harm

God kept His promise to the exiles

in His time He brought them back home

 

So how are we doing in lockdown?

Is this isolation really so bad?

Are we fearful, depressed, disappointed,

feeling angry, deprived or sad?

These people weren’t perfect or patient

or positive and prayerful throughout

But God knew each detail about them

and met them in all of their doubt.

 

Let’s not lock Him out of our Lock-down

We might miss something special from Him.

A vision, encounter, experience, prayer,

a scripture or words of a hymn.

Let Lock-down be changed to Look-up

seek His presence, His purpose, His way

Let’s trust Him, His plans and His timing

and live life to the full every day.

 

Rachael Loescher