As I look out of my office into the Rectory garden, I am greeted by the beauty of clumps of primroses with their sunny faces. A plant I normally associate with Easter, is in full bloom in January. We can no longer deny the harsh reality the planet is warming at a dangerous rate. Only this week Sir David Attenborough gave us all a stark warning, we can no longer delay taking radical action to halt climate change. The present predictions of a warming of between 3 and 5 % are highly dangerous for human life. There are some things that cannot wait much longer, and change has to come. With Australia on fire the Barrier Reef being bleached. Widespread flooding, melting polar ice caps and growing deforestation in the Amazon these are matters that should concern all of us. Actually, they should be things that cause all of us to take action.
In November 2019 Salisbury Diocese declared a Climate Emergency. This new year all clergy have received a letter from Bishop Nicholas encouraging us to engage as Parishes with the issue of Climate change to look at ways for us to reduce our consumption of carbon and fossil-based fuels. We have seen the impact of plastic on our oceans and just a casual walk along Chesil Beach shows us that we are having a detrimental impact on our common home.
When we watch the News, we can feel very powerless to do anything. However, there are a number of things we can all do on a personal level. This afternoon in 20 minutes I switched my energy supplier so that all my electricity is now coming from Renewable Sources and 10% of my Gas was coming from Gas produced from food and farm waste. I even saved money as I did this. Moving my electricity supplier saved the work of 1770 Trees annually.
In January I moved from being a Flexitarian to a Vegan Diet. Honestly, it hasn’t been that hard to do. Do I miss Bacon of course I do, but is it worth the impact that some farming is having on the world? I am now rethinking the garden in the Rectory planning to wild parts of it in a way that helps biodiversity, birds and bees as well as other creatures to flourish in my Backyard as it were. I’ve got room for a Tree so I can help Carbon Capture. I can’t fix Australia, but I can make my corner of Wyke Regis better. In November our poor old car had had its day so we dug into our meagre savings and decided to buy a Hybrid Car, which we are very happy with. These are all small incremental changes that make a difference to our world.
On a campaigning level I am seeking to join others in Weymouth and Portland in opposing the building of the incinerator in Portland Harbour. I come from Derby and have witnessed first-hand the awful smell, road pollution and to be honest misery one of these plants makes. Not least the impact it would have on Wyke’s already very congested roads and Weymouth as a Tourist destination.
February the 26th is Ash Wednesday a day when we mark our foreheads with the Ash Cross. I always think it funny playing spot the Christian that day by seeing people with dirty foreheads. Ash Wednesday is the day where we change our minds, turn from our sinful ways and turn back to God our maker. We do this by Fasting, Prayer, Study and Acts of Mercy. On Ash Wednesday I will mark peoples forehead ‘s with a Cross made of Carbon. The symbolism is not lost on me. The Ash Cross reminds me that I am but Dust and to Dust I will return. My prayer is that I will not be among the generation that destroyed the planet our common home.
This Lent , Wyke Parish will be joining the National Church as well as other Churches in Weymouth by engaging with the #LiveLent project. To engage on the subject of Ecology. We will do this by Fasting in a different way to usual. I am encouraging people to Fast by seeking to go plastic free, dairy and or meat free for the six weeks of this penitential season. Perhaps there are other ways we can all reduce our Carbon Footprint as we seek to repent, (Greek Metanoia, to change one’s ways) by changing our way of living to live in a more sustainable matter.
Each Sunday as well as during the week we will be drawing from the book Saying Yes to Life by Ruth Valerio seeking to pray, fast and engage on how we might as a Parish become an Eco Church. I highly recommend Ruth’s Book to you and I think it would be a good accompanier for everyone as we journey through Lent.
If you are concerned about the Environment and want to be part of a community that is trying to respond to the Climate Emergency why don’t you think about joining us on this journey in Lent. You can join us at our Ash Wednesday Services on Wednesday the 26th of February at 10:30 at St Edmund’s Church and 7:00 pm at All Saint’s Church.
On a Sunday at All Saints at 9:30 AM and St Edmunds at 11:00 the sermon will be on Ecology and care for God’s Creation. During the week at 4:30 PM at Evening prayer we will be praying for the environment.
Jesus commanded us to Love our Neighbour as our self. If we are to truly care for our neighbours especially our children perhaps all of us and I include myself we all must care for our common home.
May I wish you all Peace and All Good as we seek to live more sustainably for our common good.
Br Alasdair CFC
Rector , Wyke Parish, All Saint’s with St Edmund’s.