St. Stephen's Church Hightown

....part of the local community.

JanAshtonDear All,

Last month I wrote about Eco-Church and this month I can update you on the ‘Eco-Church’ survey we have done to see how good/not good St Stephen’s Church is in conservation and how environmentally friendly we are.

Firstly - the good news.

We are doing well in most areas. We try to keep single use plastics to a minimum. If you’ve had food or drink at our coffee mornings or events in our hall, you know we use reusable cups, saucers and cutlery. We gradually are replacing our light bulbs to LED ones and buy Eco-electricity. We use Fair-trade tea and coffee. We recycle our paper. We are aware how our climate change affects the poorest people of the world - this is mentioned in our prayers and sermons.

But then - the bad news.

We scored very poorly in our use of land. We have a fair bit of land around the church and church hall and all we do with it is cut the grass. Yes, it looks tidy but that’s its only merit. Some of this land could be home to insects and pollinators if we encourage wild flowers to grow. These wilder areas will be managed; otherwise trees and perennial weeds take over. So watch this space as we begin to make changes.

For those of you who are interested in how the Christian faith and climate change are connected, read on.

‘How many are your works, Lord!

In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures…

May the Lord rejoice in his works.’ (Psalm 104:24, 31)

According to the witness of our Scriptures, everything that we have, life and the means of life, comes to us as gift. Because it is a gift to us, we worship God and are thankful to God. Although creation is a gift, it comes with responsibilities for us to be ‘stewards’ or ‘caretakers’, of creation.

Climate scientists have warned of the dangers of catastrophic climate change resulting from human activity. Instability in weather systems is already bringing destruction and suffering to millions of people. Continuing to pollute the atmosphere when we know the dangers, goes against what we know of God’s ways and God’s will. We are failing to love not only the earth, but our neighbours and ourselves, who are made in God’s image. God grieves over the destruction of creation and so should we. We need to repent of the harm we are causing and repenting is not only saying sorry but changing our behaviour.

I know many of us ‘Hightowners’ are accepting the challenge - I’ll give two examples. I visited Mr John Parry on Lower Alt Road, an older man, he hinted being 90 is not that far off. He was telling me how impressed he was with his granddaughters who have started an on-line company who sell vegan and cruelty free products, both make-up and clothing and homeware (www.ethea.com). He drinks vegan soya milk.

Also one of our church officers who wants to remain anonymous was telling me the family are trying to make do with one car. They’ve had two cars for years but now have decided to just have one and make more use of public transport. They said they’ll give it a go and if it proves impossible to manage their complex lives with both working and two children they will buy another. But so far they have adapted to the changes.

Let’s make the changes we need to make to slow down climate change. What are you doing? Let me know

Blessings - Jan
- Revd. Jan Ashton
Vicar of Hightown, Liverpool