Green Church (and Lent Course 2020)
Christians believe that God is intimately involved in His creation, but we recognise that human beings have not been good at caring for the very creation on which we depend. Our two church buildings have stood for centuries, and we manage two large green areas in the middle of our communities. There are challenges and questions about how we use and maintain them. There are questions as to how we as Churches, Society and individuals live our lives, about our impact on the natural environment. This webpage is where we will post some of the materials we use and (we hope) the progress we make.
During 2019 some progress was made on greening St Matthew's churchyard, and contacts were made in the community and with the University.
Dr Briony Norton, Chloe Warren,
Dr Andrew Ramsay, Ella Wall, Professor David Sheffield,
Jo Watson and the Vicar
More than seventy people packed into the Fellowship Room on Thursday 6 February 2020, keen to find out from Derby University staff and students, and a local resident, why wildlife in our gardens and in the churchyard is so important. Dr Andrew Ramsey, spoke about theGlobal Context. Starting with the industrial revolution he explained that towards the end of the 1960s human beings started to make demands on the planet that could not be sustained. This is steadily getting worse and plants, insects and animals are the losers. Nature regulates the planet and improves quality of life. So we must act.
Speaking on the role local gardens can play, Dr Briony Norton gave the results of a survey conducted by students in the village. The gardens are a good size but residents would not be prepared to take up decking or patios to increase cultivated areas. Villagers scored highly in bird feeding, erecting nest boxes and planting but preferred walls or fences to hedges and to mow lawns regularly. Jo Watson explained how she approached the churchyard working party to see if there was support for encouraging wildlife. A species survey in March 2019 was encouraging and a decision taken to let the grass grow unchecked in the lower area. Only this area, where no burials have taken place, would be used for the initiative. Students came to help harvest the mown grass and in October a marked area was scarified and donated wildflower seed sown.
Following refreshments Ella Wall and Chloe Warren explained how they were able to incorporate their involvement into their final year Zoology course work. Chloe had studied lichen, which grow slowly over many years and are often undisturbed on gravestones. She did a survey of older headstones, noting an array of colours and textures, and then designed and made a replica headstone as a teaching aid for junior school pupils. Ella had produced a management plan, identifying aims and creating a leaflet which could be printed and distributed locally. They concluded by thanking the church for welcoming them. Finally Professor David Sheffield, a psychologist, looked at spending time in nature, which is proven to be mentally and physically beneficial for all, but especially children. Listening to birdsong or watching a tree blowing in the wind brings a realisation of our shared place in nature. There is still a large percentage of the population who are not engaged with nature and that needs to change. After an interesting question and answer session the Vicar closed the evening by thanking all participants.
For Lent 2020 we made available the #LiveLent booklets issued by the Church of England and encourage people to be part of the Campaign - https://www.churchofengland.org/our-faith/living-out-our-faith/lent-holy-week-and-easter/livelent-care-gods-creation
The Campaign has been inspired and informed by the Archbishop of Canterbury's 2020 Lent Book, Saying Yes to Life by Ruth Valerio (SPCK). This is the book that we were using for our Lent Course - which stopped after three weeks as everything closed due to Covid.. The author is Global Advocacy and Influencing Director at Tearfund and Canon Theologian at Rochester Cathedral. In the book she draws on the Days of Creation (Genesis 1), as she relates themes of light, water, land, the seasons, other creatures, humankind, Sabbath rest and resurrection hope to matters of environmental, ethical and social concern. It would be good if you have the book, but it is not essential. It is available from the Sanctuary (the Cathedral shop) and other booksellers, and online.
There are lots of resources at
This handout contains the passage from Genesis
This is the handout for the first session, and the set of notes that Peter made.
We were thinking about light - so here is an image of Europe
This is the handout for the second session. The theme was the second day of Creation, and the idea of fresh water. The slogan of the water company that served Peter's last parish always seems quite inspirational.
This is the handout for the third session. The theme was the third day of Creation, with the focus on trees. The Monday afternoon group met as normal, but the Thursday group was cancelled due to Covid19. In a happier Spring, these are the trees and bluebells in Allestree woods.
We had planned a meeting with Miriam McDonald on "Holistic Restoration", but that was cancelled due to Covid19. Miriam has now produced a podcast which you can read at https://www.holisticrestoration.co.uk/podcast.html
We are planning an Eco Afternoon on Sunday 25 July 2021 - more details soon.