Author Archives: Paul Williams

Church and Community Orchards Twinning

We are looking for four churches in Scotland to take part in an orchard twinning project with churches in Hungary.  The aim is to learn from the inspiring Plant Native Fruit Trees in Church Gardens project in Hungary that has planted hundreds of orchards across the country and won the ECEN Roman Juriga Award in 2018.

We want to inspire church and community orchard planting in Scotland.  Planting fruit trees is both a symbolic and practical expression of care for Creation.  It is a recognition of the fruitfulness of Creation and a source of healthy food; an orchard requires care and nurture to thrive; and with care will enhance green spaces both for humans and wildlife, particularly in urban areas.

To do this the Church of Scotland, Reformed Church in Hungary are working together with Okogyulekezet (Eco-congregation) Hungary, Eco-Congregation Scotland, and a UK charity The Orchard Project.  The project is part funded by the European Christian Environment Network (ECEN) but churches who wish to be involved will have to make a significant commitment of time, effort and in some cases a financial contribution.

Who is eligible?

Any Eco-Congregation in Scotland may apply, however we are primarily seeking congregations in Edinburgh and Glasgow. We would like to involve priority area churches in urban areas and will seek to find match funding where necessary to enable churches with limited resources to participate.

To take part you must have access to land suitable for an orchard, be prepared to work with a Hungarian church partner, including travel and providing hospitality and make a long term commitment to look after an orchard. For more information, please request an ‘Eligibility Check’ document.

Planning, and training and will be provided by The Orchard Project, a charity with staff based in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

If you are interested please get in touch.  Although we can only provide financial support to four churches it may be possible for other churches to informally join in some of the training and events – so do get in touch.

Contact: Paul Williams

email: pwilliams@churchofscotland.org.uk, tel: 01312402277.

EVENT: The Economics of Arrival: ideas for a grown up economy by Wellbeing Economy Alliance

If the only way is up, how do we know when the economy has reached its destination? What does it mean for an economy to Arrive?

Instead of pursuing endless growth at all costs, it’s time for governments and other decision makers to prioritise shared wellbeing on a healthy planet.

In their new book “The Economics of Arrival: ideas for a growth up economy”, Dr. Katherine Trebeck and Jeremy Williams present the exciting new concept of economic Arrival. They invite us to consider that “the agenda of fighting for survival could be over if the economy were to engage with a new challenge: that of building ourselves a lasting home in this place of plenty.”

Join the authors for a short talk on the book, followed by a Q&A and discussion about applying these ideas to contemporary Scottish politics, hosted by Jamie Livingstone, Head of Oxfam Scotland. The discussion will be followed by a book signing and light refreshments will be available.

 

Busy time at Zero Waste workshops

These folk look busy at something!

Wonder who they are?

They are a few of the 37 individuals from 24 different eco-congregations who took part in the Zero Waste workshops, organised by Eco-congregation Scotland, in Edinburgh and Glasgow  at the end of November.  The day flew by, with a 2-hour session in the morning called Love Food Hate Waste, followed after lunch by a 2 hour session on Love Your Clothes.  Together we learned about the contribution that food waste and the clothing industry make to climate change, and some practical steps that we can all take to reduce our environmental impact.  Great fun, but deadly serious too.   The idea was that those who came along and took part can go back to their churches or networks or groups of friends and run their own informal activities and information events based on what they learned and the materials they have access to.

Wish you have been there?  Don’t worry!

You have several options.

  1. Maybe someone from your church or area was at one of the workshops?  If so, ask them if they will run a local mini-workshop to share what they found out!
  2. If not, we are planning to repeat these “cascade” workshop events:

(a) in Stirling on Saturday 2nd February

(b) in Cupar on Tuesday 5th February

(c) in Inverness on Friday 8th February.

Detailed information and booking forms will be out shortly, Hope to see you there!

When Government fails to respond to climate change, we have a duty to act

Its been a few weeks of bad-news stories in the climate action movement.

The UK Government is failing to respond to the overwhelming calls for climate action, which some are calling a failure to govern and unforgivable betrayal.

Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas and six other MPs, including Labour’s Clive Lewis and former Lib Dem leader Tim Farron signed the letter, which says “pushing policymaking into the long grass of Brexit at this stage represents an abject failure to govern in the interests of the people you are elected to serve.” Read more here:

Others have gone further, calling the Government’s failure a breach of the social contract and cause for the climate action movement to step up a gear. Many, including figures like Rowan Williams, are calling for mass civil-disobedience in protest.  

The latest IPCC report a  says time is already running out and we need to change now to prevent drastic climate break down. Most of the world’s children are already breathing toxic air

If you’ve been sitting on the fence about taking stronger action in your life and church, maybe its time to hop down on the side of hope?

Theres so much you can do to bring the change we need to see.

Register as an Eco-Congregation and help us make the world a better place. Or let us know what you’re doing at home and in your congregation so we can share it to inspire others.

 

“That’s the way it will be back home!” – Chaplain’s Blog

Matthew 13:51: 

Every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of their treasure what is new and what is old.”

Some years ago, I was at an international church gathering where  we were challenged by daily bible studies on neglected parts of Scripture.

These particular ‘treasures’  immersed us in  stories of violence and barely believable  injustice.

We batted ideas around, but it was noticeable  that one of our number, from Burma/Myanmar was very quiet.

Eventually, we were all longing to hear what he might have to say.  When he did speak, he silenced us all. “That’s the way it is back home….”

As I’ve begun to get my teeth into Eco-Chaplaincy,  at this  time of high drama in the news, with a growing awareness of the  urgency of action, so too, I’m rummaging around in the treasure-box of Christian scripture and tradition.

What is coming to light, is both  how widely Christianity is equipped for catastrophic times…. and how universally that equipment  is ignored, disregarded, ridiculed, or completely misunderstood.  With Advent in sight, when lectionaries and other traditions entertain apocalyptic Bible readings, these previously quaint or ornamental texts of turmoil are beginning to assert their relevance, with language full or environmental and political upheaval.

When visiting congregations, I’ve been very open, both about the seriously grim prospects for climate change, as well as looking for ways to say, with eyes wide open, and with integrity ‘Halleluyah anyway’.  As a movement,  we are certainly a work in progress, but with great potential in shaping the witness of the churches in a time of threat without precedent.  Because, without action, “that’s the way it’s going to be back home” … for our common home, the Earth.

love & peace,
Rev’d David J.M.Coleman