Author Archives: Charity Manager

10 Ideas for Summer Events

As this summer unfolds, why not think about organising some positive, fun outdoor events to celebrate God’s wonderful creation, or just to enjoy being out and about in it? Eco-congregation doesn’t need to be all about meetings, serious discussions and challenging actions!

So here are a few ideas for you to consider – either as network events, or local church events, or something in between – perhaps you could invite two or three churches near you to join you.

 

1. Outdoor Worship

Just go out to some nice place in the outdoors – up a hill, in a forest, beside a river – and hold a simple worship event. It doesn’t need to be long or complex or formal. Start with a simple prayer and sing a song. Then give everyone 5 minutes to go off in a group of 2 or 3 to find some natural item (stone, feather, blade of grass, leaf…) and when they return invite them to share (just a sentence or two) what it tells them about God, his love, his world. Then finish with another song and prayer. Good for all-age groups.

 

2. A picnic

Head out after morning service to a local park or beauty spot. If you have to go far, try to use public transport, bike or (at least) car share. Bring out the rugs, flasks, picnic hampers, and enjoy. Don’t forget to bring your litter home with you for recycling (and pick up anyone else’s litter that has been discarded around where you were).

 

3. Combine 1 and 2 – a picnic and outdoor worship (in either order)!

 

4. A nature walk

Get someone knowledgeable to lead a nature walk through a local park, nature reserve or countryside. Focus on tree life or flowers or insects. Listen, learn and enjoy. You could always combine this with 1 and 2 as well!

 

5. A cycle run

Work out a nice route that is within the abilities of everyone you are going to invite. If it is a very mixed group, you could plan 2 or 3 different routes, all starting and ending in the same place. If you live in Stirling or Glasgow or some other town that has a public bike hire system, then why not make use of that? You could make it a sponsored event, or just do it for fun, and maybe have a picnic or outdoor worship at the end point.

 

6. A visit to a renewable energy project

Is there a renewable energy project near you? Maybe a wind farm, or a micro hydro scheme, or a solar farm, or a friendly farmer with a wind turbine … See if they would allow you to arrange a visit.

 

7. A beach clean or litter pick

Sounds like hard work, but it can be great fun. Contact your local authority, and they will likely be able to provide you with collecting bags, pickers, protective clothing and advise you about safety issues. And at the end, do something to celebrate!

 

8. A pilgrimage

A pilgrimage is just a walk with a spiritual focus. You can do a pilgrimage anywhere, but why not walk a section of one of Scotland’s pilgrim ways? See http://www.sprf.org.uk/routes.html for ideas.

 

9. A garden visit

Is there a community garden in your area? Or a “big hoose” with formal gardens. Why not make it an outing to go and see what is growing?

 

10. A garden walk

Organise a “garden walk” – find 6 or more individuals who live within walking distance, who are willing to open up their gardens one afternoon or evening. Provide a map, and invite folk to wander from one garden to another, chat with the owners, and just enjoy the variety. Maybe one of them will provide teas and coffees (FairTrade of course, in environmentally friendly cups!). You could charge an entry fee, and donate to an environmental charity

Of course, if children are involved, you will need to take proper precautions, and ensure that there are responsible adults with them at all times.

 

I hope that you might try one or more of these ideas (I know some of you do these things already), or you may have much better ideas of your own. If you do arrange something, let us know what you are doing (a member of ECS staff or trustee might like to join you!) Don’t forget to take a camera along, and send us a report with some photos after the event, so we can share ideas with other groups.

PS If you are on holiday anywhere in Scotland, and visit a church while you are away, ask them if they are a registered eco-congregation, and if not, encourage them to look at our website and find out more about us. You could even leave them a leaflet!

Best wishes and have a good summer enjoying God’s wonderful world,

 

David Bethune, Programme Coordinator

GDPR and Privacy Policy Update

As we are sure you are all aware the new General Data Protection Regulation comes into force today. At Eco-Congregation Scotland we hold very little personal data. We have a database of registered congregations with the name and address of a single person for each, and an email list for our newsletter.

As our systems were already compliant with the provisions of the GDPR it was not necessary to get all our contacts to resubscribe and provide their details again. If you wish to be removed from our mailing list please click the unsubscribe link at the bottom of our next newsletter.

You can read our Privacy Policy relating to data collected by our web site here and our Data Protection Policy here.

The provisions of the GDPR can be found here.

 

 

Scottish Government Publishes Climate Bill

The Scottish Government has today unexpectedly published its Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Bill with the following accompanying video. It is proposing a 90% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050 with specific targets for each year. There will be more reaction to this from environmental groups throughout today.

You can download the full bill here.

 

Update

Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, of which Eco-Congregation Scotland is a member, has issued the following statement:

Responding to the Scottish Government’s draft Climate Change Bill placed before the Scottish Parliament today Tom Ballantine, Chair of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland said:

“It’s hugely disappointing that the Scottish Government has failed to live up to its own rhetoric on global climate change leadership, by failing to set a net zero emissions target in the Climate Change Bill published today.

“The Government claims Scotland it will be one of the first countries to achieve zero emissions, but the Bill does not commit to that. It sets a target of only a 90 per cent reduction in emissions by 2050.

“By failing to ally with the global momentum towards zero emissions, led by countries like France, Sweden and New Zealand, Scotland is missing a huge opportunity to end its contribution to climate change in a generation, attract clean investment and retain its position as a leader on the global stage.

“We’re now calling on MSPs from all parties to push for stronger targets on emissions – net-zero by 2050 at the latest, 77 per cent by 2030 and the action needed to deliver on them in line with the Paris Agreement.”

The Scottish Government has disregarded the voices of over 19,000 people in Scotland who asked for a net zero target by 2050 at the latest, as well as the voices of eminent global scientists, members of the farming community, faith leaders and those at the front line of climate change impacts around the world. As it stands, this Bill does not deliver on the Paris Agreement, and it does not deliver climate justice to those who already feeling the devastating impacts of climate change.

IFEES/EcoIslam Plastic Free Iftar Campaign

Those of you who have been involved with Eco-Congregation Scotland for a while will know that we keep in touch with our Islamic equivalent the Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Studies. We hosted a joint event at the Edinburgh International Science Festival a few years ago.

Now, as part of their EcoIslam initiative IFEES is asking Mosques to find alternatives to plastic during Iftar. Iftar is the breaking of the daily fast and often takes place communally in the Mosque.

Here is their information:

As part of our campaign to encourage mosques to set a positive example around Islamic environmental stewardship for their communities, IFEES/EcoIslam are advocating a more sustainable approach to the communal iftar working toward reducing the environmental impact of such events.

World Environment Day #WorldEnvironmentDay falls this year on 20th of Ramadan and has the theme of “Beat Plastic Pollution” and so IFEES/EcoIslam is encouraging mosques to hold  a Plastic Free Iftar #PlasticFreeIftar on that day.

We have put up some recourse etc to help Mosques and other organisation to hold a #PlasticFreeIftar or Eco Iftar . You can find these HERE

 

So, here is a challenge for churches. Can you reduce your use of plastic in your communal catering?

Church of Scotland votes against disinvestment from fossil fuel companies.

At the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland today commissioners voted overwhelmingly against disinvesting from fossil fuel companies while continuing to engage with them to get their activities aligned with the requirements of the Paris Climate Change Agreement.

The original deliverance from the Church and Society Council, which proposed a two year period of engagement followed by disinvestment if no progress has been made, received 128 votes.

A counter motion in the name of Rev Jenny Adams calling for immediate disinvestment received 135 votes.

A second counter motion in the name of former moderator Rev Albert Bogle received 300 votes and was carried. It reads:

Instruct the [Church and Society] Council to engage with the oil and gas companies to continue to seek alignment with the Paris Climate Agreement rather than divest from the oil and gas industry.

 

You can view a video of the debate (in two parts) here, during which a number of Eco-Congregation Scotland activists spoke:

Part One – 43 minutes

Part Two – 43 Minutes