This is the latest news from our Central Borders network.
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Eco-Congregation Scotland is always keen to hear from local churches and today our team shares great examples of activities and events. Congregations across our movement continue their work through the pandemic, respecting restrictions while responding to local need and addressing environmental concerns.
We are also pleased to share key events this week organised by partners and coalitions. On St Andrew’s Day, as we celebrate Scotland’s patron who spread the Good News far and wide, we thank all who have attended and participated in a wide variety of recent activities and online meetings, here and globally. This has been crucial as we welcome the world to the COP26 Glasgow climate talks next November. Eco-Congregation Scotland and churches throughout the country have been represented well by so many of our volunteers. We value your involvement, interest and insight.
We also love to share stories from local eco-congregations, to celebrate your wide-ranging work and encourage us all in caring for God’s creation. We were delighted to hear that our 500th eco-congregation Faifley Parish Church is holding a regular Recycle Room every Friday with free clothes bundles, DVDs, books, baby equipment, cushions and bedding thanks to dedicated volunteers and large numbers of donations. Ellis’ facemasks and Elsie’s chutney, pictured below, have been popular and successful fundraisers too!
We look forward to celebrating registration 500 with Faifley Parish when COVID-19 local protection levels allow. A special welcome and thank you to all subsequent new registrations in recent months, taking us to 508 eco-congregations:
- Campsie Parish Church
- Kilbarchan Parish Church of Scotland
- St Ninian’s Catholic Church, Dundee
- Blackford Parish Church, Perthshire
- Liberton Northfield Parish Church, Edinburgh
- St James-the-Less Episcopal Church, Penicuik
- St Mary’s Episcopal Church, Grangemouth
- St Mungo’s Episcopal Church, West Linton
If your church is concerned about the environment and wants to get involved, please join our movement today. It’s free to register.
We also encourage membership for your church, to become more active in the charity and support our Local Networks. Membership is again free for smaller churches and up to £100 per year for congregations with the highest incomes, that’s only £8 per month or less than £2 per week.
All membership fees go directly to support Local Network activities through our Programme Coordinator work. It’s easy to join online or print a form and post to us. Please also consider making a one-off or regular donation to support our work as an individual too.
Inspired by our A Sanctuary for Swifts event two weeks ago – which you can watch again online – Central Borders Local Network coordinator Ian Skinner informs us Holy Trinity Melrose is installing a nesting box for swifts on the Trinity Centre. Specially designed for swifts, the box will be placed near the top of the north facing gable with a clear outlook towards Gattonside Hill on the far side of the Tweed. Another two boxes designed for house martins are being placed on the Centre’s east side. Ian adds: “We are looking forward to welcoming new visitors in the spring of 2021!”
A Just Transition for Scotland’s Housing is also available to watch online, our major open event with the Just Transition Commission and the Methodist Church in Scotland hosted by Stirling Methodist Church. Commissioners positively engaged with the well-attended event and points made throughout were recognised in their ongoing work, emphasising the importance of housing for Scotland to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2045.
Well done and thank you all Kinross Parish Church Eco-Congregation group volunteers who picked up a “terrifying” amount of litter pictured above last Saturday in the space of about an hour. We also congratulate St Mary’s Eco-Congregation TOA (Take One Action) Local group in Dalkeith, holding another successful film evening to watch and discuss “Catching the Sun“, exploring workers and business leaders racing to lead the clean energy future.
These are just some of the diverse environmental activities and interesting events across individual congregations and our Local Networks. Thank you again for your continuing support and that of every church volunteer and all our supporters. It is always appreciated, even more so this challening year. Happy St Andrew’s Day!
An appropriately scary start to the Christian season most concerned with what is to come. Many thanks Scottish writer, academic and activist Alastair McIntosh on the first Sunday of Advent followed by Rev Julia Meason today, minister of Kirkwall East linked with Shapinsay, and to all opening our alternative Advent Calendar.
The Judge to Cheer the Forest is our ecumenical and varied video Advent Calendar online, offering a 1-2 minute reading and reflection until Christmas Eve. Please view and share the items daily at Eco-Chaplain online and Eco-Congregation Scotland, on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube every day of Advent.
Financing Climate Justice
Monday 30th November 2020, 12.00noon
Rich nations like ours have a duty to deliver a fair share of support for poorer countries on the front line of the climate crisis. Tune in to this Climate Fringe event to find out more.
Let’s talk about the climate emergency – Our Global Connections
Monday 30th November 2020, 7.30pm
How we live impacts on climate change and the lives of others. Join us to talk, pray and reflect on Our Global Connections, the November theme in our “Let’s talk about the climate emergency” resources.
Restraining Climate Change: What is the Role of Faith Communities?
Tuesday 1st December 2020, 7.30pm
Climate emergency, coronavirus and Brexit. How can we as faith communities work with others to build a just and green future? These are moments of great opportunity but also significant challenge. Hosted by St Columba’s-by-the-Castle Episcopal Church in Edinburgh, join the discussion with:
- Dr Murdo Macdonald – Policy Officer of the Church of Scotland Society, Religion and Technology (SRT) project, marking its 50th anniversary
- Rev’d Prof David Aktinson – retired Professor of Agriculture and priest in the Diocese of Aberdeen and Orkney
- Justin Kenrick – Quaker anthropologist, Extinction Rebellion and community land rights activist
- Rev’d Dr Gillian Straine – Anglican priest and Director of the Guild of Health and St Raphael.
Glasgow City Region Climate Adaptation StrategyContinue reading →
Wednesday 2nd December 2020, 2.00pm East and West Dunbartonshire
Thursday 3rd December 2020, 7.00pm Young persons event
Climate Ready Clyde is consulting until Christmas Eve on the draft Glasgow City Region Adaptation Strategy, seeking to ensure the region’s society, environment and economy are prepared and can flourish in the future climate.
Selkirk Parish Church have been awarded the Eco-Congregation Scotland Gold Award
Selkirk Parish Church has just achieved the highest Award as an Eco-Congregation, only the sixth in Scotland to receive a Gold Award, and the first to experience a virtual assessment via Zoom.
The congregation was delighted to learn that all the criteria under the headings of Spiritual, Practical and Global Living were met or exceeded. They were particularly commended for the use of the pop-up shop as a monthly Recycling Clinic and drop off point – so thanks to those in the community for collecting and bringing those hard-to-recycle items to the pop-up shop (eg crisp packets, bottle tops, old watches, jewellery and mobiles). The Church eco group ensures these items are recycled in an environmentally responsible way, benefitting a number of charities.
These practical actions demonstrate the congregation’s conviction that caring for the environment is an essential outworking of their Christian faith. The Gold Award criteria also require the congregation to take action on a wide range of other environmental issues including biodiversity and climate change.
The congregation hopes to celebrate this achievement when the current restrictions allow. Please follow the Selkirk Parish Church Facebook page for the latest news and events:Continue reading →
“The Gold Award challenges us all to maintain and build on the achievement!”
The next EcoCongregation Central Borders Network meeting will be on Thursday 13th September commencing at 7.30 pm. Kindly hosted by Hawick Baptist Church the venue will be The Well, Bourtree Terrace, TD9 9HN; it’s suggested that we park by Morrisons and walk up.
- Welcome, introductions and apologies
- New Members
- Greener Borders Winter Talks 2018/19
- Reports from Congregations
- EcoCongregation news
- “Ethical Finance and the Disinvestment Movement” – discussion led by David Bethune
- Date/venue for next meeting
A group of 7 of us associated with Selkirk Parish Church arranged to meet with our MSP, Rachael Hamilton, at one of her surgeries last week. We explained why we were concerned about climate change, and urged her to press for an even stronger Climate Bill. She listened to what we had to say, and commented than “no constituent had ever raised the issue of climate change” with her before. After half an hour of discussions with her, we left her (and her MP colleague, John Lamont) to ponder what we had said.
Some of us hope to continue the conversation with her at the Mass Lobby on 19th September. We encourage you to do the same. You can sign up at https://www.christianaid.org.uk/events/mass-climate-lobby.Continue reading →
Following the vote at the Church of Scotland General Assembly to continue with the policy of “engagement” with oil and gas companies, despite 2 years of this policy having little or no effect, Selkirk Parish Church, as an eco-congregation, has decided to withdraw its funds from the Church of Scotland Growth Fund (which currently invests in Shell, BP and Total).
In a letter to the Church of Scotland’s Investors Trust, the Kirk Session and Congregational Board states, “As an eco-congregation, we do not believe it is ethically acceptable to invest in, and gain profit from, companies whose main aim is to continue to explore for, and to extract, fossil fuels. We believe that the Church of Scotland should be leading the way for others, and should fully divest now from all companies involved in fossil fuel exploration and extraction; this would give a stronger signal to these companies than any engagement is ever likely to do.
Within Selkirk Parish Church, we are committed to caring for God’s creation. We can no longer wait for the Church or Scotland to act in this matter, so we are taking our own small steps to make ourselves “fossil free”. Withdrawing our funds is one step in this journey that we are able to make now, and therefore we are doing so. We hope that other congregations may follow our example.”
The congregation may instead invest the cash released in an ethical fund, or use it towards employing a Children and Families Worker. As their letter concludes, “we consider this to be a much better way to invest for growth in God’s Kingdom.”Continue reading →