Eco-Congregation Scotland is taking a baton to Paris, to express the demands of churches in Scotland that negotiators agree to a deal that promotes global climate justice. The baton, which will pass around churches in Scotland throughout the summer of 2015, will carry the hopes and aspirations of Christians across Scotland for climate justice to be central to any agreement reached at the conference.
What is happening ?
- Greyfriars Recycling of Wood have made a baton for Eco-congregation Scotland from recycled church furniture.
- The baton bears the message Time for Climate Justice: Churches in Scotland Demand a Deal in Paris, December 2015.
- The relay was launched by Aileen McLeod MSP, Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform at our Annual Gathering on 25th of April:
- In December 2015 the baton will be taken to the UN climate change conference in Paris to share our message with other churches and delegates.
See where the baton is going
You can have a look at this map and calendar of where the baton is going to get an idea of when it will be in your area. There are two batons in order to cover as much as Scotland as possible (which is why it will appear that it is in two places at once on many dates!). Green markers indicate where the baton has travelled so far; red markers indicate where it will be going.
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If you are a local church congregation you can book the baton to visit your church when it is passing through your area. As the route is dependent on who signs up please contact us as soon as possible to get your name on the list. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org (or use our contact form here) stating the name of your congregation, its location, plus your name and phone number. We will get in touch to arrange a date.
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We ask that all congregations receiving the baton do the following:
- Fill out one of the postcards and post it to us so we can collect them together and give to the Climate Change minister to show where the baton has been.
- Contact the local press (newspaper or maybe local radio).
- Put an article in your own church magazine.
- Contact other local congregations (of all denominations) and ask them to take part.
When you receive the baton there will be a pack containing printed information. If any of this is missing you can download a copy here:
- Information sheet for congregations explaining what the baton relay is all about.
- Leaflets to give to the general public or congregation members.
- Postcards (front | back) to send to the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Minister to tell her where the baton is .
- Advice for contacting the local media.
- Press release (Word format | PDF).
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If you see the baton, tell us where it is, hashtag: #cop21baton
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To view the livestream of this event please go to the Maxwell Means Castle Parish Church website and follow the link to their YouTube channel. It will be streamed from 7.30pm on the 22nd of September 2021.Continue reading →
Creation Time/Season of Creation is well under way: we’re hearing reports of congregations using the material, including the major video reflections in sermon-slots, in Scotland and further afield.
It’s very difficult to measure the impact, so any messages about what people are doing, and indeed any requests for help – such as supplying an MP4 file of a video from YouTube – are most welcome. Then we know that one of the ‘hits’ one the site represents contact with a whole congregation.
We’re also still reflecting on material that has been posted, and in some cases adjusting it when we notice what could be better: it’s that exciting!
But I’m also, in the process, becoming aware of the challenge still posed by the church cultures we’re working with, in terms of evolving an environmentally aware approach to scripture and tradition. Two years ago, I put a search thread on ‘climate’ into the Bible Society’s website, and it returned “no results”. I did so again today, with the same outcome.
How many churches view environment as an “issue” rather than the overall context in which we do all our theology, and in which we offer all our praise?
Online conversations with colleagues make it clear that small nuances – such as the presentation of Genesis 218ff in the NIV, which dares to depart from a consensus which otherwise permitted the idea that all other life was created from scratch for the benefit of ‘Adam’ – may not stand out as significant if you’re not constantly interrogating scripture with a green tooth-comb. Or you might dismiss the NIV approach as an aberration designed to force the two, parallel, Creation stories into a consecutive ‘historical’ narrative. Fair enough. For me, it is sufficient that we emerge with greater respect for fellow creatures if we’re not forced to see their creation as serving a human purpose. The variety of translations now easily accessible online allows discernment beyond the Babylonian captivity of the ‘pew bible’.
Relatively few in the churches acknowledge, as a matter of course, that we all approach our relationship with the Bible with layers of slant and prejudice. That’s not a criticism, but a liberating awareness. Just as, with planting trees, the right tree in the right place makes a huge difference, and even the right mode of sustainable power in the right place, there’s another question.
And I’m delighted today to see the joint statement from Pope Francis, Archishop Justin Welby and Patriarch Bartholemew, presenting the Earth as someone who can cry out, rather than an inert object. https://climatenewsnetwork.net/earths-future-hinges-on-un-glasgow-climate-talks/ . The more, the merrier! It makes the job of a humble environmental chaplain that much easier!
What is the right sort of slant for here and now? And it does set us free from the dominating aspiration to definitiveness of the white, western and largely male and anthropocentric presentation of the church which held sway for several generations, sometimes reinforced by theological rank being pulled. The critique of anthropocentricism by no less than the Pope, in Laudato Si, has been a gift to all the churches. I bless every bishop, lecturer, district chair, or moderator who stands up to be counted in this awareness.
Being part of a meeting shaping a denominational environmental policy last month was quite encouraging: leaving behind the deceptively comfortable language of “stewardship” – which presents creation as property to be guarded, rather than life with which to partner – and taking care to avoid calling a living Creation “it”.
But even more, it’s clear we need to work towards a new relationship between scholars and preachers (yes, they often are the same person, bu stick with it!). At least in my own tradition, the work done in forensically investigating the possible meanings and the ‘Sitz im Leben’ – the context in which a text, or object, has been created, and its function and purpose at that time, is highly respected, and is the foundation for creative and inspired interpretation. This indispensable work gives us the word from which we wrestle the Word, though even the best translation is a very long way from, and no substitute for, an inspired and creative response to the question of what the Spirit is saying the the churches today.Continue reading →
.Formal Prayers for all 5 weeks: Rev Andy Braunston
GreenStarters for all 5 weeks: Rev David Coleman
Isaiah 35: in Lego: from the Dobson Family, Dunscore
Poem on Isaiah 35: Dr Rosemary Power
The ‘Judge with evil thoughts – video sketch based on James 2, Rev David Coleman
James 2: All-age resource: Valerie Cameron
Imaginative prayer on James 2 Miriam McHardy
James 2: 14-17: Faith and Works: Marian Pallister
Notes on Mark 7:24-37, Richard Murray
Reflection : ‘The Earth, including us’ Video and text
Gospel reading: by Jo Clifford
Location reading of Psalms
Psalm 146Continue reading →
Video and text: Prayer for COP
Green starters for every lectionary reading
Prayers for all 5 weeks. Rev Andy Braunston
Statement of Faith: with room for Creation Rev David Coleman
( first use Iona Abbey Palm Sunday 2019)
Creationtide Prayer from Rev Maxwell Reay
From St Columbans Missionary Society
Fall in love with a flower: Mike Mineter
Tree prayer: text and video: Barry Watson, Castlemilk Parish
Climate crisis is like a cigarette: Urzula Glienecke
Energy Prayer Text and videoContinue reading →
We conclude the season with our responses to some extremely thought-provoking readings, so video versions are provided, (see below) to help examine the nuances and possible ways of reading familiar passages which are often presented with a strong steer on a particular agenda. Viewing of the presentation of the Genesis 2 and Mark 10 are recommended.
Formal prayers from Rev Andy Braunston
Text and video ” The gift of the Name’ Rev David Coleman. Note: it’s particularly important to have read the scripture (Genesis2:18-22 and Mark 10:13-16 before viewing. A video reading of Mark is provided below.
The Gospel reading that goes with the reflection.
A pastoral, environmental presentation of Genesis 2:18-22Continue reading →