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 email@example.com (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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The online visiting preacher
In the video material I’m preparing from day to day, (which you can find in different versions on my own Facebook page, on EcoChaplain online (find on Facebook) on my YouTube channel , and elsewhere,) it may will seem as if I’m not talking anywhere near as much or explicitly about the virus as some of my colleagues and local churches which have ventured into this, for them, largely uncharted territory. Part of this is that by virtue of the ways we are now investigating of being church, we are hugely acknowledging the context which this most acute emergency has created. And the overall environmental emergency, of which this should be seen as part, continues.
I’m putting the time and energy which I would have devoted to church visits into what I hope are distinctively different, and thoughtful online offerings: at present, Palm Sunday , Maundy Thursday and Good Friday have something available, and I’m considering what I might offer for Easter Sunday Please do incorporate and share these fully, if you find it useful: NB there are no known copyright issues whatsoever as I use mostly completely original material, plus public domain, and occasionally things purchased under licence.
What would be rather wonderful in this medium term would be to be able to work with local churches who have taken the plunge into the online world.
Technically: the ideal is to combine the feel of ‘live’ with the reliability of pre-recorded, and experience shows how very unreliable completely live things tend to be without fully professional communications; nonetheless, the adventure is in collaboration.
A friend pointed out that during this time, I can reach more of the 500 churches that make up our EcoCongregation family than otherwise might be the case. That is a daunting, challenging privilege. We have small personal and technical resources, but telecommunications do make things shareable, and I will do my best to make anything I produce to be worth making and worth viewing, though with the expectation that it will be used and received with the same grace which I hope you might accord the sermon/homily provided by your own local priest or minister as they struggle towards successive Sundays.
And having said all that: support and pray for your own local congregations first and foremost, to sustain our fellowship through this strange strange time, hand in hand with Christ.Continue reading →
Saturday 28th March 2020, 8.30pm-9.30pm
In challenging times for everyone across Scotland during the coronavirus situation, it’s even more important to encourage activities that we can all take part in while we “stay at home”.
Learn more about Earth Hour and find out how to take part here, with great ideas and tips.
Below is a short meditation written by Rev Elizabeth Houston, retired former minister at Alexandria Parish Church, to use when you switch off lights for the planet. Alexandria recently became our latest Eco-Congregation Gold Award winners, following their union with Jamestown to become Lomond Parish Church.
O Lord, our Lord, Your greatness is seen in all the world!
Your praise reaches up to the heavens; it is sung by children and babies.
You are safe and secure from all Your enemies; You stop anyone who opposes You.
When I look at the sky which You have made, and the moon and the stars which You set in their places – what is man that You think of him; mere man that You care for him?
You made him inferior only to Yourself; You crowned him with glory and honour.
You appointed him ruler over everything You made; You placed him over all creation: sheep and cattle and the wild animals too; the birds and the fish and the creatures in the seas.
O Lord, our Lord, Your greatness is seen in all the world!
Almighty God, all-powerful and everlasting, we come before You in awe and yet with fear; for You have trusted us to care for this world which You have made, this world which You saw was good; You laid upon us, the responsibility for all the creatures of the earth, including our brothers and sisters across the globe – and, to our shame, we have allowed self-interest and greed to rule our hearts and threaten all creation.
Father God, forgive us.
Lord God, as we all feel the effects of this ‘coronavirus’, remind us of our responsibility to each other, to all the creatures in this world and, most of all, to You. Lift us from the darkness and remind us that The Light of the World will shine on through any darkness that humanity can devise and lead us, in Your mercy through this time of challenge for the whole earth and back into the safety and security of Your Light.
Father God, uphold us.
Remind us, Lord God, that our Lord Christ promised His disciples that He would be with His people, ‘until the end of the age’ and fill us with the spirit of peace and humility, inspire our prayers for one another and for all creation and as we walk again into the Light, Your Light, make us wiser and more responsible for the whole world’s sake and in Jesus’ Name.
Lord, hear us, help us and heal us, for Your love’s sake.
READ JOB chapter 38 and consider the theme for this year’s Earth Hour:
eliminating the use of single-use plastics; preserving biodiversity; the need for immediate climate action.
THINK on how you can help to make things better and live up to God’s challenge of caring for creation.
PRAY for the people you love and for this earth.
PLANT seeds to grow salads and flowers to colour your life.
LISTEN to the birdsong as nature gets on with doing what God made it to do.
PLACE a candle in your window (don’t leave it unattended) and help scatter the darkness.
Book of Job chapter 8
8 Then Bildad the Shuhite replied:
2 “How long will you say such things? Your words are a blustering wind.
3 Does God pervert justice? Does the Almighty pervert what is right?
4 When your children sinned against him, he gave them over to the penalty of their sin.
5 But if you will seek God earnestly and plead with the Almighty,
6 if you are pure and upright, even now he will rouse himself on your behalf and restore you to your prosperous state.
7 Your beginnings will seem humble, so prosperous will your future be. 8 “Ask the former generation and find out what their ancestors learned,
9 for we were born only yesterday and know nothing, and our days on earth are but a shadow.
10 Will they not instruct you and tell you? Will they not bring forth words from their understanding?
11 Can papyrus grow tall where there is no marsh? Can reeds thrive without water?
12 While still growing and uncut, they wither more quickly than grass.
13 Such is the destiny of all who forget God; so perishes the hope of the godless.
14 What they trust in is fragile; what they rely on is a spider’s web.
15 They lean on the web, but it gives way; they cling to it, but it does not hold.
16 They are like a well-watered plant in the sunshine, spreading its shoots over the garden;
17 it entwines its roots around a pile of rocks and looks for a place among the stones.
18 But when it is torn from its spot, that place disowns it and says, ‘I never saw you.’
19 Surely its life withers away, and from the soil other plants grow. 20 “Surely God does not reject one who is blameless or strengthen the hands of evildoers.
21 He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.
22 Your enemies will be clothed in shame, and the tents of the wicked will be no more.”
New International Version (NIV)
In the beginning – GOD; in the darkness – GOD; in Gethsemane – GOD; through the living – GOD; in our weakness – GOD; through our hopelessness – GOD; at the endings – GOD.Continue reading →
‘Till the dawn breaks’ – GOD.
Glory be to the Father, to the Son and the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, worlds without end.
Who would have thought it? After spending a year and a half developing a devotional approach to faith in the ‘end-times’ , we have something which is both a dry-run and a brutal wake-up for the abruptness of change and the non-resilience of everyday life.
As someone in their late fifties, with asthma, and since my mother lives on her own, 300 miles away I’m aware of being a step closer to uncomfortable thresholds.
When I drove away from my mother’s house after a long-timetabled visit last week, I had to pull up and let the tears pass that ambushed me after waving goodbye. Every time could be the last time. That’s always the case But we’re just a step closer. As for myself, I’ve had a wonderful and fulfilling life: but my children are not remotely ‘settled’ yet. They need me to stay alive for now.
As I’ve described myself, in terms of my carbon footprint, as someone ‘of unclean lips amongst a people of unclean lips’ (cf Isaiah 6 ) so too, today I am someone nervous and confused amongst a people beset with nervousness and confusion.
The Manse is becoming a bunker and a film studio as I invest energy in replacing face to face visits with an online presence which I hope can be no less provocative.
In a very short time, we are looking at how to be more interactive too.
As the measures to respond to the virus take hold, perhaps with much more effect than the virus itself (- what will be the impact on those dependent on food-banks, on refugees; how many people will come to the end of their lives alone because community had been put on hold?) – amongst the most worrying development is the way that religious observance and community can be shelved and shuffled off as non-essential. And accepts this with its tail between its legs.
Poke your nose into the scrum of a supermarket, even at 8am, and you’ll see every reason for spiritual guidance and reassurance: having begun last year to order ‘ethical’ toilet rolls online, (and taken an order the week before last) I’m expecting the burglars to leave the electric bikes next time they break in, and make off with the more attractive contraband!
We also seem to be observing what used to be caricatured as the masculinity of society: the complete inability to multi-task. We can do the virus, but only if we forget the climate. But the bigger, if deceptively less acutely present emergency of the climate and environment has not gone away. Not that it has ever been taken with the seriousness of this real, but – yes, almost manageable – crisis. Suddenly no one bothers about plastic any more.
Yes, really, this is a practice run, or perhaps ‘work experience’ and hopefully with a bit of breathing space the far side in a few months, though there will be loads to learn each day, especially about responsiveness.
In terms of theological insights: one which was very dear to my late wife is this: God never restores. (cf the final chapter of Job). There may be good times ahead, though we will never ‘go back’ to how things have been. So:
Live each day as if it were your last.
Why? firstly, because it might be – and actually, when has that not been the case?
But secondly, get used to that idea, and that each beautiful experience that we yet receive is to be savoured and honoured with gratitude.
Joy in each day, prayer in whatever mode.
As I noted recently: the worst and most misleading thing in the conversation of the snake and the first people in the Garden of Eden was the comment “you will not die”.
Without that realisation, of our mortality, we won’t get round to living either.
Love yourself as your neighbour, your neighbour as yourself, and the Earth, because we’re part of it!
.Continue reading →
What is it?
The ‘twenty sixth conference of the parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’ (or CoP26 for short) will meet at the SEC in Glasgow from 9-19 November 2020.
Governments from around the world will be discussing action on climate change. The first CoP was in Berlin in 1995 since which time there has been painstaking progress towards international agreement. Getting every country in the world to sign up to life changing commitments is not easy but in Paris in 2015 (CoP21) there was an agreement to set a goal of limiting global warming to well below 2 °Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels and if possible to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C.
Why is this important?
As global temperatures rise so do the risks, with increasingly severe impacts, especially in tropical countries. Small island states and low lying countries are particularly at risk of sea level rise and have campaigned to limit temperature rises to 1.5 °C, a limit that without radical action will very likely be broken before mid-century.
The conference was originally intended to be in Brazil but President Bolsanaro withdrew his support and in late 2019 the UK Government offered to step in. Glasgow is one of the few venues in the UK with a large enough conference facility, the SEC, to host such an event.
Who is involved?
Representatives from all countries will be joined by campaigners, lobbyists, businesses, scientists, NGOs and the world’s media. One gap may be the USA as President Trump has committed to taking the USA out of the Paris climate agreement. Churches will be well represented by the World Council of Churches, and development agencies like Christian Aid, SCIAF and Oxfam will all have a presence. The total number of participants could be 30,000 – In a city with only 8,000 hotel bed spaces.
What is up for decision?
The Paris agreement (2015) set out a mechanism to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Each country has to prepare a plan (called its nationally determined contribution or NDC) to set out how it will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. NDCs have to be revised and strengthened every five years and the Glasgow CoP is five years on from Paris. Unless the commitments in the current NDCs are strengthened and put into effect urgently there is no hope of limiting global warming to 2 °C.
How can we get involved?
While the diplomatic negotiations take place behind closed doors there are opportunities for churches and members of congregations to get involved, whether in Glasgow or elsewhere in Scotland. We suggest you think about three sorts of activities: worship, action and advocacy.
- Hold a service on Climate Sunday: Sunday 6 September.
- Join the Christian Aid CoP26 Prayer Chain: https://www.christianaid.org.uk/pray/prayer-chain
- Creation time 2020 runs from 1 September to 4 October . Worship resources will be posted on the ECS website soon: https://www.ecocongregationscotland.org/creation-time/
- Learn more about the CoP and climate change. The BBC provides reliable up to date information. For example: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-51134254
- Ring out a bell of warning. Can you hold a hand bell event in your church to warn of the dangers of climate change?
- Plant a tree in Scotland or a forest around the world: https://treesforlife.org.uk/groves/g8658/
- Attend an Eco-Congregation Scotland event (www.ecocongregationscotland.org)
- Calculate your Carbon Footprint https://www.ecocongregationscotland.org/news/eco-congregation-scotland-carbon-calculator/
- Tell your MP/MSP find out more at SCPO https://www.scpo.scot/meet-your-msp/
- Get involved in campaigning for the CoP https://www.stopclimatechaos.scot/
- Join the CoP26 Climate march in Glasgow 14 November 2020
Details of events and activities are just emerging. Keep in touch at www.climatefringe.org
Download this page as a PDF:Continue reading →
Eco-Congregation Scotland Stirling network are looking forward to their meeting on
Wednesday 25th of March from 2-4pm(New date to be confirmed) when the topic is “All about Food.” Stuart Guzinski of Forth Environment Link will be talking about the work that they do involving food and growing. FEL has run Stirling NeighbourFood an online farmers market for ethical, local and seasonal produce which they have recently handed over management of to The Kitchen at 44 King Street, a soon-to-open community kitchen, food event space and cookery school. Sara Macmillan from this social enterprise will also be joining us to share her exciting plans for more community food activity in Stirling with the network.
All are welcome to attend this event. To assist with catering, if you would like to come along please let us know by filling in the contact form on the events page of this website.Continue reading →