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Eco Church – Eco Handbook Blog by Katharine Chambers

Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”’ (Genesis 1:26)

This familiar verse reminds us of the wonders of God’s creation. Throughout the Bible, it also made clear that God created humankind to take care of this creation; we are its stewards. The Bible also refers to the responsibility of managing resources wisely and using them to better God’s kingdom. God created all things and, in that sense, anything we have, whether it be wealth, health, time, or something else, is a gift from God. God wants us to use these gifts wisely, including our precious planet.

Looking after the precious gift of God’s Earth is not something that, as humans, we have ever found easy and whilst there are countless examples of us not taking due care of God’s creation in the Bible:

“I brought you into a fertile land to eat its fruit and rich produce. But you came and defiled my land and made my inheritance detestable.” (Jeremiah 2:7)

In today’s world, this is no different with a seemingly endless stream from the Media on the Climate Crisis, and attention-grabbing headlines sometimes it can feel as if the human race has left it too late for action. Only this year we have seen once in a generation weather climate event, including destructive rains in China and devastating wildfires across every continent. Is this evidence that that the situation is dire and that it is already too late to save our precious planet?

So why is all this of particular importance to the community here at Christchurch, Epsom Common? We are privileged in our unique setting on the edge of a designated SSSI. If there is a rising sense of helplessness around environmental issues, is it not our duty and indeed our calling from God to set an example as a responsible and caring community to show that there is still Hope and we each and every one of us can make a difference.

It is within this context as Creationtide is upon us, that we are launching our Eco handbook.

Under David Fox-Branch’s leadership, we qualified for the Bronze Eco Church award, and now that he has moved on to his new parish, perhaps the most important part of the legacy that he leave us with is his ministry around caring for the environment on a deeper, more spiritual level. He put together with help from some members of the Eco team, this very comprehensive “handbook” which is designed to be a reference guide with hints and tips on how we can make small changes both in the life and practices of the church and our personal lives at homes. Its aim is not to make you feel guilty that you “aren’t doing enough” but should be a reassuring support that what you do does matter and should act as a reminder that we can all make a difference. The handbook does help to demonstrate that some of the decisions and challenges both now and in the years to come can be more complex than they may seem at first.; particularly in these financially difficult times when the short term “cheaper” option might instinctively appear more attractive, we may be required to place our trust in God that the “right” thing to do is to think in terms of longer term investment, keeping an eye on our future vision and the overall need to care for God’s creation.

It may sound like a cliché but small improvements from all of us CAN and WILL make a difference. God’s earth is ours for safekeeping, not to take more than our fair share and if we as Christians are not going to live by this, then who will? This is where our Hope must lie.

Katharine Chambers

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