In 2017 we have:
- Preached on God's creation
Rev John Cook's series on the Psalms from 22 January to 28 February 2017 includes several sermons on creation care, for example Psalm 8 on 22 January. The sermons linked to our Life Explored course, our Lent Series "Reflections on Creation" in March 2017, and John's Harvest Festival sermon on creation care on 27 September 2015.
- Run a Lent series on creation care in March, with guest speakers. You can follow the entire series online below.
- Visited other churches to learn how to make our churchyard and cemetery more wildlife friendly
- In April 2017, produced a report on our church land, written by local wildlife advisor Mike Turton: wargrave churchyard report Apr2017.pdf
- Organised local rambles (ongoing)
- Continued to proclaim the preciousness of God's creation in preaching, teaching and song
- Reviewed our energy suppliers (ongoing)
Our journey began on 10 June 2010, when Sir John Houghton (pictured) spoke at our church on 'Climate Change & Global Warming - the Science & the Christian Response'. You may download the slides here (pdf) and listen to the talk here. It triggered several initiatives in our parish:
(1) A free audit by Solar Co-Op on 19 February 2011 of the energy and building materials we were using at St Mary's, St Peter's and the vicarage. A further audit of St Mary's by Carillion is copyright and available from Mike on request. The forthcoming extension at St Mary's has taken the reports into account.
(2) Infra-red photographs of church buildings and residential homes highlighted where we could improve insulation and reduce energy bills. We are grateful to Wargrave resident Ian Bradley for taking the pictures on dark, snowy evenings free of charge for the church, and at a minimal charge for private homes, in November 2010.
(3) Solar panels on several homes, aided by the infra-red photographs and government grants. They could not be implemented at St Mary's because of the position of trees, and by-laws which insist that panels may not be visible from the ground on listed buildings in rural parishes. Further information on this topic is available in the English Heritage Guidance on Solar Panels on Churches (pdf) May 2011, and the Church of England Guidance on Solar Panels (pdf) 2010.
(4) Better recycling in our churches, for example the replacement of non-recyclable polystyrene cups.
(5) A new audio-visual system in St Mary's, making paper less necessary at services and meetings.
(6) In the wider community, the launch of the Wargrave Transition Group. Projects have included a communal orchard on King's Acre, an biennial Apple Day, shared allotments and, with the assistance of Wokingham Borough Council and Mike Turton, nature reserves at the Chalk Pit and Mumbery Hill. One man who had grown up in Wargrave and played in the Chalk Pit as a boy was thrilled to see a deer and orchids there when he returned in 2015. Volunteers are asked to email or phone her on 0118 940 3381.
Recommended reading: A Christian Guide to Environment Issues, by Martin & Margot Hodson, two of our speakers for Lent this year; and Planetwise, by Dave Bookless, free copies of which were given out by our Vicar Rev John Cook in September 2015.
If you would like to help us in caring for our environment, please contact .
A Rocha Christian nature conservation organisation, stewards of the Eco Church award
Caring for God's Acre Advice on churchyards and burial grounds
Christian Ecology Link Portal for UK environmental issues
Greater Reading Environmental Network Local chat forum
Green Christian Network of "ordinary Christians in extraordinary times"
Operation Noah Informing churches on climate change issues in the UK
In and Around the Home
Ecotopia Environmentally friendly shopping
True Food Co-Op Ethically sourced groceries in our area
Recycle Now What you can recycle where