Eco-Church and Gluten-free Communion

Andrew Biggs

“Warning of 'ecological Armageddon' after dramatic plunge in insect numbers” was one of the headlines in the Guardian today email that I am subscribed to. It told of a study just published which has shown that the number of flying insects has declined by 75% over the last 25 years . “Insects make up about two-thirds of all life on Earth [but] there has been some kind of horrific decline,” said Prof Dave Goulson of Sussex University, UK, and part of the team behind the new study. “We appear to be making vast tracts of land inhospitable to most forms of life, and are currently on course for ecological Armageddon. If we lose the insects then everything is going to collapse.”

This is just one of a number of reports in recent years that has indicated the damage that is being done to the planet and its wildlife that could have very serious consequences for the future of human life. The exact causes are not yet fully understood but there is no doubt that human action has a large part to play.

As Christian’s we believe that creation belongs to God and that he has given it to us to be stewards of it (eg see Genesis 1 and Leviticus 25:23-24). We therefore have a responsibility to treat it with respect and not to exploit it for short term gain at the expense of its availability to support future generations.

One way in which we can contribute to caring for the environment is to sign up to the Eco Church scheme and to work towards being an eco-church. The Circuit Assembly recent supported a proposal put forward by the Public Issues and Social Responsibility Team, that encourages all churches in the Circuit to do this and to “make appropriate changes to their life together to become eligible to receive the eco-church awards…”. At the recent Church Council meeting it was agreed that Hucclecote Methodist Church should do this and a group convened by Peter Shaw has already met to move this forward.

The eco-church scheme is run by A Rocha UK and you can find out more about it at ecochurch.arocha.org.uk . Caring for the environment is about how we live our lives and goes beyond using eco friendly products and making sure we have double glazing, so it will be a challenge that involves every member of the congregation looking at their own lifestyles as well as making changes to the way that we operate in church.

No doubt there will be future communications from the eco-church team that will indicate ways in which we can be involved and I hope that you will support this initiative will full enthusiasm and participation. The world is at stake!

Gluten Free Holy Communion

Another decision made at the recent church council meeting was that in future only Gluten Free bread will be used at services of Holy Communion. This came about because it came to our attention that there may be more people than we know who are unable to take a full part in Holy Communion because of either a gluten intolerance or, more seriously, coeliac disease. Suffers are not only unable to eat any bread containing gluten but also to come into contact with it in any way at all. The issues are discussed by Revd Jayne Webb, minister in the Tewkesbury section of our Circuit, in her online blog which you can read here: https://revjayne.com/2017/09/06/the-gluten-free-dilemma/ .

We obviously want to make our church and our services of Holy communion accessible to as many people as possible and so it was felt appropriate that we make this change.

As a sign that we are heading into the time of year of dark nights and short days - the chimney sweep comes tomorrow to sweep the chimney clean ready for the fires of winter! Its been mild so far but colder days are coming, so wrap up warm and stay safe!

Blessings

Andrew

Nothing can separate us from the love of God. Romans 8:39