What is a Fair Tax Town?

Crickhowell hit the news recently when the traders of the town looked into the practicalities of “Going offshore”.  Big companies such as Google, Starbucks and indeed nearly all companies in the 100 footsie pay very little tax. The UK may be loosing £20bn or much more a year because big corporations do not pay tax in this country because of legal tax dodges.

On 4 April Tax Dodging on a large scale hit the headlines again with the release of the Panama papers  this time about tax dodging some of it illegal.

Judith Allinson went to hear one of the shopkeepers form Crickhowell give a talk at Settle Stories Festival (1-3 April): Jeff Thomas of Crickhowell Adventure explained how the (legal) tax dodge works. He also recounted the adventures they had when the BBC film crew took them to Amsterdam and The Isle of Man to see where the companies had set up offices (or at least letter boxes).

The film is no longer on BBC iplayer but you can see it on Youtube.

The talk was held at Settle Friends Meeting House. (Jeff in navy on left)

Talk on Fair Tax Towns

As far as I can see, a Fair Tax Town is one that adopts the “Fair Tax Town” brand   (Download the handbook to see more)… and one that is trying to raise awareness about the big companies avoiding tax.

You can download Fair Tax Town Stickers. Small towns that have lots of small independent retailers (all paying tax correctly) will be good candidates for Fair Tax Towns.

The vision is  that every business in the UK will pay fair corporation tax.

They say “The Fair Tax Town Scheme is designed to put us in a strong negotiating position with HMRC, and not to avoid tax…”


He recommended the book “The Great Tax Robbery” by Richard Brooks.

And “Treasure Islands” by  Nick Shoxton

It has a graph showing that the small businesses are paying more of the corporate tax each year since 2000 – and the big companies are paying less.

tax-robberyGreat Tax Robbery shows rising share of corp tax paid by small companies when their share of the economy remained steady….




He recommended Treasure Islands by Nick Shoxton.

He recommended http://fairtaxtruro.net/

and http://totallylocally.org/

However only large firms can afford the very expensive lawyers etc to arrange these tax dodges.

He showed us a map that has been produced in Truro showing which shops should be avoided because they are dodging taxes.– In fact the Truro site is a useful website.



Jeff Thomas of Crickhowell Adventure – interviewed on Radio 5 Live Afternoon Edition: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06nn5bf 

So I left resolved to buy things at local shops.   And to buy medicines/shampoo etc from the Coop rather than Boots.




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Follow an Open Air Passion Play this Good Friday morning


The disciples follow at a distance

[Note added Sat 26th: Link to the pictures of the 2016 Good Friday Passion Play ]

Find a Passion Play near you (UK map)

These pictures are from Settle last year. This year Settle’s passion play starts at 10.30am at St John’s Methodist Church Hall .. with the last supper. Then it’s to the Millennium Gardens for the Garden of Gethsemane, and then to Settle Market Place for the Trial, and finally the Parish Church grounds for the Crucifixion.


Caiaphas the High Priest


The soldiers seize Jesus













At Settle we have a Sunrise service too on Easter Day at 6.30am in Millennium Garden, followed by breakfast at the Friends Meeting House

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Questions about CELINK March 2016

What is CELINK?

CELink (or “Green Christian Forum” ) is Green Christian’s email discussion group set up for Members of Green Christian. Green Christian used to be called Christian Ecology Link (CEL) hence the choice of name for the discussion group (and it is easier to prounouce than GCF)

What are its aims?

To enable Green Christian members to share information


Can anyone join CELINK?

CELink is for members of the organisation Green Christian

CELink is a private group. It has a manager (Judith Allinson – GC’s web-editor). This means that what we write can only be read by other GC members. Emails are sent to other members of the group.

People can only join if they have been sent a special email by the manager (termed “invited”).

At the moment the principle (in general) is to only invite paid up members of GC.

Please email if you have strong views either for or against this.


How does one join?

Ask Judith (webeditor@greenchristian.org.uk) for a special invitation email . She will arrange for an email to be sent from Googlegroups inviting you to join. When the email FROM Googlegroups arrives, return it TO Googlegroups (not to Judith).


Does one have to join Googlegroups in order to receive and send emails?

No, Not at all.

Googlegroups encourages you to join, and then you can find out a tiny bit more information about CELINK and you can join other Googlegroups.


How often are messages sent through CELINK.?

Over the past two months it has averaged about 70 per month. So it is not onerous to belong to this group.


Is it possible to find out who else is in CELINK?

If you join Googlegroups you have to give yourself a name or nickname. Once you have joined Googlegroups you can visit the CELINK pages and ask to see who else is in the group. Thus you can read the nicknames or names of the other people who have joined. Some people have given their real names, so you can recognise them. Other people have given nicknames so you cannot recognise those. Also quite a few people in CELINK have not joined Googlegroups at all so there is no name or nickname for them.


How many members of GC are in CELINK?

For those of you who like statistics:

At the end of March 2016 there are 187 members of CELINK

  • 138 people who receive each email as soon as it is sent.
  • 22 people who receive abridged (9) and digest(13) versions
  • 27 people who do not receive emails but have access to the celink website on google where the messages are stored. (Total 187)

At the beginning of January 2013 there were 150 people made up  of

  • 96 people who receive each email as soon as it is sent.
  • 24 people who receive abridged (7) and digest(17) versions
  • 30 people who do not receive emails but have access to the celink website on google where the messages are stored. (Total 150)

I hope you will chose to become an active person who receives the emails directly they are sent out.  But please choose which fits your circumstances.

Do statements on CELINK represent the official view of GC?

No. When individuals state their views, whether they are members of GC Steering Committee or not, the views stated are the view of the author of that email, not the view of GC.


Is it safe to give confidential information on CELINK?

No. Whilst people should NOT copy emails to others without first asking permission of the author, one can never guarantee what will happen to emails once they are out in cyberspace.


Why should one bother joining CELINK when GC’s web editor sends out emails about 24 times a year to all members of GC?

  1. The emails sent to “Members and Friends of GC” are mostly very general and non-controversial in nature, and contain a minimum of information. Information is posted more frequently to CELINK
  2. You can find out views of other members of GC. You can publicise ideas yourself, and ask questions.


Is it worth joining CELink?

Yes. Give it a try for a few months.


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Take action on 2 new GM trial applications

Two new applications for open-air trials of GM crops are currently being considered by Defra (Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs). Rothamsted Research has applied for another “fish oil” camelina trial at its farm in Hertfordshire, while the Sainsbury’s Laboratory is hoping to plant GM blight-resistant potatoes at the Norwich Research Park.

Comments on the applications can be made until 19 March for Rothamsted’s camelina and 22 March for Sainsbury’s Lab’s potatoes. The application reference numbers and all contact details are available from the relevant webpages linked above.GM Freeze is leading a multi-agency objection to each application. These include a lot of detail but the main points are:

  • Pollen and seed could escape from both trials and affect natural relatives.
  • The genetic engineering process always carries a risk of unexpected effects. Neither research group has adequately tested the potential environmental nor food safety harms that their GM plants could cause.
  • We don’t need GM blight resistant potatoes because there are already conventional potatoes that do the job well.
  • Growing GM oils to prop up the fish farming industry will not make it sustainable. 
  • The potato trial uses an antibiotic resistance “marker” gene which could transfer to disease-causing bacteria.

If you represent an organisation who might be interested in joining a shared response, or if you would like support in responding on your own behalf, please get in touch.

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Book Review Editor needed for Green Christian – 6 hrs / month

We are looking for a book review editor for Green Christian magazine as our current review editor is stepping down. 

Are you interested in being part of the editorial team? 

We need a reliable, well-organised person with online access, interested in current environmental issues, within faith communities and beyond. Time commitment: 5-6 hours a month approx.

For more details about the role, click here

To express an interest, please write to editor@greenchristian.org.uk giving details of any relevant skills and a phone number so we can contact you to discuss further. 

Thanks, from

The magazine editors!

Posted in Articles, Book Reviews, Take Action, Worship Materials | Leave a comment

Get close to the action with Green Christian!

Opportunity to engage Christians across the UK in the Green movement. We seek a committed volunteer with strong organisational skills and a heart for the environment to help us expand Green Christian’s work and capacity.

We are recruiting new members for our organising team.  Green Christian is a volunteer-led movement, a community of faith, a registered charity and a company limited by guarantee.  In the environmental crisis we seek to:

  • Let loose hope
  • Pioneer practical discipleship
  • Equip prophetic witness
  • Empower agents of change.

Can you help us work together to put these aims into practice?   We are looking for one or two more colleagues with practical skills to work alongside our Secretary, helping us make good, efficient and effective decisions.  Most of our work is done in small creative groups, reporting to a Steering Committee.  Expenses are reimbursed.  Your role might involve helping with:

  • general administration, such as maintaining communications among committee members and volunteers, or arranging mailings of publications
  • co-ordinating our Steering Committee, for instance booking venues, preparing agendas with the Chair, and sending reminders for reports and meetings
  • liaising with our Company Secretary who is responsible for our legal compliance, with our Minutes Secretary, and the individuals leading our various projects.

These activities require administration skills, knowledge of spreadsheets, mailmerge and databases, experience of social media, an eye for detail, and an interest in our overall mission.  The ‘hours’ are not demanding but will suit whatever time you can offer and can reflect our termly cycle of meetings.  No pay, but a rewarding cause with a friendly and committed bunch of people.

Please contact our Secretary Barbara Echlin at secretary@greenchristian.org.uk, who will be happy to tell you more without obligation.

We seek to form a co-operative team which grows with the gifts each member brings. We are ordinary Christians in extraordinary times, and we do what we love.  Join us.




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Make 2016 the year you learn more about Wildlife

Galinsoga parvula in Amsterdam

Galinsoga – Gallant Soldier in city street.

Judith Allinson, Green Christian’s Web Editor, writes: 

….. In your garden.. in the brownfield sites near where you live.. amongst the weeds and trees as you go jogging, or wait at the station, or in the cracks in the pavement.


What will you find today?

Try Flowers – or Bees – or Freshwater biology – Or Beetles – or Lichens

In four weeks time leaves will be coming out on the trees. and simultaneously  a flush of insects..  caterpillars eager to eat the soft young leaves  before the leaves become tough and hard

You can go on courses at the Field Studies Council in 17 Centres throughout UK -from birdwatching to butterflies, from snails to sedges, from wildflowers to waders.. make your choice. (If you are not well off but are a student it is worth enquiring about bursaries ) Or go on a specially designed family holiday there.

Go go out with your local natural history society.  They welcome new members. Find out about yours through The Wildlife Trusts or if in Yorkshire, The YNU which has over 40 -yes forty – different natural history societies.

Encourage someone from your local natural history society to come and give a talk to a church group.  Display your Local Natural History Society’s Calendar of events.


Map-Lichen near Helwith Bridge, N Yorks – both in the foreground and on the rocks on the hill

If you present a talk, give the audience chance to contribute too, make time to listen to them.

Jack in the Pulpit or Wild Arum

Jack in the Pulpit or Wild Arum – painting by Doris Cairns – seen looking at Jack in the Pulpit in Ingleton Churchyard below

Jack in the Pulpit

Jack in the Pulpit


If any of you have “Good News” stories about churches or Christians helping children and other people learn about plants (or beetles or fungi for that matter) do let me know.  Or visit A Rocha Website for some examples.

Isabel describes a potato growing competition at her church:

We did a potato focus in our church a couple of years back. We gave all the youngsters a seed potato (plus any adult who wanted one) with brief instructions on how to plant and look after it (using garden, pot or plastic bag etc). Then we set a weekend for digging them up and either weighing them at home (with trusted adult to sign) or bringing them to church for a weigh in (with a prize or two – I think of a load of seeds).
There was a focus in the service on growing things and multiplying followed of course by a meal of baked potatoes with fillings. Some adults had never grown a potato – let along the youngsters. It meant that we had brief inputs into 4 services (with reminder time), time in the children’s groups and one service to focus on growing veg.

Mean while – have you heard of the term “Mossy Church”? –  A cross between Messy Church and Forest Church?


Now I have to get down to preparing for this year’s Lichens Beginners Workshop at Horton in Ribblesdale on 2 April

Once you know plant and animal names it is easier to talk to them. I find my walks become so enriched when I can stop and say “Hello Map lichen” , “Hello Cuckoo pint”  as I go past, or if looking for edible plants “Hello Ground elder” or “Hello St George’s Mushroom.”

It DOES take time to get to learn to identify a group of organisms. Perhaps learning identification is a good candidate for the SLOW movement. But it is worth it.


“Consider the Lilies of the field….”

We found 30 species of wild plant in flower on our walk - each of the three children found ten different ones. - Here is Himalayan balsom.

On the Noddfa retreat in  October 2012 we found 30 species of wild plant in flower on our walk – each of the three children found ten different ones. – Here is Himalayan Balsam.

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Climate action 2016

no planet b photoHave a look at our new updated Climate Action page and start planning your 2016 climate action!

Split into two easy sections – what to do from your sofa, and actions that involve going somewhere – our Climate Action page gives you all the info and links you need to start holding our leaders to their Paris promises.

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