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.

Posted in Biodiversity, Take Action | Leave a comment

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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Green Christian Book Reviews – notes for new book reviews editor


Green Christian Book Reviews – notes for new book reviews editor

Also available as a word file

Notes from book-reviews-editor Miriam Pepper (2008-2015) and current lead editor, Clare Redfern.

 Time commitment

Managing book reviews for GC is not a big time commitment, but it does need somebody who is organised and reliable and who checks and responds to emails in a timely manner.  The main tasks are:

  • Finding reviewers – there is a list of members who volunteer to do this.
  • Approaching publishers for review copies of books
  • Editing reviews

Sources of books

Books to be reviewed are selected because a publisher sends an appropriate book, a GC member suggests a book they have read or heard of, or the editor themselves hears or reads of one they think would be of interest to readers. Publisher email alerts/catalogue can also suggest an appropriate book – the new editor will be recommended to sign up to receive email alerts from publishers for which we have commonly commissioned reviews (SPCK, Wild Goose etc).

Generally, we review all books that we are requested to, with the exception of self-published books.  Where there are too many reviews for the print magazine – other reviews are published on the GC website.  Reviews published in the magazine are also published on the website.  Members of the editorial team can also give advice about deciding which books to review if needed.

Process for reviews

  1. Identify book
  2. Seek a reviewer (send out request to reviewer email list)
  3. Once a reviewer has been found, approach the publisher for a review copy and ask for it to be posted directly to the reviewer. Publishers are almost always willing to send review copies
  4. Send the reviewer the CG book reviews guidelines. Reviews are typically 300-500 words with 6-8 in each issue.
  5. Send a reminder to the reviewer several weeks in advance of when their review is due. (Reviews are due in early March and September each year, Green Christian is a bi-annual magazine)
  6. Edit the review once received, check with the reviewer if necessary
  7. Find book cover image via google.
  8. Send the review and cover image to the GC editor
  9. After feedback from editor, send the review to GC online editor.
  10. Once published, email the review to the publisher, unless the book has been procured by other means.

Arrangement with Methodist Recorder

The Methodist Recorder approached us in May 2014, asking for Green Christian to help them find people to review environmental books for their publication.  The Methodist recorder contact sends a request to find a reviewer for a particular book and these reviews are then published in both the Methodist Recorder and Green Christian.  Full details of this process will be given to the new book review editor.

There are template emails available for use to send out to publishers to request a book, and to the reviewers requesting reviews; also a “GC book reviews and style guidelines” document and a spreadsheet to track progress of each review and keep a record of books reviewed.

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Help with Research Project Questionnaire

Green Christian is assisting Derk Harmannij, a PhD student at the University of Exeter’s School of Geography, with his research.  You might have met Derk at a couple of Green Christian events.  You are invited to participate a questionnaire survey which will provide important evidence for his research.  He introduces it as follows.

“Christians throughout Great Britain see issues such as climate change and loss of biodiversity as pressing issues that require action by believers. But it is also an issue that many other Christians have been reluctant to take up. This questionnaire looks at the supporters of Christian environmental organisations and asks how they relate their faith to environmental issues and how they put their environmental concern into practice. Your participation will be appreciated. It will take around 5 minutes. Follow the link below:

All data will remain anonymous and will only be used in my PhD research. If you have questions email me:

Posted in Biodiversity, Climate Change, Latest, Take Action | Leave a comment

Women’s World Day of Prayer – Receive Children, Receive Me

Judith Allinson reflects:

Today is Women’s World Day of Prayer.

Theme this year 4 March 2016: “Receive children, receive me,” prepared by the Women of Cuba

It makes a big theme of including children – But it also makes a them of including everyone.

I like this service each year because it joins the women (and some men) in different churches and countries and also gives different people locally the chance to lead the service.

It is good to think of other friends and members of Green Christian taking part around the country and world.

I sometimes read through the material beforehand and see if I can find things about the environment.

I can’t see how to download the service this year – but there are other materials.

The main references to nature seem to be given to the children. There is children’s material: – with pictures of crocodiles, white jasmine, and the national bird the Trogon Bird which is indigonous and is red white and blue like their flag.

There is a song: “A place at the table” which has a Cuban? beat and I have been trying it on my accordion (I have to count very hard)
No doubt the ladies preparing our service in my home town will have practiced it.
I just found a nice version on youtube:-

“God will delight when we are creators of justice and joy.”

It is a sense of justice that make many of us want to protect the environment for future generations.

For those of you who can’t attend a service enjoy listening to the song


Posted in Articles, Hymns, Worship Materials | Leave a comment

Green Christian magazine feedback survey

The editorial team of Green Christian magazine would value your feedback about the magazine.  If you are a member and receive the magazine, let us know your views (anonymously and confidentially) using our short online survey at    or you can use the paper form included with the latest issue.
Pdfs of previous editions can be read here (scroll down the page)
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GC Retreat in N Wales with Keith Hebden 10-12 June 2016

Celebrating body and soul -
How our bodies can save the world

The Green Christian Retreat
with Keith Hebden
Friday 10 – Sunday 12 June 2016
Noddfa, Penmaenmawr, North Wales, LL34 6YF




Green Christian’s annual retreat weekends are always a great time to be encouraged in faith and care for the earth, to make new friends and enjoy good company. If you haven’t been on one before you’ll be especially welcome.

hebdenThis year we will be joined by Revd Dr Keith Hebden. Keith is a parish priest, author and activist in the diocese of Southwell and Nottingham, where he serves as Diocesan Environmental Officer. He writes and teaches on Christian anarchism, community organising, nonviolent resistance and social and environmental justice issues.

Through an exploration of prayer, contemplation and action this weekend is an opportunity for discovery. It is a chance for each of us to pause and pay special attention to our souls and bodies and how intentionally we can let them belong to the creation that shaped them.

Our bodies are the starting point of our ethical, spiritual, and inter-personal lives. For over ten thousand years we humans have produced incredible technologies but with each generation’s advances we take a step further away from our proper place as a partner and co-learner with the rest of creation. This includes the grnoddfaowing distance between one and another and between us and God.

By bringing our attention back to the relationship between our earthly bodies and how they relate to the rest of the earth we find new resources for being agents for social and spiritual change. Most importantly of all we learn and lead others in seeing greater ecological care as coming home like the Prodigal Son and discovering creation running with open arms to greet us!


See pictures of  earlier retreats:   2012  and  and 2014 – Joy on the mountain



Celebrating Body and Soul – How our bodies can save the world – The Green Christian retreat 2016 with Keith Hebden

Friday 10 – Sunday 12 June
Noddfa, Old Conwy Road, Penmaenmawr, North Wales LL34 6YF

Noddfa is a Welsh word meaning haven or refuge – a place of peace and welcome, a place where you can regain energy. It is the name of the centre run by the sisters of the Sacred Heart of Mary in Penmaenmawr, on the North Wales coast near Llandudno. Visit

Trains from Chester stop on request at Penmaenmawr station which is a short walk from the house.

Cost: £120.  Four places are available to younger adults at a special bursary rate of £60 – you are welcome to ask for further details.  Children under ten pay £20.  A non-returnable deposit of £30 is required when booking. The balance is due by 14 May or as soon as possible.

The weekend starts with the Friday evening meal at 6.30pm and ends after lunch on Sunday. If you wish to stay an extra night on the Thursday or Sunday that can be arranged by contacting Noddfa direct: 01492 623473.

The GC-2016-retreat-booking-form is available as a Word document online

If you have any queries please email or telephone 0845 459 8460

Our retreats usually get fully booked, so make sure you register early to avoid disappointment.

Please return the booking form with your cheque by post to:

Bookings Secretary, 6 Lime Walk, Littleover, Derby DE23 6BD


if paying by bank credit please e-mail your form to

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Global Justice Now worship resource on Trade Justice – order your copy

Global Justice Now  (formerly World Development Movement) are putting together a worship resource on trade justice. The pack will include Bible Study, Liturgy ideas, prayers and actions. The pack is being supported by:

Africa Europe Faith and Justice Network
Global Justice Now
Green Christian
Jubilee Debt Campaign
National Justice and Peace Network
One World Week
URC Commitment for Life

They hope to have completed the design and have it with the printers by mid-February, and would like an idea of numbers. If you think you could use/distribute some packs, could you please contact
Effie Jordan by 10 February

Posted in Economics, Take Action, Worship Materials | Leave a comment