Sustainable Living : Workshop on Churches

On Saturday 22nd November 2014, CEL (or, as it will be renamed in January  2015,  Green Christian ) held our Annual Members Meeting, and after official business was over, we were treated to an address by Ian Christie of the Sustainable Living Research Group at the University of Surrey.

Following his thought-provoking words, the meeting broke up into three groups considering recommendations for actions in the three domains of : Church, Community and Campaigning.

Here follows the write-up of the Churches breakout group, helpfully contributed by Simon Court :-

“Sustainable Living : Why we struggle and how we can change”

Notes from the Breakout Group Workshop – Churches responding to the challenge

What are the stories the churches tell? These are stories which help us explore the question of how we draw closer to Christ.

Churches need to move from telling personal stories of redemption to telling the story of our redemption through our belonging to creation. Churches need to provide narratives which resonate with congregations but we recognise that some churches are unlikely to move beyond stories of personal redemption.

It will be powerful if we can gain some agreement about the behaviours which flow from the Church’s relationship with creation. We need to walk the walk as well as talking the talk.

If we can get the narrative right then our discipleship will develop in the context of that story. It is best to demonstrate the Gospel in how we live our lives, and to guard against “nagging” on environmental issues.



Group discussing “Churches responding to the challenge”

Return to main section on changing lives workshop

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

Sustainable Living : Workshop on Community

On Saturday 22nd November 2014, CEL (or, as it will be renamed in January  2015,  Green Christian ) held our Annual Members Meeting, and after official business was over, we were treated to an address by Ian Christie of the Sustainable Living Research Group at the University of Surrey. on “Sustainable Living : Why we struggle and how we can change”.

There were three breakout group workshops after his address, one on Church, one on Community and one on Campaigning. I tried to act as a facilitator for the Community breakout group, and the conversation was really interesting and fast-paced, which was a good thing as we did not have all day to explore the multiple issues and opportunities. Here is the write up of my notes – which is open to corrections and additions :-

Sustainable Living : Why we struggle and how we can change”amm-2014-small-24
Workshop on Community
22 November 2014

What is your recommendation for our Green Christian actions ?
What is your recommendation for the Churches in theirs ?

Community : in faith-led outreach to householders and the church, and in new “rites of transition” ?

The workshop focussed on the following areas :-

1. Learning by doing and structured activities

The group preferred doing rather than just talking. Suggested activities were :-

– Visits to renewable energy facilities – such as biogas production plant, wind turbines, solar farms
– School groups being invited to visit churchyards
– Jumble sales as the ultimate in recycling
– “Swishing” events – to swap high quality unwanted clothes
– Bicycle repair workshops at church
– Church-organised draught-busting workshop
– Starting and managing a community garden
– Walking in the fells
– Guerilla gardening
– A church project, for example on energy, insulation or food

“Wouldn’t it be better that the church be setting an example ?”

2. Non-directed learning – emergent dialogue

The group thought that it would be good for churches to provide a welcome, a setting, for conversations to emerge, rather than introducing programmed instruction or dictating the outcomes.

It was thought that just starting a conversation, just talking with people, could bring a number of issues and their potential solutions to the surface : “talking about climate change can happen within that context”.

However, there were some models of engagement that were proposed :-

– EcoTeams (from the Global Action Plan)
– ecocell (from Green Christian)
– Transition Towns
– Skillsharing – a chain of teaching : in other words, one person teaches another how to fix a dripping tap, or draught-proof a window/door, or grow vegetables; that person then teaches another and so on.

However, it was thought that some specific topics were important enough to merit deliberate discussion initiatives and meetings – and that messaging about them were still important – such as the use of coal for energy – and how to keep it underground through lifestyle changes, different approaches.

There was also suggestions that organisations should formally work together on educational aspects of climate change – schools and churches for example.

3. Rites of transition

Funerals were thought to be the most appropriate and relevant place to bring up environmental questions – interments frequently being held outdoors. The type of messaging given at a funeral was very important – the question of different life courses, and futures. Also the question of “where there’s a funeral, there’s a legacy”.

4. Dispersed church

The group raised the thorny problem : how can the church function properly as a transitioning community when its members travel from so far to the meetings, and don’t live close to each other ? It was suggested that perhaps the churches should inspire people about street-based projects, local allotments, and that maybe the church should act like [a collection of localised] cell groups.


Return to main section on changing lives workshop

Posted in Latest, Reports | Leave a comment

20 Letters

At the Green Christian Annual Members Meeting today, Ian Christie offered encouragement for campaigning on environmental issues and living green lifestyles.

In particular, he mentioned that as few as 20 letters in the post bag of a Member of Parliament on one subject could be taken as a change of political climate.

Jo Abbess, Information Officer, has written up her version of events here…

Posted in Climate Change, Take Action | Leave a comment

Housing & Energy – Fairness for all: ecocell Workshop 24 January 2015

To book a ticket for this event, please use this EventBrite page : On the day please bring your own mug. Thank you.

An ecocell workshop to ask: ‘How can we put adequate roofs over all our heads without damaging the global “roof” that protects us from climate change?’

Housing and Energy
When: Saturday 24 January, 2015. 11am to 4.30pm.
Where: St Aloysius Church, 20 Phoenix Road, London NW1 1TA
(near Euston station)

Who for:

  • members of CEL/Green Christian and its ecocell programme
  • all who are interested in exploring, within a faith-based context, the concept of intergenerational justice including issues such as how we can make best use of our homes and the impact on our energy footprint.

What – themes covered:

  • Where is the justice in many people going homeless, or living in crowded housing, while some houses are kept deliberately empty?
  • Have the young and future generations been dealt an unfair hand with current housing policies and social changes?
  • Is it fair that some housing is very much under-occupied?
  • Will building more houses help? — or just add to climate damage and other environmental problems?
  • What can we do about energy use in our homes being one of the main contributors to carbon emissions and climate destabilisation?

This CEL/Green Christian ecocell event is supported by the Intergenerational Foundation, a London based charity which researches fairness between generations. We will have several speakers, plenty of time for discussion and an inter-generational game. The aim of the day is to explore creative solutions to housing and its related climate emission issues – from a Christian perspective which ensures intergenerational justice.


Ann Morisy Who: Speakers at the workshop include:

Ann Morisy, an associate of PSALM, (Project for Services Around Long Life Ministry) a London wide ecumenical organisation working with churches to encourage thoughtful responses to the challenges and opportunities that come in later life. Ann grew up in Bootle but now lives in south London. She is a freelance community theologian and is an internationally acclaimed lecturer and writer. Her presentations are always down to earth but informed by scholarship and honest faith as well as engaging and light-hearted.



Angus HantonAngus Hanton is a Co-founder of the Intergenerational Foundation , a vehemently independent and non-party-political think tank that focuses on intergenerational fairness in the UK. A self-confessed baby boomer, Hanton believes that successive governments have unwittingly overseen the transfer of assets, benefits and resources to older generations, whilst passing increasingly unsustainable liabilities to younger and future people. From housing to education, employment to benefits, taxation to democratic participation, health care to the environment, Angus believes intergenerational inequality is increasing and will affect generations to come unless long term thinking wins out over short term political gain. Angus has appeared on national TV and radio to debate intergenerational fairness. He is an economist, businessman, and parent, who feels that we are not meeting our duty to safeguard the future for generations to come.


How much: Free – but donations on the day welcome.
How to book: Booking is essential as space is limited. Deadline for receiving bookings is 17 January. To book a place e-mail

To book a ticket for this event online, please use this EventBrite page :

Download flyer

Please bring your own mug, we provide the drinks, you are also invited to bring food to share at lunchtime.

The workshop is jointly organised by CEL/Green Christian and the Intergenerational Foundation.
Christian Ecology LinkIntergenerational Foundation

Posted in CEL Events | Leave a comment

A Green Christian Way of Life – CEL Weekend Retreat May 29-31 2015

The Gathering

The weekend will start on Friday evening with the evening meal at around 6.30pm.  After the meal there will be an introduction to the gathering which will focus on the four disciplines of what we can now call a ‘Green Christian Way of Life’

  • Daily prayer and devotions, eg by using the CEL monthly prayer diary
  • Living gently on the earth, by adopting the CEL leaflet ‘Nine Ways to live gently on the Earth’ as an integral element, sharing and accounting for the use of our resources e.g. using ecocell
  • Public action, with specific current and planned action for creation care through, perhaps, active involvement in local regional or national projects/campaigns
  • Accountability, meeting with and accounting to each other, perhaps by adopting a Soul Friend or through CELink

This will be very much an exploratory weekend and people do not need to be committed to following the Way of Life to attend.

It will be a time of prayer and reflection, an exploration of a closer connection to the earth, nature and creation – and discussion about how the disciplines might be applied in our lives.

Together we will consider how those who commit to the Way can support and be accountable to each other and how this initiative should be – for want of a better word – administered – to ensure that Way of Life participants can easily contact each other and be kept up to date with developments.


Please download and complete the booking form or booking form with description and send as an attachment to or post to Green Christian Gathering, Ringsfield Hall, Beccles Suffolk, NR34 8JR. Questions to Chris on 07881941296

Ringsfield EcoActivity Centre

Centre Director: Dr Ross Ashley

Ringsfield hosts groups of all ages though our work focuses on children and young people with school trips during the week and church, family and faith groups at the weekend. We offer very many ecological and outdoor education programmes all of which are taught and experienced entirely outside. The grounds will be a part of the retreat. We aim to offer Creativity, Motivation, Inspiration and  Spirituality.

Brochures are available and you can visit:

The House

The House does have rooms with bunk beds, but also many twin rooms. For this gathering we do have the use of a sister Retreat House just 4 miles away, Quiet Waters, which can provide further single and double rooms.

Community, good food (we are passionate about LOAF principles) and warmth always contribute to a successful gathering and those who know us will know Ringsfield provides just that.

Part of the being a community when you stay here is to do the washing up together after meals. All bedding is provided, but we do ask you to bring towels and soap etc.

Arrival and Departure

We look forward to welcoming you any time after 4pm on the Friday and the end of the weekend is the lunch on Sunday.

We can provide directions for those travelling by car (please ask, or look on the website) and we can provide a guided  3 mile walk from Beccles train station (this seems to happens every time CEL comes here!) But for others if you let us know your time of arrival at Beccles train or bus stations we can arrange transport to Ringsfield.

Posted in CEL Events | Leave a comment

CEL past events follow:

Posted in CEL Events | Leave a comment

CEL 2014 Annual Members’ Meeting and Changing Lives Workshop

CEL held its Annual Members’ Meeting on 22 November 2014 at St Aloysius Church, 20 Phoenix Road, Euston, London.


Barbara Echlin was in the chair for the meeting, and introduced the 2014-2015 Steering Commitee. Then Paul Bodenham, chairman for Steering committee raised highlights in the Annual Report the most eventful being our name change* to Green Christian from the 1st January 2015.
*Green Christian is a registered trading name of Christian Ecology Link


Left: Two of the new editorial team of Green Christian Magazine: Simon Court and Clare Redfern. Centre: Retiring editor Chris Walton, and CEL secretary and chair of this session: Barbara Echlin.  Right: CEL chairman Paul Bodenham

There are also more changes afoot with the retirement of the Green Christian magazine editor Chris Walton. Chris has made the magazine what it is today over his 14 years editorship, but we are delighted that Chris continues to be our chaplain and is also taking a lead in Joy in Enough our ongoing project.

We welcome our new Editorial team for the Green Christian magazine of Clare Redfern (Commissioning Editor), Simon Court (Editorial Team Convenor) and Suzannah Brecknell (Production Editor).





The changes go on as Jo Abbess retires as our very able Information Officer to be replaced by Amy Willshire from January 1st 2015.


Jo Abbess accepts a token of CEL’s appreciation


Our new information officer displays the new logo








Changing Lives Workshop


Paul Bodenham introduces Ian Christie

Ian Christie led an interesting and informative workshop based on his research work at the University of Suffolk in the Sustainable Lifestyles Reach Group. You can read about his talk here in this post by Jo Abbess.

He has kindly let us put his slides for his presentation here

Then followed our breakout groups who considered:

  • Church: in communities and networks of faith and practice, and the collective stories our congregations tell.
  • Community: in faith-led outreach to households beyond the church, and the new ‘rites of transition’
  • Campaign: to reconcile the three-way standoff between Government, Business and Citizens through what we say and the way that we do it

Members were then reminded about CEL’s two upcoming events: the Workshop in London in January and the Gathering at Ringsfield in May: both of these are likely to book up early.


Paul introduces some of Christian Ecology Link Steering Committee

Posted in CEL Events | Leave a comment

CEL Annual Members’ Meeting 22 Nov 2014, 2pm. (publicity)

Annual Members’ Meeting (AMM)

Saturday 22 November, 2pm

St Aloysius Church, 20 Phoenix Road, Euston, London NW1 1TA .
Bring your lunch and we will provide drinks from 1pm.
Non-members are very welcome to the AMM and to the workshop which follows it:

Changing lives: a workshop with Ian Christie of the Sustainable Lifestyles Research Group.

This year’s AMM offers an exciting opportunity to engage with new findings from a 3 year programme of world-class research. The recently-completed Sustainable Lifestyles project has shed new light on what engages people in ‘green’ behaviour, individually and together. Funders include Defra, the Economic and Social Research Council and European Commission.

We are delighted to be joined by Ian Christie who was the Research Co-ordinator for the programme, and is a Fellow of the Centre for Environmental Strategy at the University of Surrey. Ian will present some of the lessons learnt, including those on community innovation and catalysts for personal action. We will explore what they mean for us as individuals, for the green movement, for Churches, and for our own action for a greener Church.

Posted in CEL Events | 1 Comment