Christians on the Front Line Against UK Coal

img-coal-demoFive members of Christian Climate Action blockaded the Ffos-y-fran open cast coal mine at 6:25am on 3 May 2016, helping to close off the access road to the mine. They were among 400 people from Reclaim the Power camp who shut down the largest open cast coal mine in the UK for the day and called for the end of coal mining in the UK to avoid the worst effects of climate change. The activists were dressed in red to lay down the red line that fossil fuels, especially coal, must stay in the ground. The UK government announced last year that it plans to end coal burning for electricity by 2025. Christian Climate Action says this is not only too late, but also little more than a hypocritical gesture if the UK continues to mine coal for shipping overseas.

Phil Kingston, 80, one of the five and originally from Penarth said,

‘My grandfather worked in the Welsh mines. We know now that coal is hugely damaging to God’s creation and to the future of my grandchildren and their generation. The poorest people in the world are being hit hardest by the extreme weather events that are being caused by climate change. For all these reasons I feel called to take action to keep fossil fuels in the ground.’
Read Philip’s reflection on this day (written 12 May)

Ruth Jarman, 52, who lay on the ground with her arm in one of the tubes, said,

‘Our government agreed last year in Paris to try to limit climate change to less than 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. To have any chance of meeting this target 85% of known fossil fuel reserves, and 90% of coal, the dirtiest of all, need to stay in the ground. By stopping mining at Ffos-y-Fran, the largest opencast coal mine in the country, we are simply helping our government to live up to its own promises.’

The ‘End Coal Now’ action is part of the Groundswell year of action and international mobilisations taking on the fossil fuel industry.

The five are: Ruth Jarman from Hampshire (52), Phil Kingston from Bristol (79), Father Martin Newell from Birmingham (48), Jo Frew and Julie Timbrell.

‘As Christians we feel we have no option but to take sides on matters that threaten the future of so much of God’s creation, including the people he loves,’ said Ruth. ‘By participating in this action to stop the mining of coal, we intend to place ourselves on the side of justice and peace.’

More information about Christian Climate Action can be found at www.christianclimateaction.wordpress.com

 

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Green Christian Magazine, Summer 2016, Issue 81

Back to latest Green Christian Magazine.

Green Christian, Summer 2016, Issue 81

O Taste and See!

GC81w300

  • Editorial: O Taste and See!
  • Real Farming, Real Food Small-holder Andy Mellen shares his perspectives on animal husbandry
  • Why we should not eat meat Coral Raven sets out the Christian case for veganism
  • Animals and the Environment Paul Overend gives a theo-centric argument for animal welfare
  • Green Both Ends Is breast green as well as best? Alison Blenkinsop reports
  • Jesus and the Sacred Wild Noel Moules explores Christian Animism
  • Agroecology: the sustainable alternative to industrial farming Clare Redfern interviews Dr Julia Wright
  • The Heathrow 13: Plane Stupid or Holy Fools?  Westley Ingram on the importance of radical disruptions
  • The Cross and Climate Change Tanya Jones reports on the recent Joy in Enough conference
  • Reflection Noel Moules explores the Shalom Circle
  • Local Groups – A Renewed Commitment
  • GC News :: Reviews and Resources :: Poetry :: Prayers
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Will your church join the Big Church Switch?

BCS_logo_colour_webMore than 500 UK churches have registered to switch to renewable energy providers, using clean energy which doesn’t harm the earth, but rather can fuel prosperity for our global neighbours and bring light to all God’s people.

Among them is the oldest Methodist building in the world, The New Room in Bristol. David Worthington, Manager of The New Room said:

“We take seriously the impact we have on our neighbours, both locally and globally. Switching our energy provider to clean sources of power is a simple thing we can do to help the global transition to a low carbon world.  If we, in a building as old as ours, can embrace the idea of renewable energy then anyone can.”

The Big Church Switch is a great opportunity for churches of all denominations to come together and make the switch as a practical way of caring for creation. And the movement is growing. Together we can demonstrate to others the kind of real actions needed if we are to combat climate change in the way world leaders agreed to in Paris last year.

This is a great time to join the campaign. All your church needs to do now is commit to registering their interest on the big church switch website.

How does it work?

Registering your church registers your details with church energy experts 2buy2 who will find the best 100% renewable deal for your church. By using the collective buying power of all churches who’ve registered they can secure more affordable clean energy deals for your church.

As your contract comes to an end (whether that’s in a few weeks or a few years) 2buy2 will provide your church with your energy quote. Now you can make the decision whether to switch your church to renewable energy.

So, the more of us that sign up the greater our buying power (and the better energy deal we can get!)

I’d really encourage you to register your interest today

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More on the Big Shift Campaign:

“The Big Shift” campaign is for churches, Christians and others to quicken the pace for getting out of fossil fuels. This includes encouraging governments and institutions to move our money out of investments into coal and into cleaner energy, plus lots of suggestions for individual and local action.

There is a great interactive guide here:http://www.christianaid.org.uk/Images/Big-Shift-Online-Training-PDF-Oct-15.pdf

A powerful film showing how climate change makes poverty worse:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzTUL_9pnOk

Worship and prayer resources, Bible studies and sermon notes:  http://www.christianaid.org.uk/ActNow/climate-justice/resources.aspx?Page=2

Plus pocket guides and much more resources are available from BCS_logo_colour_webwww.christianaid.org.uk/bigshift , or through contacting your local office (find it here: www.christianaid.org.uk/inyourarea ).

 

 

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Hope in a Changing Climate Conference 15-16 April 2016

Rachel Lampard, Methodist Conference

Rachel Lampard of Methodist Conference gives a talk

This 2-day conference was held in Coventry, with around 100 delegates from Christian organisations such as Christian Aid, Operation Noah, Tearfund, A Rocha, the C of E, URC and Green Christian. It was organised by a coalition of churches and agencies under the banner of EDWC – the Ecumenical World Development Conference http://www.ewdc.uk/

Peter Grimwood and Deborah Tomkins attended on Saturday, and ran a Green Christian stall together with Operation Noah.

Peter writes:

“I found this meeting to be a fruitful experience and I came away from it with a renewed sense of encouragement and empowerment towards the issue of a Christian response to Climate Change.

The most useful speaker from my point of view was George Marshall who demonstrated in his presentation and in his workshop the kind of language we need to use and perhaps even more importantly the kind of language we ought to avoid. We must avoid statistics and disaster narratives and try to frame our message using frames and codes that emphasise shared values and inclusive identities.

Another good speaker was Jo Herbert Youth and Emerging Generation Co-ordinator at TEARFUND who emphasised the role of story. We live within God’s covenant and our journey is a journey with Him. God passionately cares about His whole creation and we have a special responsibility to live our lives unto HIM.

She spoke with warmth and enthusiasm about her personal journey from a relatively narrow faith which focused exclusively on her personal relationship with Jesus to an understanding of that relationship which understands that Jesus came to restore all things and that in Him all things were created in heaven and on earth. We must learn to speak to those things that motivate our audience and offer them the means to participate in the making of prophetic signs. I have to say that she would be an excellent speaker for the Way of Life Group.

I also enjoyed Jo Musker-Sherwood on the subject of lobbying MPs. We need to work with them rather than confront them and establish with them a creative rapport so that our meetings and exchanges of correspondence don’t simply become a dialogue of the deaf.”

Deborah says:

“Delegates were encouraged to go away with two actions that they pledged to try to undertake. Inspired by George Marshall’s talk on communication, I resolved to try and meet people where they are and to use their own language to communicate with them. George says that the language of fear, and the language of facts and figures, don’t really work for most people. What does work is identifying shared values using these as a starting point.

A similar point was made by Jo Herbert, who works with young people. She also says that Climate Change is a deeply theological issue – we must engage deeply with theology; we have a Biblical command to care for creation and for the poor. Our every action can be a spiritual act.

Other speakers over the two days included Ruth Valerio from A Rocha, Professor Michael Northcott, and Bishop Graham Usher. Many others gave workshops.

It was great that Green Christian was able to be there – some other members also attended – and to raise our profile among Christian agencies and churches. We took with us several hundred leaflets (Storm of Hope, LOAF, Churches in Transition, Eco-Checkup for Churches, and Nine Ways) which were all distributed among delegates. Many had never heard of Green Christian (or Christian Ecology Link), so we were very pleased to make connections.”

EWDC Conference 16/04/16

EWDC Conference 16/04/16

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Cuppa coffee anyone?

No one likes to see things go to waste: it’s just common sense. We teach young children to finish their dinner and not throw away food, but how many of us blithely drink a cuppa coffee and give no thought to the cuppa? Would you believe that 2.5 billion takeaway coffee cups a year are thrown away in the UK? Campaigners say 399 out of every 400 are dumped and that makes 2.5 billion a year.

Most of the cups are made from trees that take 80 years to grow. Their plastic lining (polyethylene) makes them difficult to recycle and only two facilities in the UK have the necessary machinery.  Mike Childs of Friends of the Earth said “It shouldn’t be rocket science to ensure coffee cups are recycled in the UK. The public should be able to expect better.”  What can we do about this? Cups can be made from material that is either compostable or recyclable. Maybe we should start asking questions the next time we buy a cuppa in a large high street chain coffee shop.

Some people are taking things a step further. One suggestion is to always carry a mug and ask for hot or cold drinks to go into it. That will cause problems in many cafes and shops but it’s something else to ask about, along with “Is the coffee you’re serving made by Nestle?”. To make it easier for the café we could measure in millilitres or fl oz the capacity of our thermos mug. That way we could tell the people behind the counter the capacity, so that they know whether to charge us for small, medium or large. This does happen in some places in the US. The key will be in getting Costa etc to recognise this will be good for their eco-credentials.

Deborah having coffee at the stationDeborah from Bristol doesn’t have to commute, and her own special method wouldn’t work on commuter trains, so it’s maybe not something to copy first thing in the morning! When she travels she takes a large (1 litre) metal thermos of hot water (which astonishingly keeps water hot for 24 hours). She also takes a mug, a small bottle of milk, a teaspoon, and various tea bags. She makes her own hot drinks on the go – trains, park benches, etc. She gets some funny looks but also lots of people say “What a good idea”. Her children think it’s unbearably eccentric. This started as a way of saving money, but now she prefers it. The thermos water never tastes funny, tea doesn’t get stewed and it’s always just as she likes it. Also no waste. She saves the teabags if she is close to home and they go on the compost. All good common sense.

It is indeed common sense to avoid wasting the Earth’s finite resources. But in Laudato Si’ Pope Francis calls the Earth “our common home”.  Maybe taking care of our common home is also part of what it means to live a Christian life? And maybe instead of talking about resources we should talk of God’s gifts and our shared responsibility to take care of them? As American theologian Sister Elizabeth Johnson says, “A flourishing humanity on a thriving planet rich in species in an evolving universe, all together filled with the glory of God: such is the vision that must guide us at this critical time of Earth’s distress”.

Barbara Echlin

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Rogation Services (1 May)

Rogation at Broughton near skiptonJudith Allinson, Green Christian’s Web editor writes:

Rogation Services make a wonderful opportunity to worship God in the Open Air,
and to appreciate the value of the surrounding countryside and environment:
farm, river, garden, church etc.

A great opportunity exists to write a service for a procession around most city churches. Think “What could you do at your church?”

At Settle  (including The Methodist, Catholic and Anglican churches which are close to each other)  we could go for a walk within 200 metres to Ask God’s Blessing on:

the River Ribble (and fish)
The Reverse Archimedes Screw electricity generator
The Fire Station
A manhole cover: The drains  ( and sewers)
A green box: Internet connections
Petrol Station
Railway (at the viaduct)
A recently resurfaced road

rogation-rathmell-hilary-young-20120513a.jpg

However at Settle on 1 May we will be recovering from the Tour de Yorkshire (on 29 April) (hence the recently resurfaced road)

Here is a list of Rogation services that I know about:  I would be very pleased to add more.

1 May See pictures of previous Rogation Services in Austwick, Settle, Rathmell and Broughton (N Yorks) 
1 May Berkshire Show /Home Farm Rogation  Service 3pm
The Wantage Silver Band will accompany the congregation on this  walking visit
1 May Newsholme, Oakworth, W Yorks Rogation :10.30am Beginning in the church (St John’s) for a traditional Eucharist / Communion and followed by a short walk around Newsholme where prayers and blessings are said at the water, pasture and farmyard. See pictures
1 May Elston, Newark, Rogation Service at Elston Chapel, Old Chapel Lane, Elston, Newark, Nottinghamshire, NG23 5NY
1 May Austwick N Yorks Rogation and Pet Service 9.30am
1 May Clapham N Yorks Rogation and Pet Services 11.00am
1 May Horton in Rib N Yorks Lambing Service Sunday 3pm-Newhouses Farm, BD24 0JE. We give thanks for the lambs, feed them & then each other.
1 May Broughton (nr  Skipton) Rogation Service & Procession 7.00 p.m. Preacher: The Rt Revd James Bell, Bishop of Ripon
1 May Malton St Michael’s Church, Malton: Rogation Service  2pm
1 May Berry Brow Huddersfield Rogation Service  at Stirley Community Farm, nr Huddersfield, Berry Brow, HD4 6RP

 

 

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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.

http://fairtaxtruro.net/shoppers-guide/

truro-tax-dodgers1a

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

disciples

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

Caiaphas the High Priest

Easter-2015-06-smaller

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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