Greenbelt busking

P1100298 (800x600)CEL members Clare Redfern and Ruth Jarman and her daughters busked hymn tunes and hornpipes while handing out the new Bright Now leaflet on church disinvestment in the campsite at the Greenbelt festival last weekend.  Festival goers were happy to take the leaflets and a few joined in with the music.

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Prayer and fast for the climate

‘Pray and fast for the climate’

 Here some info on an exciting new initiative just about to kick off and the launch service on 1st Nov in London (but other services will replicate this around the country). Rev Steve Chalke is speaking at the London service. Please edit at will (the newsletter article is for anyone to adapt and use in their church newsletter etc). A flyer is just being finalised and the website will go live mid Sept

‘Pray and fast for the climate’ is an initiative to mobilise Christians of all denominations to fast and pray on the 1st of every month for a meaningful and just climate agreement We hope this will be agreed in December 2015 at the Paris climate summit.

Typhoon Haiyan brought devastation to the Philippines just as the climate negotiations were beginning in Warsaw in November 2013. Filipino delegate Yeb Saño, despairing both at the devastation of his country and the slow progress made by world leaders in reaching any kind of progress towards a new agreement on tacking climate change, announced he would fast either until the end of the two week conference or until real progress was made. He has continued to fast on the first of every month, joined by people from all around the world. ‘Pray and fast for the climate’ is an exciting initiative for Christians that builds on Yeb’s commitment.

In Micah 4:1-4 and Isaiah 2:2-3 we read of a similar vision given to both prophets independently, of the holy city raised up on a mountain side, visible from far away, shining with the glory of God and the light and hope of Christ (Isaiah 60:1-3) People stream towards it from all nations. Our desire is for God’s kingdom to be raised up in our world and for our prayers around the world to join, to grow and to build a platform upon which the right decisions will be made by politicians, leaders and negotiators to allow your people to hope, to live, to dream (Acts 2:17-21) and to shape a greener world (Rev 21:1-4).

We doubt if there has ever been a more crucial time for us to pray together for progress in climate negotiations. Time is running out for practical and binding steps to be made to reduce emissions and prevent run-away climate change. And we owe it to God, who created the world we depend on, told us to steward it and told us to love our neighbours. Our prayers, and fasting will build a powerful platform for change, and strengthen us as we campaign and inspire others

This initiative is being launched on Saturday 1st November 2014 with services (to date) in London, Brighton, Coventry and Oxford (other venues are very likely to be added).

People may choose to fast and pray for the whole day, to fast during their lunch break, or to pray with their home group in the evening. The hope is for this prayer movement to spread far and wide. Venues are being established all around the UK and within Europe. Check out our website to either find your nearest venue or add a new one.

Each time of prayer can be supported, if required by using our resources; simple worship to begin and end the time of prayer, reflective prayers, stories and topical monthly prayers regarding key meetings and negotiations. From the outset this is a jointly owned initiative and all those participating are invited to share their stories, pictures, prayers and resources.

Xxxxx add here local info as relevant  (To go live mid September)


See more at


Article written by Isabel Carter

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Wildlife Identification Skills

Judith Allinson CEL’s Web Editor writes: 

I would encourage CEL members to learn more about some aspect of Wildlife:

Try Flowers – or Bees – or Freshwater biology – Or Beetles – or Lichens –  or Dragonflies. This time of year is good for fungi.

You can go on courses at the Field Studies council in 17 Centres throughout UK

If you are not well off but are a student it is worth enquiring about bursaries

Or go out with your local natural history society.  They welcome new members.

There is a list of Natural History Societies in Yorkshire here  – You’ll have to do a web search for other counties

Perhaps you could encourage someone for your local natural history society to come and give a talk to a church group. Recently  I gave a talk to Clapham Age UK group (Clapham N Yorks) . The talk turned out well:

They were fascinated to see how beautiful lichens look under an illuminated lens. They were duly impressed when I showed them the flourescent green “Map Lichen” which grows on slate rocks three miles from Clapham – this lichen has been sent up on a Russian sputnik and held outside the capsule in space, subjected to cold temperatures, high radiation from the sun and a vacuum – yet on returning to earth it was able to continue grow.

I also showed them slides of local flowers. I was impressed how the ladies nearly all knew the names of the flowers – even  all the names of those that three of four different names such as Cuckoo Pint (Wild Arum, Lords and Ladies, Jack in the Pulpit). They were so pleased to tell me the names of the flowers that they had learned as a child, it was touching. I thought “How many 20 and 30 year olds would know the names?”. I also realised the importance of talking to people about things that they know, and especially,  listening to them.

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. I was delighted to hear about the “Church Goes Wild” events at Hurst Green in Lancashire where they have run events on Flowers, geology, lichens and a host of other topics for children and families.

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.  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.”






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What is our nitrogen footprint?

Putting too much “Active Nitrogen” into the air, soil, water and sea

In Dan O’Neill’s book Enough is Enough he refers to the work of Johan Rockström of the Stockholm Resilience Centre, whose proposition is that economic activity should respect planetary boundaries.  Johan Rockström identified nine of these:-  of which three are currently being exceeded.

Planetary boundaries

One of these is the Nitrogen Cycle. This describes the cycle by which the nitrogen that is present in different chemical forms in air, the soil, plants and water is converted from one form to another, some of the processes involved being natural, whilst others are driven by the activities of humans. Gaseous nitrogen (N2) in the air is inactive. The other forms e.g. NO2, NO, NH3 and NH4 compounds are “Active nitrogen”

The process for making industrial fertilizers on an industrial scale was invented exactly 100 years ago. These nitrogen fertilizers have enabled us to support a world population at least twice the size we could do without them.

The burning of fossil fuels and the prolific use of nitrogen fertilisers have had a dramatic impact on the nitrogen cycle.  Some of the negative results of this include increased greenhouse gas accumulations (nitrous oxide), accelerated ozone depletion (also caused by increased nitrous oxide), more acidic rain, too much nitrate in drinking water, and threats to fish from excessive ammonia and nitric acid. The active nitrogen compounds in rivers and lakes algae to grow in vast amounts, and when the algae dies in autumn, the bacteria breaking down the algae use up all the oxygen – so the fish and other water life die. e.g. the dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico

There is a good article and 8-minute video which explains more about the subject at the following link:  Here is the video explaining the carbon cycle

Elsewhere on this website, there is a calculator for measuring your personal nitrogen footprint:

After answering the questions, the calculator provides you with a chart showing the various contributions made to your overall nitrogen footprint by food, transport, housing and goods and services.

It isn’t worth worrying too much about giving precise answers. The most important observation is that for many people the nitrogen footprint of food consumption is likely to be far larger than all the other factors combined.

After answering the questions and looking at the result, it is worth then going back and adjusting the answers you have given for each category (eg how much dairy you consume) to see the effect on the chart.   Meat and dairy consumption make a large difference!

This post is based and expanded on an article written by David Miller for Milton Keynes Christian Environment Group.

Have you noticed  examples of changes in wildlife (plants and algae) in the UK which are occurring as a result of increased active nitrogen?

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People Climate March: 21 Sept 1pm London and elsewhere

The  People Climate March at London  will take place at 1pm on 21 Sept and a good number of CEL members will be there. – Sunday, September 21, 1:00 pm – 2, Temple Place, London

The Climate Coalition are organising buses from some locations and Avaaz can contribute to costs of buses if groups want to organise their own transport to London. There are other marches happening in Manchester and Edinburgh and smaller events in other locations: Gloucestershire (Sept 21) , Sheffield (Sept 21)  Huddersfield (Sept 19), Dudley  (21 Sept) etc.  Indeed, there are events right round the world. See This weekend has been chosen because in September, heads of state are going to New York City for a historic summit on climate change. says:

” Together, we’ll take to the streets to demand the world we know is within our reach: a world with an economy that works for people and the planet. A world safe from the ravages of climate change. A world with good jobs, clean air, and healthy communities for everyone. There is only one ingredient required: to change everything, we need everyone. Join us. – Sept 21st, 1pm Temple Place.

In the meantime we are really keen for all groups, organisations and individuals to get involved, organise actions to coincide and help facilitate a fantastic event. We are particularly interested in making the march as accessible and inclusive as possible and welcome all support.

You can register for the London event here or on facebook or through the Climate Coalition For the Love of campaign

An interfaith gathering is being planned to take place before the main London march at Victoria Embankment Gardens at 12-1pm, opposite Temple tube station. There is also an Anglican church service at 11am at St Mary le Strand, very close by.

In the meantime, the organising team are asking for volunteers to help put up posters and fliers about the march. Is anyone able to help? There is a collection point to get publicity materials from Avaaz offices in Farringdon and they can arrange for boxes to be sent to other locations around the country.

Do tell your friends about this. Here is a possible Tweet.

Save the date, #Sept21. Join the People’s #ClimateMarch #London. To change everything, we need everyone.


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Holy Hikes

Rev. Justin, a priest in The Episcopal Church in California wrote to tell us about Holy Hikes:-

It has been said “people will protect what they love.”

The idea of this ministry is simple, yet profound. Each month, we celebrate the Holy Eucharist in the context of a nature hike. At every Holy Hikes outing, instead of having a sermon we allow 10-20 minutes of silence to allow God’s Spirit who is “above all, through all, and in all” to speak to us through the beauty of our surroundings.

San-Bruno-32aHoly Hikes™ is an eco-ministry that strives to help individuals be renewed in their love-relationship with the earth, the universal church, and with their Creator.

We believe the environmental crisis today is, at its core, a broken relationship. It is a shattered relationship between the human community and the earth. There is legislation being pushed to address environmental issues and advocacy groups working to bring change to our destructive and unsustainable ways. Those are important.

History has also proven that a broken relationship is ultimately mended, not by the force of law, but rather by the slow laborious work of rebuilding that relationship. Even in the environmental movement, the earth can be subjugated and treated as just an object that we care for, rather than as a subject with which we are in relationship.

Holy Hikes calls us to relate to all of creation in a communion-centered way. Change will come with legislation and cheaper green products, but we believe transformation will come as we reestablish our communion with all of life. The Rev. Thomas Berry writes, “There is no such thing as ‘human community’ without the earth and the soil and the air and the water and all the living forms. Without these, humans do not exist. In my view, the human community and the natural world will go into the future as a single sacred community or we will both perish in the desert.”

The idea of this ministry is simple, yet profound. Each month, we celebrate the Holy Eucharist in the context of a nature hike. At every Holy Hikes outing, instead of having a sermon we allow 10-20 minutes of silence to allow God’s Spirit who is “above all, through all, and in all” to speak to us through the beauty of our surroundings.

The readings also take on new meaning and deeper significance, since so often Jesus teaches using natural imagery—birds, lilies, seeds, fields, etc.

On one recent liturgical hike, walking along the bluffs of Lands End, San Francisco, and descending from a stone labyrinth to the beach where we would conclude the Eucharist, I found myself hiking alongside eight-year-old Gabrielle. She said with an inquiring tone, “I didn’t know we could do church outside…” I talked about God’s presence being everywhere and the vision behind Holy Hikes and she exclaimed, “I think God meant for us to do church outdoors!” As it is written, “From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise.” Indeed!

We would love to see official Holy Hikes chapters and affiliate eco-ministries planted and networked together around the world and are looking for individuals interests in being a part of this new way of being church. In planting local Holy Hikes chapters, we would be able to authorize you to use our trademarked Holy Hikes name to promote your group like “Holy Hikes- Paris” or “Holy Hikes- London,” would provide you with counseling on best practices, and would offer ongoing personal support. Alternatively, if you already have an eco-ministry up and running perhaps you would be interested in joining as an affiliate ministry to pray for, promote, and support one another.

Visit to learn more about Holy Hikes, starting a local chapter, or becoming an affiliate ministry.   See the resources


(Editor: See also in UK: Forest Church and the new book with resources on this topic)


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ARocha’s ‘Love Forests’ campaign

A Rocha’s ‘Love Forests’ campaign supports a range of activities to protect and restore endangered forests. We want to see both the people and the wildlife that rely on them thriving together.

The Arabuko-Sokoke Forest, on the Kenyan coast, is one Africa’s most important forests for wildlife. A small antelope, the weird Golden-rumped Elephant-shrew and six very rare birds, including the tiny Sokoke Scops Owl, are almost entirely confined to this forest. When A Rocha began to work here, many local people illegally felled the trees, but our long-term involvement with them is changing attitudes. Villagers now want to protect this remarkable forest for themselves and future generations.

Most of the once-extensive Huarango forests on the SE coast of Peru have been felled, but the remnants still play a major role in traditional agriculture, providing farmers and their stock with much-needed shade. Our reforestation project planted 26,000 Huarango (and other native trees) with communities in Ica over a three-year period, and we are now planting more new forests in the north of the country.

The Asian Elephant is classified as ‘Endangered’ by IUCN as their numbers have been rapidly decreasing, mainly due to the destruction and fragmentation of their forest habitats and conflicts with the expanding human population. A Rocha India has been studying the herds in Bannerghatta National Park and investigated the pattern of conflicts between elephants and farmers around the park, leading to the introduction of chilli-tobacco barriers which are helping to protect crops – and elephants.

Climate Stewards  is part of the A Rocha network and offers voluntary carbon offsetting through tree-planting projects in Ghana. Working with A Rocha Ghana, we enable schools and local communities to plant indigenous trees which not only lock up carbon, but improve livelihoods through agro-forestry and sustainable forest products, and restore local biodiversity as new forest areas are created. Local farmer Afsha Alhadji Dramani (pictured) says she likes the cool shade on her land and is proud of what she has achieved. ‘If we were given support I would plant more trees,’ she says. ‘We have birds and butterflies. Before, the place was bare; now we have forest.’

The Climate Stewards message is about encouraging organisations and individuals to ‘reduce what you can and offset what you can’t’. Through our web-based calculator, organisations and individuals can offset any combination of flights, land travel, office heat and power and other carbon emissions. Our partners choose to offset their carbon emissions for various reasons, but many see it as part of their desire to be good stewards of the environment, and to make that clear to their partners and supporters.

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Busking for awareness

100_1611CEL members George Dow and Ruth Jarman, with her family and friends, played music and handed out CEL leaflets at the Evangelical Christian Festival, New Wine, last week.


Although Dave Bookless from A Rocha spoke to a packed venue earlier in the week, George, Ruth and their friends think that New Wine could say more about the earthing of our gospel and  decided to do something about it.100_1606

People walking past were very happy to take Storm of Hope and 9 ways, and we hope and pray that they will be challenged and inspired by what they read.

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