Safe at Last! Pat Stancliffe
It is often said that the wheels of bureaucracy turn ever so slow. Well, when it comes to installing bike racks in the grounds of a church, which just happens to be a Grade 2 listed building, that is certainly the case. As with any alteration to the church building we had to apply for a faculty from the Diocese, and having got that approval, we then needed the consent of the Local Authority.
Our first application was turned down because it lacked ‘sufficient gravitas’, a quality we had not realised was essential in bike racks. However, the positioning of the racks was moved a little further to the north of the main entrance and gravitas was achieved!
Care for Creation Sunday
Christmas and Easter are firmly established in our minds as regular times of celebration. Harvest Festival in England arose in the mid-19th century as a time to give thanks for the earth’s bounty. It is also a time to think about those who have so little in natural resources (in the UK and abroad) and share our blessings with them.
On 3 July everyone will be encouraged to walk, to cycle or to share lifts.
We set ourselves goals to reduce the CO2 emissions from travelling to and from Church - now we need to see how we are getting on.
Now at St Mary’s, we take time at the beginning of summer to consider our responsibility to Care for God’s creation.
Providing these racks was part of our churches ‘Travel Plan’, just one initiative from our Greener Church Team, who are dedicated to improving our environment and reducing our carbon footprint.
So, with that in mind, it’s time to dust off the saddle, oil the cogs, pump up the tyres, and pedal your way to church on Sunday. Think of the benefits to our environment, and not least to your cardiovascular system.
Your bike will be safe and don’t worry; it will not be inspected for gravitas!
In Genesis 1, the first chapter of the Bible, humanity is given responsibility to master the earth, and all that is in it. It is our place in the world to explore, to discover, to develop, to care, to conserve, to farm, to garden, to husband animals, to create beauty – on God’s behalf. We are not owners but stewards, and the creation is to be our masterpiece.
But we also need to take action in our own lives. We need to remind ourselves that wasting energy is expensive and damaging. At home, our supplier gave us ameter to measure our electricity consumption: it was amazing to see how much money was being spent when we thought everything was switched off!
A friend of mine told me about hypermiling (yes, a real word - ‘The Best New Word of the Year’ for New Oxford American Dictionary in 2008!). He has a car that tells him how many miles per gallon it is running at. The challenge is not simply to watch the numbers, but drive with the fuel consumption as low as one can get (e.g. by keeping tyres at pressure, not going at maximum speed, and by careful braking).
On Sunday 3 July we will think again about our place in God’s world.
For the past year we have been quietly researching and reflecting on our environmental impact. But now with the cycle- racks installed, it is time to think again about how we travel to church – and take action.
There are things all of us can do to conserve what we have inherited and add beauty and value to it for the next generation. We call it Caring for Creation.
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