Category Archives: Environment

Second Hand September

The average lifespan for an item of clothing is 3.3 years. A whopping 336,000 tonnes of used clothing are sent to landfill every year in the UK. 

Second Hand September

Last year Oxfam launched Second Hand September as a way of helping us move towards more sustainable consumption. This year one of the ways in which we can help to Build Back Better is to buy only second hand clothes for the month of September. In fact, to buy second hand for many things. Or perhaps to declutter some of those overfilled wardrobes and donate some of your surplus to charity!

World Environment Day 2020

Today is World Environment Day and the theme is Time For Nature.

We are part of Nature and to look after ourselves we must look after Nature.

What are you doing to take care of Nature and yourself?

Take time today to think about how your life and Nature are intertwined and how you are dependent on the rest of Nature.

And why not share your thoughts here?

https://www.worldenvironmentday.global/

Lent Pledges

This Lent why not take a pledge to try and reduce your carbon footprint and your impact on the planet? The Diocese of Leeds has a Climate Vision 10 pledges with tips on how to try and achieve them at https://www.leeds.anglican.org/environment/what-can-i-do

And if you want to take Pledge 1 have a look at https://allhallowsleeds.org/2017/06/13/green-energy/

Climate Change: heartache and hope

A service bringing together Christians from across Leeds to reflect, lament and take action in care of the planet in the face of a climate crisis is taking place at St George’s Church on Monday 30th March at 6:30pm. There will be space to lament what we are losing, prayers for the future and workshops to engage in actions alongside others.

Arrive from 6.15pm to grab a cuppa. The service, which will include break out time for workshops, will start at 6.30pm and finish by 8.30pm. Please book here.

There will be workshops on:

  • Local church responses – exploring what local churches can do
  • Civil disobedience – exploring how we can get involved in direct action
  • Craftivism -exploring how we can use positive and encouraging forms of activism to make a change
  • Advocacy – exploring how we can make our voice heard to those in power
  • A quiet reflective space instead of a workshop

Carbon Conversations Taster Session

The Leeds Faith for Climate Action Group are running a Carbon Conversations Taster Session. If you are concerned about your own personal carbon footprint but find it difficult to make a change then why not come along to the Leeds Church Institute on Tuesday 25th February at 6:30pm. Please book by emailing events@leedschurchinstitute.org

Climate and Travel

Leeds Methodist Mission and is hosting an evening of learning and reflection on Thursday 27th February about how we can all make more sustainable travel choices.

From our daily commute to our summer holiday, we all make choices about how we travel and this has an impact on the planet.

We are invited to an evening discussing the challenges and joys of trying to make more sustainable, carbon light choices. Everyone is welcome, whether you fly weekly or haven’t flown for 10 years.

As part of our everyday activism events we always take some small positive actions to encourage systemic change and this will be no different.

There will be food from 6pm and content from 6.30pm, finishing by 8.30pm. Please book here.

Protect. Restore. Fund.

At this time of Creationtide, and on this day when hundreds of thousands are striking around the globe and taking time to protest about the way we are trashing God’s Creation, let us all take time to think about our part in defending #naturenow.

Here is a video by the amazing Greta Thunberg and the pretty amazing George Monbiot!

Creation Liturgy

The following video is made using part of the liturgy that we use at All Hallows during Creation Season.

In the Beginning

Voice 1: In the beginning, God created.

Voice 2: God spoke, and created the heavens and the earth; light and darkness, day and night; land and sea; sun, moon and stars.

And God saw that it was good.

Voice 1: In the beginning, God created.

Voice 2: God spoke, and plants grew: trees and shrubs, flowers and fruit. And God saw that it was good.

Voice 1: In the beginning, God created.

Voice 2: God spoke again, and the seas filled with fish, birds flew in the sky, and animals of all kinds roamed the earth.

And God saw that it was good.

Voice 1: In the beginning, God created.

Voice 2: God spoke, and created human beings, men, women and children, created in the image of God, given the world to care for.

God saw everything that God had made, and indeed it was very good.

Confession

But we have forgotten to care for the world.

In our mindlessness we are ravaging the earth, poisoning the air, polluting the water.

We are destroying our fellow creatures and ourselves.

God our maker, so move us by the wonder of creation

that we repent and care more deeply.

So move us to grieve the loss of life

that we learn to cherish and protect your world.

(Music used by permission: “O Radiant Dawn” by James MacMillan sung by the St Peter’s Singers on their album One Equal Music)

Sermon by Toby Parsons 1st September 2019

Notes from the sermon by Toby Parsons 1st September 2019

Creation Season (Earth)

Readings:
Psalm 139:13-16
Luke 8:22-25

Can I invite you to close your eyes, and to start forming a picture in your mind of somewhere on this earth that you find beautiful?
It might be the rugged coast of Northumberland, with long windswept beaches and an endless sea.
It might be a gentle piece of nature much nearer to home – a corner of your garden, or an open park, where you can sit and just be.
Or it might be right within the bustle of Leeds itself – or a panorama of skyscrapers in a megacity; beauty in busy-ness.
You may or may not have been there; perhaps you’ve only seen pictures.
And as you hold that image in your mind, try to see some of the detail – maybe the birds and insects that move along that windswept coast, or the ornate decoration on one of the buildings in the background. [brief pause]
If you can just hold that image in the back of your mind, we’ll return to it in a few minutes.

So, this is the start of Creation Season at All Hallows. Over the next month we’ll particularly celebrate God as Creator – the fountain of life, to use the words from the start of our Creation Season liturgy. Over four weeks, we’ll focus in turn on earth, air, water and fire as the themes for our sermons.
So today, we’re thinking about the earth – although apologies in advance for straying a little from that theme! But the earth… the incredible place God has created for us, and to which we are so fundamentally connected. One of the Hebrew words for ground or earth which is used in the book of Gensis is Adamah. The link to Adam as one of the first humans in the creation story reinforces that connection between humankind, Adam, and the earth, Adamah. We originated from the earth, and in a physical sense we’ll return to it – “dust to dust, ashes to ashes”, as we hear at funeral services.

We heard a version of the first chapter of Genesis at the start of our service today, and many will know the biblical creation story very well. Whilst most Christians today are comfortable with not taking it literally, there are many points we could draw out. We could look at the fact that God created humans last, not first. Or we could focus on the example of resting and reviewing work well done, as God did multiple times. But for now, I just wonder why it took seven days?
God didn’t rest at the end of each day because of tiredness. There wasn’t that Friday-feeling of “thank goodness it’s all over for another week”, or an exhausted flomp on the sofa. God wasn’t tired.
And it’s not that God couldn’t have summoned everything into being in one go. Creation could indeed have been described in the bible as a big bang: an explosion of God’s creative power.
Amazing. Immediate.
But instead we have a six stage journey – seven, if you include the day of rest. And perhaps we should take from that a suggestion, a reminder, that creation isn’t a single event that happens and finishes.
Later on in our service today, we’ll be invited to join in saying the affirmation of faith(1) together. The opening line of the version we use during Creation Season is “We believe that God creates all things, renews all things, and holds all things in love”. At other times of the year, our liturgy uses the phrase “We believe in God, who has created and is creating”. It’s an on-going process, not a one-off event.
As individuals, we‘ve been created – individually and specially, not accidentally. Just as the earth is the sum of so many different parts, we are each a unique combination of our skills, our personalities, our experiences. If we call to mind again that image of somewhere in the world we find beautiful, it will surely have many parts to it. Even if it’s a mighty river, it’s perhaps got a
backdrop of clear blue sky, or lush vegetation on the banks. And that’s before we get to the subtle detail – the swirling eddies, the shadows, the reflection of the sun. Whatever our image, it will be made complete by many different things, and removing one of them – even the supposed least; even the most painful, if we think now of the experiences that form us – will diminish the whole.
And so, we are individually made; our completeness being in our complexity. And to hear again the opening words of the affirmation of faith, “We believe that God creates all things, renews all things, and holds all things in love”.
If creation is a journey, a process that doesn’t stop; if we believe that God does indeed renew all things; then we haven’t just been created, but we – and the whole of humankind – are continually being re-created, renewed.
Let’s go back again to the image in our minds – the place that you find beautiful. Maybe close your eyes again, if that’s helpful. And now try to picture it if we gradually turned back time: a day; a year; a decade; a century; or right back to Jesus’s time. Depending on your image, it might be very obviously different when you get to the Victorian era, the middle ages, the time of Christ. Certainly any stamp of human activity will have changed. But it may initially feel much the same – hills or coastline would still be there. They would change, however – beaches vary with both the daily tide and the effect of the currents over the years; even rivers change their course… if my vague memories of secondary school geography are correct, a river’s course meanders in curves, which can then separate to form distinct ox-bow lakes. This leads to a part of the river that had been a swirling churning current becoming a still, calm lake. And then later in time, it perhaps rejoins the main river.
Some of the changes we see in our world are accelerated at the moment by human actions, through climate change and the abuse of our environment. Some changes will naturally happen anyhow. Whatever the cause, creation is an on-going process.
So what does that mean for each of us?

I wonder if, for most people, life is a mixture of regular, routine, repeated experiences, and the specific events that stand out much more. We might have that combination of nerves, excitement and refreshed interest when we start a new school, begin a different job, or commit to a new relationship. We don’t know at that point exactly how those steps will shape our lives in the future, although we may have a plan as to how we see things developing. But we can’t be sure what will happen, even if we do know that these are moments of creation, of new opportunity.
Some of these events won’t be positive. There are times when our individual world will be turned upside down; when an unwanted intrusion of grief, anger or hurt punctures our routine of life. Sometimes that will be in ways everyone else can see; at other times it may be much more hidden. Sometimes we’ll wonder why this should have happened to us; at other times we might devalue the pain we feel because of all the headlines of suffering we see in the world.
These events, and the potentially long and slow journey of healing that follows the most painful ones, are important moments in our very own creation story; our journey of renewal.
So where does that journey lead? If we turn back to the bible – and resist the temptation for our fingers to flick to Genesis at the mention of creation! – we can see in the gospels how Jesus himself embodied those concepts of creation and renewal.
We can read the practical accounts (which, unusually, are found in all four gospels) of Jesus creating meals for thousands from a few loaves and fishes. We can see in many emotionally charged verses that he created excitement and fervour in the crowds. Conversely we read of Jesus calming the storm in Luke 8 – creating physical stillness and removing the disciples’ fear. And Jesus created peace around many who were troubled – think of John 8, verse 9, when Jesus is left alone with the woman caught in adultery, after her accusers have withdrawn one by one following
Jesus’s challenge to throw the first stone. John may not have said it, but you can imagine the stillness, the relief, but also the remaining pain, with Jesus waiting quietly for the woman to digest what’s just happened.
Jesus creates, in so many different ways. But even he is also renewed by God throughout his earthly life. He comes to his active ministry over time; he gradually teaches his disciples; he struggles in the garden of Gethsemane with the knowledge of his coming death (Mark 14, from verse 32). And then comes the cross, the moment when it might all have stopped; the ultimate test of destruction versus the on-going power of creation.

There are many fantastic Easter hymns, resurrection hymns, that abound with joy and promise, and I love that rejoicing on Easter Sunday. But some of the words can feel so triumphalist, so certain of victory, that they don’t always match our life experiences throughout the year.
But the middle lines of Thine Be The Glory say “Lo! Jesus meets us, Risen from the tomb; Lovingly He greets us, Scatters fear and gloom”. Again, we have the present tense – meets us, greets us, scatters fear… not once, I’d suggest, but many times throughout our lives, as part of that process of creation, re-creation, renewal. And the meeting doesn’t have to be at those massive moments, but in the routine times too – Jesus rises to greet us each and every day. And whilst the now scattered gloom probably does reform at another point in our life, Jesus will again offer to meet us there, creating and renewing.
Our affirmation of faith today starts “We believe that God creates all things, renews all things, and holds all things in love”. It concludes “We believe that with Jesus Christ we too will rise and take our place in a new creation, reconciled, restored, and renewed”. There may be a long and often painful journey before we reach that final statement, but each step – whether big or small; whether forwards, backwards or sideways; however painful – is part of our own creation story, which God writes with us, in love.

1 Affirmation of faith in Creation Season
We believe that God creates all things, renews all things, and holds all things in love. We believe Earth is a sacred place filled with God’s presence, a home for all its creatures to share. We believe that God became a man of Earth, Jesus Christ, who lived and breathed among us, suffered and died on a cross, for all human beings and for all creation, and rose again to fill all things. We believe the Spirit renews life in the world, groans together with every suffering creature, and waits with us for the whole universe to be reborn. We believe that with Jesus Christ we too will rise and take our place in a new creation, reconciled, restored, and renewed.

Sunday 1st September 2019 – Creation 1

The first Sunday of a new month and of a new season! This Sunday sees that start of Autumn and is also the start of Creation Season in the church’s liturgical year. Over the next four Sundays we will be looking at Creation under the four topics of Earth, Air, Fire and Water. Toby Parsons will be leading us this Sunday as we reflect on “Earth”.

As this is the first Sunday of the month we will also be having a bring and share lunch together so do please, if possible, bring some food to share as we celebrate the abundance of God’s Creation and His love for us all.

The first day of September has also been set aside as World Day of Prayer for Creation and here is a prayer written by Pope Francis that we can use to guide our thoughts and prayers, today and throughout the year in this time of ecological and social crisis:

A Prayer for Our Earth

All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe

and in the smallest of your creatures.

You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.

Pour out upon us the power of your love,

that we may protect life and beauty.

Fill us with peace, that we may live

as brothers and sisters, harming no one.

O God of the poor,

help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth,

so precious in your eyes.

Bring healing to our lives,

that we may protect the world and not prey on it,

that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.

Touch the hearts

of those who look only for gain

at the expense of the poor and the earth.

Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,

to be filled with awe and contemplation,

to recognize that we are profoundly united

with every creature

as we journey towards your infinite light.

We thank you for being with us each day.

Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle

for justice, love and peace.

For further prayers and resources see https://seasonofcreation.org/