Your prayers have made a huge difference. From just one local conservation project in Southall 20 years ago, God has grown our work so that we now have a national reach - helping churches, advising other Christian charities managing land, and supporting individuals and families to care for the natural world around them. We are amazed at where God has led us and so grateful to you for being part of this journey and for helping to make it happen through your support.
We now stand looking forward to the next five years, having launched our new vision and strategy for 2021-25 and this summer moving into our new national office in Brentford. In the face of accelerating climate change and species loss, our work needs your prayers more than ever. Over the coming five years we are seeking to encourage more Christian organisations (whether individual retreat centres or whole denominations) to manage their land for nature, more churches and Christians to engage in practical action to protect nature and address climate change, and more people to benefit from access to nature on land owned or managed by churches, Christian organisations and individuals.
Thank you so much for joining us in prayer. We believe that together our individual actions and prayers will make a difference as we seek to protect and restore the environment around us for the blessing of all in our communities and to the glory of God.
This last weekend was National Meadows Day (3 July), so this week we give thanks for our very own rural nature reserve, Foxearth Meadows, in Essex. On 10 July we will be welcoming local churches to Foxearth Meadows and demonstrating conservation ideas to help them explore how they can steward their own land for nature. Pray that the local churches attending will be inspired to do more on their own land and in their local communities.
Please pray for our team at Foxearth Meadows - Mark (Reserve Manager), Andy (Volunteer Community Engagement Officer) and their team of volunteers. Pray for the events they are running at the reserve this summer (outdoor services, art days, dawn chorus and bat walks, school visits) and that all those attending will be inspired and blessed by spending time in this peaceful refuge for nature. May their eyes be opened to the wonder of God’s creation.
Give thanks for our urban nature reserve, Wolf Fields, in Southall, west London. We especially give thanks for the dedicated work of Kailean, our Reserve Manager, his wife Kim and the team of committed volunteers. Please pray for the team as the reserve opens up more after many months of restrictions and welcomes more visitors from the local community over the summer.
Give thanks for the links being developed with local GP surgeries and that Wolf Fields is now registered as a social prescribing project. Visits to the reserve are now being prescribed to improve physical and mental well-being. Pray for those visiting Wolf Fields who are in need of restoration, that the reserve would become a place of peace and healing for them where they can experience God’s gentle and loving touch.
We give thanks this month for our expanding network of conservation Partners in Action. The network currently supports twenty Christian land-holding organisations to improve the quality and biodiversity of their land, share their learning, and encourage them to work to engage their local communities. The network includes churches, Christian retreat and conference centres, community farms, schools and youth adventure centres across the UK.
Despite the difficult challenges partners have been facing this last year - with many shut to visitors and suffering a severe loss of revenue as a result - they have continued to remain not only hope-filled but determined to press ahead with conservation work. Please pray for the partners who have been particularly hard-hit by the pandemic, for wisdom for their leaders and for ongoing endurance to come through this crisis.
Give thanks for the new partners that have recently joined the network: Stampwell Farm, The Rock Christian Fellowship (in the overseas territory of St Helena), Ringsfield Hall Eco Activity Centre, Aldermoor Community Farm, Tinhay Retreats, Blacknest Forest School and Hugh’s Meadow. Please pray for our new partners as they seek to manage their land for nature and tell their visitors about God’s love for his creation.
Give thanks for Regina, in her role as Partner in Action Coordinator, as she supports this growing network. Pray that she would be able to inspire, encourage and advise the partners in their conservation activities and build good relationships with new partners and with the conservation staff on the ground.
Give thanks for all those churches that are participating in the Climate Sunday initiative and holding their own Climate Sundays between now and the COP26 climate negotiations in November. Please pray for wisdom and good judgement for A Rocha UK CEO Andy Atkins who is chairing the coalition. Pray for the National Climate Sunday service on 5 September in Glasgow Cathedral. This will be a celebration of the commitments made by churches from all four nations of the UK over the preceding months with the intention of exerting influence on the government in the final weeks before COP26. Pray that even more churches will take this opportunity to commit to reducing their impact on the planet and to speak up for a greener, fairer future.
During the Season of Creation (1 September - 4 October), give thanks to our Creator God for his wonderful creation. Take the opportunity to enjoy it. Ask him to give us wisdom on how we, as those made in his image, can better steward the creatures and habitats in his beautiful earth.
Give thanks for all the churches across many different denominations that are participating in our Eco Church programme. We celebrated the 5th anniversary of Eco Church at the start of 2021 and are encouraged by the number of churches which continue to sign up month by month. We now have over 3,700 churches registered across England and Wales and have issued over 1,200 awards. Please pray for these churches as they seek to restore their patch of the environment and to reach out to, work with and bless their local community through their actions. Please pray for the individuals and teams within these churches who are working so passionately to raise awareness and make a difference.
Please pray for our Churches team - Helen (Church Relations Manager), Sara and Lissy (Eco Church Support Officers), Sarah who has been working on our Eco Church resources project, and committed volunteers Simon & Elaine (who co-ordinate and support the A Rocha UK speaker programme) and David (who has supported Eco Church in a number of ways). Please pray for the team as they seek to inspire, encourage, support and resource the growing Eco Church community.
More Christians than ever are recognising that creation care is an integral part of Christian mission. Give thanks for the interest in our Wild Christian programme for individuals and families, which now has over 3,500 community members. We have exciting plans to develop the programme further and to have community members help to shape and lead it. Pray for Jen who coordinates Wild Christian and for the right people to come forward for the volunteer team so that we can expand the programme to connect with, inspire and equip more people.