“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9
I’m so encouraged knowing that so many of you are celebrating and protecting creation all year round. And how do I know? Managing A Rocha UK’s social media accounts gives me a virtual taste of what’s happening on the ground (and within it). This unique position is humbling and heartwarming, and I wouldn’t be doing my communications job justice without sharing some highlights from happenings outside of the Season of Creation, 1 September – 4 October.
There’s the amazing Salvation Army Watford allotment, lovingly managed with the support and skills of local primary school children. Their efforts are documented here on X (Twitter). And how could I not mention @mancmapper’s infamous Shaun the Sheep gifs accompanying Eco Church news in the Diocese of Manchester? Lichfield has brought us close to smelling the roses via their virtual cathedral garden walkabout throughout the summer. Last but not least, there are the steady hold-up-your-eco-church-plaque-and-say-cheese posts. Please know I’m smiling and equally delighted at your award achievement this side of the screen!
Yet, for every post I see, there are hundreds more I don’t. Thank God our good Father sees it all – every good deed, new bug hotel built, eco-product switch, and petition signed registers a heavenly notification. God sees and God ‘likes’!
When I’m not admiring your green spaces, recycling points and bird boxes online, I occasionally venture out into the real world and visit the projects of our Partners in Action and Eco Churches. I’ve been fortunate to visit several as part of our Act for Nature events over the last two years. Here, I’ve witnessed the commitment of not just our Partners (now with 46 sites between us across the UK) but our supporters’ sheer dedication and willingness to get their hands dirty for creation.
Creation brings people together in creative and special ways. At the Christian conference centre, Scargill House in Yorkshire, I learned much from listening to participants share their experiences and the challenges of embedding eco-practices in their churches. At Hilfield Friary retreat centre in Dorset, I was deeply impressed by Richard Thornbury’s 45-minute presentation on hedges and thankful for the new understanding of their importance.
Caring for creation brings people together from all ages and walks of life. At our Wolf Fields nature reserve, we had a now-retired Trustee of A Rocha UK and our ex-Education Officer back for more action and on their knees in the sensory garden, happily digging and planting new shrubs in preparation for next year’s school visits. Holding a hose pipe a few metres away was our new intern, a young woman volunteering one day a week on her gap year to look after Wolf Field’s bees. Another Act for Nature guest, who isn’t a Christian but had heard about our event via the Zero Hour campaign newsletter, was an enthusiastic gardening team member. Not far away, in the allotment area, five more people from different churches were busy working out the best method for planting radishes.
Such events are organised, in part, to inspire those participating, but over and over, I’m struck by how inspired and energised we, the staff team, come away from spending time with our supporters and friends. After all, you are the ones faithfully praying, petition-signing, litter picking, tree planting, quietly instilling the eco changes we long to see and urgently need in our local communities. A Rocha UK sees and ‘likes’ too!
Bringing it back to the online world where I mostly spend my days, I present a retrospective challenge for us all via a Facebook post from St Columba’s URC in early June (please have a read of the image before proceeding).
Reading the above post hand in hand with the spirit of not giving up (Galatians 9:6), can we prayerfully ask our Helper: what progress could we be celebrating on World Environment Day in June 2024 if we took action this month? What more can we build upon? What new projects can we start? Answers on a post[card], please.
Image taken at the Wolf Field’s Act for Nature Day: Learning about Zero Hour’s campaign and supporting it by writing postcards to our MPs about the Climate and Ecology Emergency Bill. If enacted, this proposed new law will ensure that the UK addresses the climate and nature crises together.
This reflection was written by A Rocha UK’s Communications Officer, Jennifer Plummer for our Wild Christian email, ‘nature and campaigning. Sign up here to receive future Wild Christian emails.