Our wasteland-to-wonderland vision for our urban reserve, Wolf Fields, has always been about seeing nature and people flourishing.
Buzzing with both bees and volunteers from all walks of life, the maintenance of this wildlife haven is down to the tireless commitment of the local community.
This summer Wolf Fields has been spreading the message of what is possible on a small patch of urban land much further. From outdoor services to prayer and worship, it’s a joy to have local churches too using the space creatively and enjoying God’s creation firsthand. Take the New Life Masih Ghar Church in Heston, for example. On a hot afternoon at the end of June, a working party came along for prayer walk and to weed and cut back overgrown vegetation in our sensory garden area. ‘It’s such a joy to be able to work and worship, and be a part of this transformation work,’ said one of the congregation members.
On 20 July, Wolf Fields held a successful Churches Open Afternoon. Church leaders and others with an interest in exploring what conservation measures their church can do, were invited from the local area. 25 people attended from 13 churches across the denominational spectrum. They had the opportunity to see the transformative work on a tour led by Reserve Manager, Kailean Khongsai, understand the diversity of conservation activities that are possible and what to learn about what can be replicated in church yards.
Participants, many from Eco Churches, were guided through a live practical exercise – growing native wildflowers in a small space – and encouraged to reflect and pray about how seeds of hope could be sown in their own communities. A Rocha provided free wildflower seed packs, courtesy of the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew. It was a chance to be inspired by CEO, Andy Atkins, on how mission and environment can work together and hear stories of hope from our Eco Church programme from our Church Relations Manager, Helen Stephens. The event ended with a vibrant discussion, with all sharing their questions, ideas and experiences.
Shirley Smith from St John’s Hillingdon, an Eco Church that has gained a Silver Award said, ‘Our visit to Wolf Fields has opened up for us a new way of thinking. At our churchyard in Hillingdon, we have been going down the ‘neat , tidy and manicured look’ in our restoration work. We can now see that there is another way: areas of tidiness alongside areas filled with beautiful meadow flowers and grasses teeming with wildlife. Thank you A Rocha for opening our eyes to so many possibilities.’