Ovingdean News November 2021
November is a busy month…. We have the start of Advent of course on the 28th of November, but before then we have those important moments where we give thanks for those who have gone before us and those who have given service to both church and country. We start with giving thanks for the saints of the church on All Saints Day, then we remember our loved ones who are no longer with us on All Souls and of course we then respect and mark the sacrifices of the armed services on Remembrance Sunday. I hope you will be able to join us as we mark these sacred and important dates in the calendar.
Last month we held our Climate Sunday evening service as part of our United Nation Climate Change conference (COP 26) preparations. We came together to give thanks for creation, to lament the damage we are collectively causing the planet and finally, to really start thinking about what we need to do to both halt and reverse this damage.
The situation is serious. The World Council of Churches has stated that the ecological crisis, including the climate emergency is ‘bringing us to the brink of mass suffering and destruction’. In February the Church of England General Synod passed a resolution recognising that ‘the global climate emergency is a crisis for God’s creation, and a fundamental injustice’. The resolution included the following quote from Archbishop Justin Welby: “It becomes ever clearer that climate change is the greatest challenge that we and future generations face. It’s our sacred duty to protect the natural world we’ve so generously been given, as well as our neighbours around the world who will be first and worst affected. Without swift decisive action the consequences of climate change will be devastating.”
St Wulfran’s takes its responsibilities towards the environment seriously and we have adopted a challenging Environment Policy and I’m pleased to say we have just been recognised as a Bronze Standard Eco Church. We have more work to do of course and I hope we will achieve the Silver Standard soon.
A few months ago I talked about that beloved poem Footprints where it is revealed to us that when we are experiencing the most difficult times in our lives, Jesus is not just there, he is carrying us. I wholeheartedly believe this to be the case but I was moved by a recent retake of this teaching. In this version we see a single track of footprints in the sand ….and the person says ‘ Oh Lord what was happening when I only saw one set of footprints on the beach and then the Lord says ‘it was then that I lapped you’. This image helps me wonder, what if God is walking, even running ahead of us...we are asked to follow and God is trying to set both direction and the pace….saying ‘Come on, I’m asking you to understand new things, to move into new things, to leave the place you are …...I want you to be transformed and healed. Come on, follow me and let's make a better world; don't
let me lap you’.
I am writing this note on the Feast of St Teresa of Avila, Doctor of the Church, and her prayer and guidance seems pertinent to all of this - that we have to both change and act. ‘Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body. Christ has no body now on earth but yours’.
The world is in our hands, the question is what are we going to do? Ahead of the COP 26 climate change summit, Her Majesty the Queen was overheard saying that she was irritated by people who "talk" but "don't do". Pope Francis, a champion of the environment, I think would agree with these sentiments and has reflected that ‘Many things have to change of course, but it is we human beings above all who need to change’.
On November the 7th at 10am we will be holding our All Age Service and its theme will be care for the environment. I invite you to join us, to celebrate the gift of creation and commit afresh to those things we need to do, to make the difference needed, to keep up with God.