Milverton, Somerset

From the Diocese in July

Join us on the Pathway to Net Zero

In the run up to COP26, the UN Environment Conference that takes place in Glasgow in November 2021, churches are being encouraged to consider how they can take steps to care for our planet.

David Maggs, the Environment Champion for the Church of England in Somerset says, “In 2020 our new environmental strategy was approved. The Covid pandemic forestalled a major launch of the strategy, but as things start to return to normal we hope we can start to help people consider how they and their church can help care for creation. While we recognise many churches are still not open and not everyone is able to meet in person, there are still many ways to get involved.

“Already this year over 300 people from across Somerset have taken part in Wilder Churches training, a joint initiative with the Somerset Wildlife Trust as well as Churches Count on Nature Week and we really hope we can continue to build momentum and ensure that church communities across Somerset are doing all they can to care for this wonderful planet God has provided us with.”

From the first of July you can simply committing to pray on the first of each month. Or register with Eco Church to see how sustainable your church is and to commit to making improvements. The Church of England has a Practical Pathway to Net Zero tool, a good starting point for churches trying to move towards ‘net zero’, a position where there is a balance between the carbon emitted into the atmosphere, and the carbon removed from it.

For more ideas and inspiration keep an eye on the Diocese of Bath and Wells website and social channels.

God’s gift to humankind

The leaves of the trees will be for the healing of the nations. Rev. 22.2

A few days spent recently in the Lakes gave us a much anticipated opportunity to visit the new RHS garden, Bridgewater, near Manchester. Created in the ruins of the much overgrown walled garden of a long gone great house, the garden is the result of co-operation between the RHS and the City Council.

While the Paradise Garden with its pools and flowing water reminded me of the river of life in the Revelation, it was the therapeutic garden which captured my imagination. A number of charities working in inner Manchester with people whose lives are deeply affected by issues of mental health and social deprivation had approached the RHS to explore the possibility of creating a working garden to be grown and maintained by the various communities involved. The result is stunning both visually and mentally.

To aid the development the partners decided to allocate some of their limited financial resources towards the appointment of a full time occupational therapeutic gardener. Talking with her and reading the display boards around the garden we discovered that for many of those involved not only was this their first experience of gardening but more importantly the physical work and interaction is giving them a hope and purpose in life in ways that nothing else had been able to achieve.

The Revelation speaks of a world transformed and made new by God; the very stuff of the earth, trees and water, bringing new life to what was tired and old. The Scriptures remind us that the earth is God’s gift to humankind to be tended and cherished; to be used for the good of all.

But let the last word be that of the therapeutic gardener “we can care for others; we can care for the earth. All we need is a vision and the will.”

With my blessing
Trevor Willmott
Assistant Bishop, Diocese of Bath and Wells