Life on our planet

Attenborough, has, for me, acted like a moral compass, providing evidence of wonder and beauty, harm and degradation.


I’m writing this week about the need to become truer to ourselves. The age old way that this has been exercised in the Christian Church has been through penance or confession. We cannot begin to desire to say sorry before we understand the impact that our wrongdoing has had on others or on the created world. When we realise the consequences of our action or non-action, we are able to renounce the wrongdoing, to ask for God’s help to repair the damage, to seek a new way forwards. 

I cannot write about confession without thinking of the global context of our known world. Our relationship with creation is absolutely connected with our wellbeing and happiness. This prayer by Bishop Steven goes to the heart of this issue:

Creator of our common home,
You fill the earth and sea and sky with life
Forgive us our neglect of your creation
The choking waste of our pollution
The damage done by careless habits
And our indifference to future generations.
Help us to amend our lives
To refuse more plastic if we can’t reuse it
To lift our voice for lasting change
And to live well and gently on the earth
To the glory of your Son, the living Word
Through whom you made this fragile world. 
Amen 

Rt Revd Steven Croft

Later this month, a new documentary on the life of the naturalist David Attenborough will be released in our cinemas. A book is being released at the same time as the film called, ‘A Life On Our Planet: My Witness Statement And Vision For The Future’. In his 94 years, Attenborough has visited every continent on the globe, documenting the living world in all its variety and wonder. He has said that the book records “some of the dreadful damage mankind has already wrought upon the natural world and the real and imminent danger that things could get much, much worse if we do not act now”.

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David Attenborough has been, for me, someone who I have looked up to in my growing up. He has been a ‘confessor’ figure. I expect that he would blanch at the thought of being called a confessor! Many Christians have confessors as spiritual directors, someone who is able to objectively provide a moral base, a spiritual foundation. Attenborough, has, for me, acted like a moral compass, providing evidence of wonder and beauty, harm and degradation. But even in his nineties, he is still wanting to point the way to a more hopeful path. He is a realist. He shows me (and I suspect many others) a greater truth in myself and in the world in which I live and breath. What a wonderful life lived on our planet!

OTHER NEWS

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News from our link parish – St Chad’s, Taung, Kimberley & Kuruman Diocese, South Africa

We are trying our best in this difficult time. We are only trusting on our God to protect and bless us. It is very tough this side. Family members, colleagues or church members have passed on. Our healing rate is good at the moment. It is only painful if a young couple passed on and young children remain alone. Fr Khubeka is busy, especially with burials.  His wife was sick but she is healthy now. Yes it is very cold and windy, temperatures dropping to -3 and we are not used to that one. We received 60% rainfall during the night. We thanked God because grass will start growing for animals. We are not yet ready to open church but I think it was a good plan by the archbishop to wait.  Our archbishop is fighting and talking about this big corruption in our country. Poor people are the one who are suffering. President has started with investigations and we hope that culprits can be sentenced and pay back the money.  We hope that one day this corona will disappear. Greet all at home. May God bless.

Coffee after Church

You are welcome to join us for a virtual coffee and a chat this Sunday at 11.30am. Please contact Clare for the invitation details:
curate@stmichaels-summertown.org.uk

Rainbow care networks

I hope that everybody feels included through the pastoral care network. If you read this and feel isolated or out of the loop, PLEASE contact me (details below) and I will get in touch immediately.

PCC Meeting this Sunday

Please pray for the PCC who will be discussing finances in the context of falling revenue due to Covid-19. We will also be reflecting on how the church managed during lockdown; what we could have done better and where God might be leading us as a community in the next months and years. Please consider these questions too. We will hope to share this exercise with a wider group in the near future.
God bless you and all of creation,

You’re Amazing!

At a time when we are unable to embrace one another, we should think about how we might embrace all of creation.

The BUPA advert from the late 1990’s did much to enliven a theology of creation when it sold us the wonder and glory of being human. The ad said this:


“Your heart beats around a 100,000 times a day. Your eyes take in more information than the largest telescope known to man. Your lungs inhale over 2,000,000 litres of air every year. Your hearing is so sensitive it can distinguish between hundreds of thousands of different sounds. Your brain is more complex than the most powerful computer. You’re amazing!”

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The award-winning advert by Ogilvy & Mather.

We have just launched into the newly derived liturgical season named Creationtide. Creationtide draws on deep roots in Scripture and in older Christian traditions around the relationship between God, humanity and the created order. The timing of Creationtide means it is an excellent way of rooting traditional harvest festivals in wider issues and firm theological ground. The Creation Season inspires us to see the natural world with integrity and thankfulness, to explore the beauty of the world and also the beauty of one another, after all, we are amazing!

Creationtide not only emphasises the wonders of creation but also our responsibility as amazing stewards. This season – between 1st September and 4th October – demands a spirit of contrition for all that humanity has done, and is doing, to harm the created order. It therefore asks for forgiveness, reconciliation and healing for the environmental crisis that we face. We are given the opportunity to address our need for sustainability in terms of consumerism as well as farming practices. 

We are not only amazing but our known world is totally amazing and we have a duty to keep it so. At a time when we are unable to embrace one another, we should think about how we might embrace all of creation.

OTHER NEWS

We are beginning to prepare for Clare Leal’s ordination service which will be held at St Michael’s on Sunday 20th September. Although many people will not be able to attend because of the Covid restrictions, it is important that we all keep Clare, Dave and John in our prayers. Pray especially for CLare that she may be given God’s guidance, wisdom and understanding in this deeply perplexing time.

We are hoping to begin to re-assemble a small choir at St Michael’s for the 10am Sunday Eucharist. Again, this will be within the restrictions of health and safety. More about this in the near future.

My thanks to the associated clergy team who have taken on the responsibilities of parish worship and pastoral care during my holiday absence. Thank you also to the church wardens for their work behind the scenes – you are amazing!

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Sunday worship is at 8am, 10am and 6.30pm. Morning Prayer is said at 9am on weekdays. Please bring a face mask. Track and trace registers are being kept and social distancing measures are being observed.