United Benefice of
Mears Ashby, Hardwick,
and Sywell with Overstone

Our Vicar
Revd Katrina Hutchins

01604 812907

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Caring for God's Creation

The earth is the Lord's
and all that is in it.

Psalm 24:1

The Church of England has made a commitment to achieve Net Zero Carbon by 2030.  It is a very challenging target.  As a benefice of four village churches, we are commited to doing all that we can to care for God's creation.  Each of our PCCs have passed this resolution.

We pledge to do all that we can to reduce our carbon impact on God's creation on 2030.

Reducing our carbon footprint is just one of the ways that we can care for God's creation as he calls us to do.  Inspired by the Eco-Church Awards scheme, we are also looking at how we can use less - waste less - recycle more - care more.  To this end, we have or will be doing the following:

  • Formed a Caring for God's Creation working group in each church
  • Guiding each of our four churches towards a Bronze Award
  • Switching to eco-friendly cleaning products and recycled toilet rolls
  • Creating wildlife management plans for our churchyards
    (all four of our churchyards have now been surveyed by the BCN Wildlife Trust)
  • Installed swift nesting boxes in three of our church towers
  • Looking at how we can encourage you to visit our churchyards
  • Celebrating and praying for God's creation in our worship on a regular basis
  • Considering our own lifestyles and what simple changes we can make
  • Encouraging our neighbours to join with us in caring for our planet home
  • And much more besides...

Our aim is to achieve at least a Bronze Award for each one of our churches by the end of 2024.  Do follow our progress on this page.

We have already made a start by completing a survey for each one of our churches and identifying the key actions we can take.  We've switched most of our church lights to LED and reduced the draughts in our buildings.  We have looked at our printing, plastics and disposable usage.  We have reduced our thermostats - where appropriate.  We have commissioned surveys of our churches and churchyards by the RSPB and local wildlife trust.  We held an Eco-stall at one of our village coffee mornings.  We have shared our plans in our village magazines.  And... as village churches, a lot of us walk to church and others car share.  But... there are lots of exciting things left on our action plan as you can see!

If you would like to know more about our Caring for God's Creation plans, please contact Revd Katrina - Our Vicar and Eco-Church Champion.

If you would like to know more about the Eco-Church Awards scheme, please follow this LINK.

Recommended Reading

If you would like to care for God's creation, here are a few book recommendations to help you and your family make a start on this.

Planet Protectors: 52 ways to look after God's world by Paul Kerensa & Ruth Valerio
SPCK 2021 - ISBN 978-0-281-08545-3

Changing the Climate: A resource for families and churches by Debbie, David & Jamie Hawker
BRF 2021 - ISBN 978-1-800-39022-5

A Christian Guide to Environmental Issues by Martin J. Hodson & Margot R. Hodson
BRF 2021 - ISBN 978-1-800-39005-8

And, if you think that the problem is just too big to solve, remember with God all things are possible!  All it takes is for us to believe this... and to believe that change can begin with us.  All our little bits of good and simple steps add up to a big difference if all of us join in!

If you want to know how the big contributors to this existential problem can be tackled, I would recommend reading How to avoid a Climate Disaster: The solutions we have and the breakthroughs we need by Bill Gates (Allen Lane 2021 - ISBN 978-0-241-44830-4).

Praying for God's Creation

As Christians, as well as doing all that we can to care for God's creation, we can also pray for its wellbeing.  Here is a small selection of prayers so that you can join with us in praying for our planet's past, present and future.

Open our hearts, O Lord,
to experience the world as gift.
Stir our wills to care for it well,
so that we can pass on the gift to future generations;
in Jesus' name, we pray.  Amen.

Rosalind Brown (2021)

What I like about the above prayer is that it recognises that our planet home is God's gift to us and to all his creatures.  It is a gift to treasure - a priceless family heirloom.

O God, our creator, we praise you for the glories of your creation,
for its smells and textures,
for its sights and sounds,
for its diversity and wonders.
In our grateful enjoyment of your good gifts
make us wise stewards of your world,
and tenacious in helping those for whom our planet
is a harsh and unforgiving place,
be it through war, famine, natural disaster or exploitation.
We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.

Rosalind Brown (2021)

What I like about the above prayer is that it encourages us to think about our World News.  Events like wars cause damage to habitats and kill wildlife as well as harm human beings.  Stewardship is not just about us but about all of God's creatures.

God of creation and Lord of life,
you entrusted us to care for our home,
which is your home too,
but in many ways we have failed in this.
Help us to realise how fragile,
yet beautiful, our surroundings are.
We are not looking after your creation
as you call us to do.
We need to be true stewards
and understand how the most insignificant of flowers,
the tiniest of insects,
and each creature - plant - person
are all part of a wondrous whole. Amen.

Based on a prayer by Margaret Pickford
2018 Women's World Day of Prayer

What I like about this prayer is that we own up to God about our past and present mistakes and seek his help to care for all of his creatures.  We are born to be at one with God - with each other - with all of life on Earth.  What a beautiful vision!

Inspire us, O artist God,
when we wonder at the beauty of the universe you have made,
to create beauty wherever we can,
and to appreciate beauty when we encounter it in unexpected places.
Excite us with the possibilities and potentiality
of the creativity you have given us.
In Jesus' name, we pray.  Amen.

What I like about this prayer is that it celebrates the joy we experience out in God's creation and encourages us to share this beauty by the way we live our lives.  How will you use your God-given gifts to bless his creation?

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