We talked this weekend about not wanting to ‘lose’ what God was saying to us over the Houseparty weekend, so we have attached some memory joggers! From Bob’s talk “Care for God’s Creation”, resources from A Rocha about how to reduce your carbon footprint, books and internet resources, a copy of the questions by Liz and Chris Blunt “How can you bring Hope to the world?”, and finally a transcript of the testimonials from Sunday evening’s service.

Bob Toan : Care for God’s Creation

The problems too big – what difference can I make?

We can be overwhelmed by the scale of the issue… but here’s some thoughts:

  • Do our bit where we are… Our responsibility is not to change the world on our own, but to ‘become the change you want to see in the world.’ Obedience to God’s call rather than ‘success’ is what we are called to. We change what we can – let God worry about the bigger picture.
  • Get perspective! ‘Climate change is not one big, intractable problem but billions of tiny, tractable ones.’ (Nick Spencer and Robert White) If we break things down into everyday decisions we all make, together we can make a difference. As the riddle goes, ‘How do you eat and elephant?’ ‘One bit at a time.’
  • Be encouraged! World-changing movements can have small and seemingly insignificant beginnings. William Wilberforce and friends & the abolition of slavery… or how one travelling preacher in the middle east 2,000 years ago, who died an apparent ‘failure’,, transformed the world – and is still in the business.
  • Handouts available:
    • ‘Where to go from here? Resources to help you in caring for God’s world.
    • Internet links of good resource sites
    • ‘Your contribution to climate change’ – covers transport, energy in the home, food, waste, and few other things and an adding up of CO2 use.
    • ‘Testing your footprint’ – suggestions re. ‘off-setting’, energy saving, etc.
    • ‘Your carbon footprint’ – wider suggestions/ideas.
    • ‘Planet wise’ – CD/DVD resources, including Bible studies, etc. – you can look at and possible borrow from me at some point.

Testing your Footprint

Whether as a church, or as individuals, it is time to discover the weight of our carbon footprints. There are several websites which offer to calculate your carbon footprint – ranging from complex, detailed to broad-brush – often linked to carbon-offset programmes (discussed below). Christian Aid has a hard copy version for those without internet access – who can do their own adding up!

www.imeasure.org.uk is a tool designed by the Environmental Change Institute at Oxford University to give you the ability to monitor and learn about your domestic energy use and carbon emissions – based simply on your regular meter readings.

www.carboncalculator.org – linked to offset programme Climate Care (see below). The calculator enables you to measure the impact of your flights, and your car travel – adding up all those trips and giving you the carbon cost and the price of offsetting.

www.travelcalculator.org – assesses the impact of your travel patterns, the true cost of your car and how to improve your health. The calculator looks at car travel for work, shopping, social and holidays – tells you how many tonnes you have used and how you compare with the average.

www.coinet.org.uk Climate Outreach and Information Network, based in Oxford, invites everyone to take the carbon challenge to live within the personal limit of 2.5 tonnes of CO2. http://coinet.org.uk/projects/challenge/measure.

www.carbonfootprint.com Carbon Footprint run by John and Wendy Buckley who work in the fields of low energy technologies to help households, offices to reduce emissions. “After doing whatever is practical to reduce your carbon footprint to a minimum, please then offset the remainder to affectively zero it.” They plant trees in the UK and Kenya and list of other projects.

Carbon offsetting

Carbon off-set programmes have become a bandwagon. These programmes seek to neutralise or compensate for the emissions of CO2 which we produce by investing in tree-planting or in energy-efficiency projects. However, there is no measure that will effectively offset, neutralise or compensate for the damage done by your use of carbon fuels, once taken out of the ground and put into the atmosphere through burning. The only real way to combat global warning is by reducing the amount of greenhouse gases we each produce. Offsetting will not achieve a change to our carbon-dependent behaviour, though it might ease our consciences. Some have described these programmes as comparable to selling indulgences in the Middle Ages.

However, it is right that we should, wherever possible, pay the full environmental price for our actions and attempt to restore environmental justice. The money raised may well help create a sustainable model in poor countries, and make low energy technology available. If we have to fly or travel by car for work – or indeed for social and family business – then it is better to pay the price (wrongly named ‘offset’) rather than to do nothing.

There are some questions that may be asked of any “offset” programme:

  • Who is running the programme, what is their motivation, and can we trust them to carry out good development work to the benefit of the whole community?
  • Are they investing in good development projects in poor countries, aimed at conserving energy using renewables and bio-energy from agriculture and animal waste products; are they planting trees which help prevent soil erosion, provide habitat for animals and create microclimates to encourage more rainfall?

A Rocha – Climate Stewards programme

Christian Conservation organization A Rocha operates a climate stewards “offset” programme www.climatestewards.net – supporting projects managed by their partners across the world who combine practical conservation and environmental education. A Rocha’s patrons include Rev John Stott. Climate Stewards support a wide range of activity such as reforestation, tree planting, promotion of energy-saving stoves to reduce further damage to degraded forest, and education to protect the forest from illegal logging. In Ghana it supports small scale tree planting programmes on school and university campuses, training the students and wider community involved.

Oxford-based Climate Care (recommended by the Church of England Shrinking the Footprint website) is a small company, which has a passion for making a big impact in the fight against climate change. They are committed to leading best practice in our approach to offsetting emissions, offering three types of project:

  • Renewable energy – replacing non-renewable fuel such as fossil fuels
  • Energy efficiency – reducing the amount of fuel needed
  • Forest restoration – absorbing carbon as the trees grow

Having built relationships with all the projects, they confidently tell of the changes brought about, such as installing efficient cooking stoves in Honduras and efficient lighting in households in South Africa. It is important to them that the local community benefits as well as saving greenhouse gases. www.climatecare.org

Energy Saving Websites

The Energy Savings Trust www.est.org.uk has lots of information to help households reduce their carbon usage. It campaigns to see a 20% cut in our domestic energy use, which is essential for the environment and could save you up to £250 per year on bills.

www.whatyoucando.co.uk has advice on energy efficient appliances, how to reduce the electricity you use, generating your own electricity, and actively monitoring your electricity. Section on lifestyle, travel, heat and links to news and comment.

The Carbon Trust (www.carbontrust.co.uk/energy) focuses on helping business and the public sector reduce carbon emissions now. An independent company with Government support, it seeks to capture the commercial opportunities of low carbon technologies.

Your carbon footprint – home, transport and lifestyle choices

Each of us has a carbon footprint, made up of everything we purchase for use in the home, in travel or lifestyle choices. In the UK that footprint amounts to 9.62 tonnes of CO2 per annum. To reduce the effects of global warming each of has to walk more lightly on this Earth that God has lent us, lest we destroy the climate stability for all. Individual actions which achieve even small reductions can collectively add up to a huge savings. And when these are done purposefully and with others, emboldened by a faith commitment, then real transformation can take place.

Out of our average annual footprint of 9.62 tonnes (9,620 kg), each of us is directly responsible for 5.5 tonnes used in our homes, our car and other travel. The balance comes from indirect costs of manufacturing, services and freight over which we have some control through our lifestyle choices. We can start by tackling things we can control – in our homes through our use of gas, electricity and oil.

Step 1: Switch to renewable energy (more fully described in Your Church’s Footprint)

Every person who uses renewable energy could help save about 1.3 tonnes of CO2 and encourage the green energy market. However, since the supply of renewables is only 4% of total energy consumption, although we may choose renewables we will continue to use energy from traditional sources, so it remains essential to cut your total energy usage.

Step 2: Eliminate waste.

People in the UK have become wasteful in their energy using habits. 71% leave appliances on standby, 63% do not turn lights off in unoccupied rooms. In total about 7 per cent of our heat and light is wasted. By 2010 we will have wasted enough energy to have produced around 43m tonnes of CO2 – equivalent to the annual CO2 emissions of 7 million homes – costing £11 billion. [1] Changing wasteful habits can make a significant difference.

  • Turn off the lights in unoccupied rooms. Switching off 5 lights in hallways and rooms in your house when you don’t need them can save around £40 a year and avoid about 400kg of CO2 emissions per year.
  • Reduce the temperature of your home by 1°C and save up to 300 kg CO2 per household per annum and cut your heating bill by 5-10 percent.

· Ensure that appliances like the TV /computers and stereos are not left on stand-by. Standby uses between 40-70 percent of the energy they use when switched on. It is estimated that appliances, including mobile phone chargers, left on standby pump one million tons of carbon each year – enough to power 400,000 homes. [2]

  • Change to energy saving light bulbs, which use 70 per cent less electricity and last 6-8 times longer. Each energy saving bulb could avoid 400kg of CO2 emissions over the lifetime of the bulb and reduce your lighting costs by up to £9 a year. The normal sized 60w and 100w equivalent energy saving bulbs can be found in shops for as little as £1 to £1.50.[3] The Australians are phasing out the sale of traditional incandescent bulbs by 2010 – saving 16 billion tons of CO2 over the next 25 years.

· Don’t fill the kettle with more water than you need. The energy wasted by unnecessarily boiling one litre of water per day could power over three-quarters of the UK‘s street lights. Half-filled dishwashers/ washing machines again waste energy.

· Washing clothes at 40°C or even 30°C (rather than 60°C) can reduce carbon emissions by a third and prolong the life of your clothes. The tumble drier, the power shower, the plasma TV (consuming four times the power of a normal TV) and the air conditioner are all energy guzzlers – to be used with care.

  • Look for the highest A++ rated Energy Efficiency rating for any machine you buy. On average these use 60% less energy than older D/E category goods. And stay warm without using so much energy by putting on another layer of clothing! Next step is to improve your insulation (see www.est.org.uk). Replace your boiler if it is more than 15 years old to a condensing one which will be 20 percent more efficient.

We all have some habits we need to change as we adjust to a low carbon future. This is not about pointing to your neighbour’s faults and omissions, but a gentle removal of the plank in your own eye – before prompting your nearest and dearest.

Step 3: Rethink your transport

Use of private vehicles accounts for a quarter of all CO2 emissions and produces nearly 63.5 million tonnes of CO2 (2003). That is an average of 3.3 tonnes of CO2 each year from our personal car usage. We also use an average of 1.3 tonnes from our air travel. Road traffic continues to rise by around 2 per cent a year. We need to reverse this trend if we are going to avoid the worst effects of global warming.

Reducing the number of car journeys we make will make a difference. If we try to eliminate one journey a week, it would make us think which journeys are unnecessary or could be done differently. Sharing journeys could also be good neighbourly[4]. You might start by car sharing to church on Sunday; particularly because short journeys with a cold engine produce 60% more fumes and more fuel than when warm. The websites below give plenty of advice on improving energy efficiency in cars.

Walking or cycling for short journeys might bring the additional benefit of making you fitter and healthier. Or use public transport – and encourage others to follow suit.

www.eta.co.uk, the Environmental Transport Association, the ethical alternative motoring organization, helps individuals and organisations to make positive changes in their habits.

www.transport2000.org.uk the national environmental transport body, which campaigns to make the connection between transport and climate catastrophe

www.whatyoucando.co.uk/travel has information on hybrid, electric and lpg cars, low-carbon taxis, and includes an on-line car calculator so you can measure what it costs to run your car.

Step 4: Air Travel

Air travel is set to double or even triple by 2030 and is likely to become one of the most significant causes of man-made global warming. Aircraft at high altitude produce a cocktail of gases more lethal to our climate than carbon dioxide alone.[5] Recent studies have shown that ‘the UK will be unable to meet its targets for reducing climate change impacts without action to curb the demand for air travel.[6]

One long-haul flight could radically alter your carbon footprint (e.g. a trip to Australia produces over 3.6 tonnes of CO2 per person)

The unfair thing is that the richest nations, the USA and Europe, are responsible for 70-80 per cent of all flight. The top 10 per cent of income earners fly the most while the poorest 10 per cent hardly fly at all. It is time to rethink our flying habits NOW

Step 5: Lifestyle issues:

The choices we make on food, water and waste also impact indirectly on the CO2 we produce. We need to adopt more environmentally friendly habits and lifestyle, because it all counts towards your carbon footprint.

FOOD – a climate change issue[7]

The growing of food, transporting it by road (and worse still by air) and selling it in the supermarkets make up a significant portion of our footprint. Supermarkets are convenient, but it comes at a climate-change price for they have helped create the all year round globalised food culture, supported by the car culture, at the expense of local small-scale production. It is down to us to decide our choice of food and where we buy it, and to look for alternatives, once we see the impact on our carbon footprint.

Eat what’s in season. Out of season greens, asparagus and cherries, avocadoes, mangos, kiwi fruit are air freighted in. Similarly out of season food grown in the UK might have huge embedded energy – e.g. tomatoes grown in UK greenhouses.

Eat local food -try to buy the product that travelled the least distance. Flying 1 kilo of asparagus from California to the UK uses 900 times more energy than the home-grown equivalent. New Zealand apples shipped here produces 8 times more emissions than British apples. Farmers markets, farm shops, and organic box schemes offer a pleasant way to support traditional farming and local production. www.localfoodworks.org for box schemes and Friends of the Earth Shop Local First Campaign www.foe.org.uk

Eat organic. Fertilizers release nitrous oxide, a powerful greenhouse gas, so there are strong climate reasons for buying organic, especially when it’s local and seasonal.

Minimise meat – especially beef and lamb, because of the methane (a powerful gas that is over 20 times more damaging than CO2) produced in rearing cows and sheep.

Use the LOAF principle – Locally Produced, Organically grown, Animal-friendly and Fairly-traded. Ask Christian Ecology Link have their short leaflet[8] and try it at harvest.

Grow your own – enjoy the wonderful taste of your own produce and live within the rhythms of the seasons. Make your own compost to fertilise your crops. Explore new recipes for seasonal cooking. Support city allotments. Grow vegetables in window boxes.

5.2 Water – as a climate change issue

Large parts of the world may experience significant shortages of water as the climate gets warmer. In this country we currently have enough water for everyone, provided we look after this precious resource – although a growing population, wasteful habits and hotter summers undoubtedly place an increasing strain on our water supplies.

On average in the UK we use 130 litres of water a day – 70% more than we did 40 years ago. Many people in the world exist on just 10 litres a day. Thank God for the luxury of piped clean water, and take a few measures to reduce your water consumption which will reduce the burden on industry to pump water to, and chemically clean waste water from, our homes. Conservation will also reduce damage to wildlife habitats in wetlands and rivers and reduce the possibility of water shortages and rationing in the summer. Cutting down on water use can save us money (everyone should be on a water meter).

5.3 Waste and recycling as a climate change issue

Waste represents lost energy and natural resources – as well as the increasing problem of landfill. The best way of managing our waste is not to produce it in the first place. In the UK we know we have room for improvement as we have one of the poorest records of recycling in Europe (UK recycles 18% of domestic waste, France 28%, Germany 58%, Netherlands 65%). It is time to change our culture on waste.

* A recycled aluminium can saves enough energy to run a television for three hours.

* Recycling one glass bottle saves enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for four hours.

* Production of recycled Paper uses 80% less water, 65% less energy than virgin paper.

* 17% of our waste is kitchen waste – which we could compost and avoid producing methane in the landfill as it rots down, and lessen demand for commercial compost.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Website to visit: www.reuze.co.uk or www.frn.org.uk the Furniture Re-use Network

www.freecycle.org – Freecycle is an email recycling scheme where dispose of unwanted goods to other local members – a growing network of local groups.

www.wastewatch.org.uk – a national organisation promoting and encouraging action on waste reduction, reuse and recycling, working with community organisations, and others.

Six Essential Books

Bookless, David ‘Planetwise’, (Leicester: IVP, 2008)

Clark, Duncan ‘The Rough Guide to Ethical Living’, (London: Rough Guides, 2006)

Harris, Peter ‘Kingfisher’s Fire’, (Oxford: Monarch, 2008)

Hodson, Martin & Margot ‘Cherishing the Earth’, (Oxford: Monarch, 2008)

Spencer N. & White R., ‘Christianity, Climate Change & Sustainable Living’, (London: SPCK, 2007)

Valerio, Ruth ‘L is for Lifestyle’, (Leicester: IVP, 2005)

Background Theological Material

Banner, Michael, ‘Why and how (not) to value the environment’, in ‘Christian Ethics and Contemporary Moral Problems’ (Cambridge University Press, 1999)

Bouma-Prediger, Steven, ‘For the Beauty of the Earth’, (Fleming Revell, 2001)

Harris, Peter, ‘Under the Bright Wings’, (Vancouver: Regent College Press, 2005)

Hendry, George, ‘Theology of Nature’ (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1980)

MacDonagh, Sean, ‘To Care for the Earth: A Call to a New Theology’ (London: Geoffrey Chapman, 1986)

Moltmann, Jurgen, ‘God in Creation: An Ecological Doctrine of Creation’ (London: SCM, 1985)

Northcott, Michael, ‘The Environment and Christian Ethics’ (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996)

Northcott , Michael, ‘A Moral Climate: The Ethics of Global Warming’ ( London : Darton, Longman and Todd, 2007). xv + 336 pp. £12.95 (pb), ISBN 978-0-232-52668-4.

Tillett, Sarah, ed. ‘Caring for Creation; Biblical and Theological Perspectives’ (Oxford: BRF, 2005)

Wallerstein Immanuel, ‘The Modern World System: Capitalist Agriculture and the Origins of the European World Economy in the Sixteenth Century’ (New York: Academic Press, 1974)

There are also the following recent publications from a variety of perspectives:

Kearns, Laurel , and Catherine Keller (eds.), ‘Ecospirit: Religions and Philosophies for the Earth’ ( New York : Fordham University Press, 2007). xvi + 644 pp. US $85 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-8232-2745-7; US$32 (pb), ISBN 978-0-8232-2746-4.

Rhoads, David (ed.), ‘Earth and Word: Classic Sermons on Saving the Planet’ (New York : Continuum, 2007). xx + 300 pp. £45 (pb), ISBN 978-0-8264-2827-1.

Hart, John, ‘Sacramental Commons: Christian Ecological Ethics’ ( Lanham , Md . : Rowman and Littlefield, 2006). xxv + 248 pp. £17.99 (pb), ISBN 978-0-7425-4605-9.)

Background Scientific material

Houghton, J. ‘Global Warming – The Complete Briefing’, (Cambridge: CUP, ISBN 0521528747, rev. ed. 2006)

Berry, R. J. (Ed.), ‘The Care of Creation’, (Leicester: IVP, 2000.

Berry, R. J., ‘God’s Book of Works: The Nature and Theology of Nature’, (London: Continuum, 2003)

A Rocha: www.arocha.org and www.arocha.org.uk

EcoCongregation : www.ecocongregation.org

Climate Stewards: www.climatestewards.net

Living Lightly 24:1: www.livinglightly24-1.org.uk

Christian Ecology Link: www.christian-ecology.org.uk

European Christian Environmental Network: www.ecen.org

Season of creation: www.seasonofcreation.com

Operation Noah: www.operationnoah.org

The John Ray Initiative: www.jri.org.uk

Methodist / United reformed church creation challenge environmental network: www.urc.org.uk

Shrinking the footprint: www.shrinkingthefootprint.cofe.anglican.org

Live Simply: www.livesimply.org.uk

Living Witness: www.livingwitness.org.uk

Tearfund: www.tearfund.org

Christian Aid: www.christianaid.org.uk

World development Movement: www.wdm.org.uk

Stop Climate Chaos: www.stopclimatechaos.org

Guide Me Green: www.guidemegreen.com

Quiz at: www.myfootprint.org

Beliefnet quiz: http://www.beliefnet.com/section/quiz/index.asp?sectionID=200&surveyID=414

Chris – How can you bring hope to the world? – some questions:

Will you pray as you read the international pages of the newspaper?

Will you find out about how our government spends its money and write to your MP about it?

Will you sign up to e-campaigns for international justice? Will you find out which ones are worthy causes?

Will you help the church to develop links with overseas churches?

Will you take time to talk with the materially poor?

Will you expose yourself to the lifestyle of the poor to understand their situation?

Will you think about your giving in terms of what you keep, not what you give?

Will you research and then support great opportunities to support life enriching projects in poorer parts of the world?

How can you use your skills and expertise for the benefit of your global neighbours?

Will you stop buying things that you don’t need?

Will you stop buying things if their manufacture involves exploitation or pollution?

Will you take time to find out if it does?

Is there someone outside of your culture who you can be sharing the good news with?

Other Resources:

Alkire and Newell (2005): Sabina Alkire and Edmund Newell, What can one person do?, London: Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd

DfID (2004): Department for International Development, Rough Guide to a Better World, London: Rough Guides Ltd

Sider (1997): Ronald Sider, Rich Christians in and Age of Hunger, London: Hodder and Stoughton

Piper (): John Piper, Let the nations be glad

NB The DfID one is online. Another interesting one about consumption is, “The story of stuff“, a 20 min video.

The rest of the video can be seen here. http://www.storyofstuff.com

Houseparty 2008 – Sunday 4th May

Bob: we are not starting from a blank canvas; we are already on a journey; but there may be some richness which needs to be added to the colour to complete the picture. We do not need to start again. [Bob then invited people, compelled by God, to share….]

Andrew (CC): I’ve been thinking and praying alot about what my response should be to what I was saying. And, as I was praying, I had a real sense of what I was going to do, because Bob is right; it’s so easy when we’re being challenged, and challenged well, to think everything we are doing is wrong, and that’s not what I think God is saying at all. I’ve been a part of all these communities for 7 years now – being here is really good. It’s just that God wants more. So here’s what I am going to do; I’m going to look again at my love life (it doesn’t start with programmes, or doing new structural things). I want to know how I am intentionally loving God back; that means spending time engaging with God, getting to know Him. And then, to look again at how I am intentionally loving those around me; how much time am I spending time with people; how much time and I caring? And then I need to change my lifestyle in order to make that happen more. I need to take those things out which are stopping me from doing that. I sense what God is saying, is that it’s about love, and I need to make sure that my lifestyle facilitates this, and I take stuff out that gets in the way. (What’s your love life like?)

Wendy, CC: I wanted to say that Rob and I have been away today because his nephew has had a baby, so I’m going to be a great Aunt in July! But the minister there is having a 6 week series on ‘Renewal’. Today it was ‘Renewal in the Community’ and the text was Acts 2 v42!

We’ve been sending out invitations for our wedding in July, and we can’t invite everyone because the boat we’re going on would sink (!), and I’m really sad about that. But I got this sense last night that God wants to invite everyone to His party; His kingdom. We’re supposed to be the envelope dropping on that person’s doormat, and Tony spoke about 1 Peter, Ch 3; being ready to give an account of what we believe. This has left me with a personal challenge; to organise my thoughts; because I would actually be terrified if somebody came up to me and said “what must I do to be saved?”. I would find that very difficult; so that’s me personal challenge.

Claire, St Ms: this morning in worship, I asked God to open our hearts, and God’s reply: I felt His pain, and sadness. He showed me a picture of Himself, knocking. But there was no-one. The door was just shut. And then I sensed God saying that those who want more for God should pray for those who don’t want Him; whose hearts are hardened. I was crying with the pain.

Denise, NS: partly this weekend, it’s really confirmed something that God said to me 2 or 3 years ago. I read a book called “The Connecting Church”, which is about church as community. It really challenged me about how we are actually the church; the body of Christ. Because of the way God is moving in terms of my job, I can clearly see Him doing something and helping me engage with the community I live in. That’s the easy bit.

What I actually feel more difficultly challenged about is the bit where Jesus looked at the rich man, and loved him. David and I, in both our extended families, are surrounded by people with extremely complex, emotional need, which is actually the stuff where you don’t even know where to begin. It’s easier to say; that’s too difficult, and we don’t know what to say, so let’s just emotionally distance ourselves. I am good at that, but I don’t think it is a skill which is enviable. That, to me, is the challenge – to look at people and respond, rather than just to have a ‘project’, because I am good at ‘projects’. Really loving people; that’s hard. So, that’s challenged me.

Will, St M’s: a couple of weeks ago, I was at a service. A passage came to me (even though it was actually not what was being preached about), and it’s been with me and stuck with me, and it’s been really strong, and I asked “is this something you’re telling me Lord?”.

So I’m not entirely certain, but it struck me as I was sitting that this may be something God is saying to us. I’d like to read it to you; if I can find it quickly (…..opens bible at exactly the right page!….) it’s at the end of John’s gospel.

‘when He had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter: “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”. “Yes Lord!” he said, “you know that I love you”. And Jesus said “feed my lambs”.

Again, Jesus said “Simon, son of John, do you truly love me?”. He answered “Yes Lord, you know that I love you!”. And Jesus said “take care of my sheep”.

The third time He said to him “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”. Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him a third time. He said “Lord, you know all things. You know that I love you”.

And I think that Jesus does know that we love Him. But I also think that those things about feeding and taking care of His sheep, is something that is really important for us all.

Pam, NS: many of you will know that since the last time we were all here I’ve been on a big journey, to India for 6 months, and it’s been one of the most challenging times of my life. As I was thinking today about what I have learnt, I think what I want to say is that it wasn’t just the most challenging time of my life; it was also the most amazing time of my life. I was scared, I was often in a place where I didn’t know what I was going to do, and God provided for me; He gave me what I needed, when I needed it. Since I came home, people keep saying to me “so, are you settled back now, are you back into your job?”, and the answer is “NO!”, basically. Because when you have been in that place and lived in a way that you have known total dependence on God for everything, then quite honestly, nothing else will do, it’s all second best. The reason that I want to say this to you, is to offer it to you as a challenge, particularly to people of my generation. I am a baby boomer, born after the war; there’s an awful lot of us, and I’m getting to the age, in another 14 months, where I’ll be able to draw a pension. It’s a wonderful idea; they pay you just for being alive! And I want to say to those of you who are my generation; there’s an adventure out there that God is calling us to. Retirement, being comfortably off; it’s not enough! There is more to do. There is a great joy in being in a place where you don’t know what you are going to do; but God does! It’s wonderful to be able to feel that God can use you; to reach people, to touch people. You don’t have to go to India to do it – as we saw on the clip earlier today that Tony showed us, there are people who are afraid to die; and they are our neighbours. There are people who are lonely, and lost, and isolated, and we are the generation, when we draw our pension, that we have some time, and we can do something about it. And they’re our community; our neighbours, our friends.

So really, what I would like to say is: it’s not enough. It’s not enough for me; I am hungry for more of God. It’s not enough for any of us. My generation were the ones who sand “all you need is love” and then we discovered that love was Jesus, hanging on a cross. And there isn’t another answer, really, if you’re afraid of dying. So I just want to offer that challenge to all of us, but particularly to us who are drawing our pensions. There’s more! It’s great! It’s an adventure and it’s a challenge. Go for it!

Dave, CC: there’s a bit of a warning that’s already gone out twice tonight, but I just wanted to make it clear to people like me. People like me are incredibly practical. I enjoy puzzle books, because when a problem rears it’s ugly head, my mind goes into action, and I think of practical steps to knock it down, and when Andrew was talking, I knew that God wanted to work on my heart, not on my brain. And it was actually quite simple, because I think actually why English churches are very good at projects; we’re not very good at people. I know I’ve done youth work and there have been days where I’ve run a youth club because it’s easier than talking to the community kid who hates your guts and actually wants to talk about the girl he wants to sleep with. And homeless work, because, at times, it’s easier to run a drop in than hug someone who smells of urine and who’s not going to remember your face the next day. And running a cafe was actually bloody hard work, but still, there were days when that was a lot easier than sitting down with the weirdo loner who needed someone to listen.

This is a warning to people like me; immensely practical, and you’re thinking of a project because of what God has challenged you to: don’t! Just let Him break your heart and take each moment as it comes. Love each person as a person, and don’t hide behind things or projects.

Ian, St M’s: I wasn’t going to get up until Dave said that. What God has made me aware of, and it goes on from what Bob was saying; as a vicar he worked at Rock Ferry and it made me aware of how difficult that must have been for you, Bob. All the responsibility is left to people like you, and there are people like us, who can support you. My background is: I used to drink too much as a kid – I was a non Christian. I really suffered. I was insecure. I never made much of my life. I got through, and then I met God. So what I want to do is support people like Bob, and try and make a difference to somebody’s life. Because I have been there, worn the ‘t’ shirt, and maybe that’s a good thing, and I can do that.

Richard, St M’s: This is my first time here, I have really enjoyed the weekend with you all. I was encouraged and challenged by Andrew. He spoke and the song “God is good (all the time)” came into my mind. Never give up, do not hide from Him, and keep on going with Him.

Pauline, St M’s: I just wanted to say “thank you all very much” for your warmth and friendship which I have valued enormously. (Some text missing due to change of tape)

Caz, CC: God’s really been speaking to me and challenging me the last few months about cost and about laying all down and giving it all to Him through the small things of life. Everything He has been speaking to each one of us has been drawn together by a thread, and it’s all the same thing. Something I have been really picking up on tonight is that difference between stuff becoming a project and stuff being about life.

And I think it could be really easy to go back and set up lots of different projects about how we are going to impact the world, and try and be practical. In doing that we all keep our fronts up really strongly – we keep ourselves guarded, we know our limits; we’ll do it once a week, but no more. I know for me, and I think for all of us, that the way that every follower of Jesus should live is to just let all those guards slip away and it be about life and you and God. Everything from God then just oozes out of you, wherever you are, no matter what your deadlines are, no matter what your role is in any situation; it doesn’t matter. It’s just you and God. Through that miracles happen, through that you become completely dependent on Him. You have to give it up, everything that you love and hold dear to you; those little comforts. I have so much, and God asks “will you give that up?” and I say “yeah, but I have so much to do… I need this and that”. Just let down all those guards and let it just be you and God.

Ali Gibbons, St M’s: I think it’s just so exciting talking to loads of people God’s speaking to so many people on the same stuff and it’s just amazing – what’s God planning to do?! I wanted to share what God was saying to me earlier. “Take the blinkers off your eyes…..stop being distracted by the unimportant….step into the adventure I have planned for you…. allow me to calm your fears and lead you”. I have been reading the Shane Claiborne book as well and when people step into that adventure, they don’t often chose to go back and people stick with it. It’s got to be good.

Glyn, CC: I was just sitting there thinking that a community is a collection of families together. One thing I have been blessed with is, apart from Bob (he does bless me!), we are here as family; St Mike’s, Christ Church, and we have been with you as a family. I want to encourage everyone that a community is a collection of families, and to have spent a bit of time together has been a great blessing to me, and I just think God is then challenging us to stay as church families; the United Benefice. As Christ Church we need you, St Mike’s, and I suspect you need us.

Shelagh Hatton, CC: Tony opened the weekend with 1 Peter 3:15 about Hope, and always give an account of the hope that we have. But that is not the beginning of the verse – it starts “but in your hearts, set apart Christ as Lord”, and I thought that is a good place to end for us.

[1] ‘Habits of a Lifetime’ survey conducted by the Energy Savings Trust October 2006

[2] http://www.carbonfootprint.com/energy_consumption.html gives detailed information on steps you can take and figures of power consumed by different appliances.

[3] More specialist retailers can supply the small bulbs http://www.Ryness.co.uk or www.efficientlight.co.uk

[4] www.carplus.org.uk www.liftshare.com www.shareajourney.com

[5] “The Plane Truth: Aviation and the Environment” Prof John Whitelegg and Nick Williams, Ashden Trust and Transport 2000 Trust.

[6] ‘Predict and Decide: Aviation, climate change and UK Policy’ , ECI, Oct 2006

[7] Thanks to George Marshall, for his work, www.coinet.org.uk/projects/challenge/consumption.php

[8] www.christian-ecology.org.uk/use-your-loaf.pdf