Church of England Diocese of Chester Great Budworth

Associate Minister Rev Christina Westwell

1 Sep 2021, 1 p.m.

Dear friends,

I cannot believe it is September already. One minute I had broken up with the long summer holiday ahead of me and the next I am sharpening pencils and packing my school bag.

Slowly we have seen changes in church, we are now singing hymns albeit with masks and sitting down, we are greeted on Sunday morning with the glorious sounds of the bells, we can have coffee together, we have restarted our monthly Celtic Evening prayer on the 1<sup>st</sup> Thursday of the month and Evensong in the beautiful surroundings of Arley Chapel.

We have celebrated baptisms and weddings which have been such unbelievably joyous occasions especially as so many have been postponed at least once.

September for children and all those working in schools and colleges is always a time of fresh starts and new adventures. We pray for all those starting at school, college or universities and for each member of staff. We especially pray for Lucy Wainwright who is joining our family as the new Head at Great Budworth and Antrobus and we hope to be able to welcome her properly soon.

On 5<sup>th</sup> September Jenny is leading our All Age Climate Sunday Service. Andrew Needham from Chester Diocesan Environmental Forum will be speaking. As you may be aware in November, in Glasgow, we are hosting the UN Climate Change conference.

In 2015 the Paris Agreement was signed which committed world governments to limit the global temperature rise. The world is not doing well in achieving this goal.

At the very beginning of Genesis, God spoke and the world was created. However the world came about; we believe God was the originator, the creator- a mighty God, but also a God who is loving and intimately involved in his creation.

When God created the world, he looked at it and said it was good - the intricacies of nature, the sheer vastness of the mountains and the seas, down to the star shaped Mole of North America with the 22 little tentacles at the end of its nose are all incredible..

The world is amazingly beautiful but it is also wounded, it suffers due <span style="font-size: 1rem;">to our sin and wrong doing, the incredibly selfish ways we have lived for so long with little regard for the world around us,</span>

We need to add our voices to those who are suffering the most but have done the least to cause the problem. It is said that the climate crisis has reached an unprecedented level. We are at a pivotal moment and something needs to be done – the climate is out of kilter. 690 million people go to bed hungry. 2 billion people have no access to waste management.

There is a real climate emergency and there needs to be climate justice in the world. God`s heart is for the poor and this situation is heartbreaking

There are however signs of Hope – Christians are joining with other organisations to not only change habits but to speak out. We cannot ignore those whose food security is affected by climate change and our unseen neighbours, people living in areas of the globe where habitats are disappearing, crops are failing and sea levels are rising

The Church of England has 5 marks of mission – the 5<sup>th</sup> Mark is to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth.

Safeguard, sustain and renew.

Worship, Commit and speak up.

We need to listen, learn, pray and act

There is so much that we can do to change our habits – walking or cycling rather than using the car, looking at our carbon footprint, shopping ethically, up cycling, planting more trees, using less plastic, harnessing renewable energy, going on creation walks. Also we need to hold Governments to account. Christian Aid and many aid agencies have so many ideas on their websites – writing to our MP, joining prayer chains, protesting and demanding action not just words.

As a church community what can we do together? Are there ways we can make our church and its surroundings more environmentally friendly? We are called to love God and love others. Being a Christian is all about relationships –relationship with God, relationship with others and relationship with our planet. God commissioned us to be good stewards of his creation. <span style="font-size: 1rem;">There is no planet B.</span>

To end with words of Archbishop Justin Welby, “As people of faith, we don`t just state our beliefs- we live them out. One belief is that we find purpose and joy in loving our neighbours. Another is that we are charged by our creator with taking good care of his creation.”

Love Christina