This commits the congregation to take action to promote our caring for God’s creation and to do all that we can to be good stewards of the world entrusted to us.
- Out of Africa meal
Out of Africa, on 29th September, was an evening of good food and company – colourful kangas on the tables and David T. got a round of applause for wearing his kaftan, embroidered by disabled people in Malawi.
The cooks did a great job, and the young people once again charmed everyone with their waitering skills and smiles.
No-one wanted to go home after the meal was over – the sign of a good evening.
The meal was part of our Harvest weekend and was planned by the Eco-congregation and Fairtrade groups.
The surplus from ticket money, £165, was donated to the Christian Aid Harvest project, supporting people like Aster in rural Ethiopia where she runs a solar-powered shop as she can not longer rely solely on farming for an income.
The Fairtrade stall also made a good number of sales and we heard about the difficulties faced by Traidcraft.
- SPC to disinvest from fossil fuels
SPC to disinvest from fossil fuels
Following the General Assembly’s decision to continue to “engage” with fossil fuel companies, despite this policy being ineffective in persuading them to change their strategy, the Kirk Session and Congregational Board have agreed to withdraw the funds we currently have invested in the Church of Scotland Growth Fund.
The full text of the letter sent to the Investors Trust is provided below:
In the light of our concerns about climate change driven by the continued burning of fossil fuels, most recently highlighted by Pope Francis in his meeting with oil executives, and the failure of the Church of Scotland’s policy of engagement to bring about significant change in the policies and practices of Shell, BP and Total over the last 2 years, Selkirk Parish Church has decided to withdraw its funds invested in the Church of Scotland Growth Fund.
As an eco-congregation, we do not believe it is ethically acceptable to invest in, and gain profit from, companies whose main aim is to continue to explore for, and to extract, fossil fuels. For example, BP states on its website that its strategy is to “invest in more gas and oil, producing both with increasing efficiency”. In fact, we believe that these investments are contrary to the Investors Trust’s current policy not to invest in companies whose “activities … are felt to harm society more than they benefit it”. The activities of Shell, BP and Total (and other similar companies) are driving the whole world towards dangerous and potentially uncontrollable climate change, already causing harm to people across many parts of the planet.
We disagree with the Church of Scotland’s policy to continue to “engage” with these companies as being impractical and ineffective. Many large institutions, including cities, universities, some pension funds, the British Medical Association, the Church of Ireland and the United Reformed Church in Scotland have already agreed to fully divest from all fossil fuel exploration and extraction. We believe that the Church of Scotland should be leading the way for others, and should fully divest now from all companies involved in fossil fuel exploration and extraction; this would give a stronger signal to these companies than any engagement is ever likely to do.
Within Selkirk Parish Church, we are committed to caring for God’s creation. We can no longer wait for the Church or Scotland to act in this matter, so we are taking our own small steps to make ourselves “fossil free”. Withdrawing our funds is one step in this journey that we are able to make now, and therefore we are doing so. We hope that other congregations may follow our example.
The funds withdrawn may be either reinvested in an ethical fund or used to part-fund a children and families worker; we consider this to be a much better way to invest for growth in God’s Kingdom.
- Silver eco-award presentation – Feb 2018
Silver eco-award presentation – Feb 2018
On Feb 18th, 2018, we were privileged to have a visit from Mary Sweetland, chair of Eco-congregation Scotland, who had come to present our silver eco-award plaque. The award was made back in September, when we were the first congregation is Scotland to achieve that award.
❖ the clarity of your planning and monitoring of your action plan;
❖ your eco-policy, which we may use as an example for other congregations to consider;
❖ your active involvement in aspects of global living, especially the toilet-twinning;
❖ the active involvement of members of your congregation in the ECS local network and national gathering;
❖ the overall impression of an imaginative and creative church, fully committed to environmental issues.
and gave us the following recommendations for our ongoing “care for creation”, perhaps working towards a gold award:
1. Work towards developing a longer-term sustainable action plan over a number of years, and consider expanding the number of individuals involved in your core group.
2. Consider an event to engage all your church leadership team in discussion of environmental issues.
3. Continue to challenge and support individual members to take action to reduce their environmental impact where possible, and try to evaluate the effectiveness of your campaigns.
4. Consider carrying out a survey of attitudes, both within and outwith the congregation to discover (among other things) whether your work is having an impact in the community.
5. Consider taking the lead in some community-based environmental action.
6. Continue to explore further practical actions to reduce the environmental footprint of the church buildings.
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Three of us from Open Door visited Fareshare in Edinburgh last week to meet the Cyrenian staff and volunteers who work hard to process tons of good food destined otherwise for the dump. We were able to have a good conversation about our Open Door and the food we find useful, in quantities that are manageable. They told us that they partner with over 100 projects, delivering about 7,000 meals annually so it’s a major challenge for them to keep us all in mind and get it right for everyone all the time. It’s a big operation! It was a very useful, enjoyable visit and we are increasingly appreciative of our link with the Cyrenians and very glad to be saving waste.
For more photos, and the story of our visit, click on this link: Fareshare visit pictures
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- Have you got the bottle?
At the Earth Hour service on March 25th, we all had the chance to sign this petition. Our letters were delivered to Rosanna Cunningham. We were pleased to hear subsequently that work on how a potential deposit return system might operate in Scotland has been commissioned by the Scottish Government. Zero Waste Scotland will investigate design options and the associated costs and benefits of how a deposit return scheme could work here.
- Worship by Candlelight
We celebrated Earth Hour on 25th March with a candlelit service. People were encouraged to switch off lights at home and celebrate the planet even if they couldn’t come to the service.
- Food by Candlelight
As part of the eco-group’s Food Focus February, and in honour of a notable birthday for a popular lady, Elissa, Anne and Mo organised a wonderful festive meal on Friday evening (24th Feb). Sixty guests enjoyed a three course meal, interspersed with a food-themed quiz. We all sang a special song, with lyrics by John Nichol, then the cake was cut, and Happy Birthday sung. An excellent evening, enjoyed by all.
- Eco-award Presentation
Presentation of first Eco-award, Sunday 3rd July, 10.15am
On Sunday, 3rd July, at the morning service, we were presented with our first Eco-award. Eco-congregation Scotland’s chaplain, Trevor Jamison, led the service and presented the award. All celebrated afterwards with a special cake, baked and iced by Marjory Inglis. The new Eco-banner (see home page), created by the banner group, was also on display for the first time – a reminder that creation is God’s gift to us, but we are all responsible for its care.
Now to start working towards our next award …..
- First Eco-award
On Sunday, 3rd July, we will be presented with our first Eco-award. Come and celebrate with us.
Trevor Jamison of Eco-congregation Scotland will be our special guest, and the congregation of Selkirk United Reformed Church will also join us for the service.
Stay for coffee, chat and a piece of celebration cake.
- Earth Hour Continue reading →