A Message from Churt's Resident Minister : September 2022
The hot weather this summer has taken most of us by surprise. British weather is unpredictable, we’re used to summer being a wash out with BBQs and outside events ruined. You may recall the summer of 1976 where temperatures reached 32°C for 15 days climbing to 35°C. The land cracked, gardens withered, and reservoirs lay parched. It seemed like it would never rain again. There were many tips on how to save water, ‘bath with a friend’, was more a meme than an official campaign but it won the status of slogan of the year. Another, ‘only have five inches of water in your bath and use the same water for your garden’. It became known as the year of the ladybird, with unexpected swarms infesting towns and cities particularly the coastal resorts The drought became so extreme the water supply was turned off. I remember queuing with a bucket for my ration of water from a standpipe in the street.
How to save water – the 1976 memes ‘bath with a friend’ and ‘you turn me off’'
However, we are told by scientists our current drought is different owing to the large area of Europe feeling the heat. Climate breakdown is increasing the intensity, duration, and frequency of extreme weather events. Where global heating is concerned, we’re apparently ahead of schedule: 40°C heat was predicted for the UK in the 2050s, not the 2020s. We’ve warmed our planet by 1.1°C on average, meaning every hot spell is starting from a warmer normal. We are advised this is what to expect as global warming changes our weather pattern. For many of us 30°C and above is too hot. We are not used to extremes in temperature and yet that is the way things are heading unless real and radical change is made.
The Church of England has committed for the Church to be carbon neutral by 2030. This is an ambitious target which I cannot help but wonder how it will be achieved. I applaud and commend the motivation and goal. There is so much more as a church and as a community we can do to reduce our footprint: from recycling and not using single-use plastics to sourcing food that is locally produced, from turning the thermostat down a degree in our homes in winter, to getting better insulation; from using our cars less, to investing in renewable energy supplies. This is just the tip of the iceberg. We are being challenged to change our thinking and actions, often through small steps in the right direction.
But why are doing this?
The obvious answer is the desire to preserve our planet. But for whom are we preserving it? Future generations? Yes… and God! As a Christian I understand our planet and its beauty is a gift from God that we are charged to care for. Everything we have is a gift from God and yet how easy it is to take it for granted. Now is the time for us to get real about the imminent crisis we are facing and our lack of gratitude to the God who loves the world so much he came to be one of us in the form of Jesus Christ. Even if the science were inconclusive on this issue, our understanding of God as Creator, should motivate us to act. Our response to the command to love God and love our neighbour as ourselves must now be rooted in action to combat the effects and causes of Climate Change. Together we can do this.
Reverend Debbie Smith, St John’s Churt