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Caring for CreationStephanie Boucher writes:
On Saturday February 1st, 2003, a day conference on the church and the environment, entitled 'Caring for Creation', was held in the village hall of the Hildenborough in Kent. It was organised by the local board of social responsibility of the Anglican dioceses of Canterbury and Rochester (called Church in Society), and it attracted some fifty participants from a variety or church backgrounds. Considering the weather (swirling snow and rain), we, the organisers, were impressed with the turnout!
The aim was to introduce and encourage the Eco-Congretation programme as a way of enabling churches to tackle and address green issues at their local level. Keynote speakers gave some background (Prof. Sam Berry anwered the question, 'Why should we care?' while Claire Foster, of the Board of Social Responsibility in London gave international and national perspectives on the Church's work in this field) before getting down to the nitty-gritty (David Pickering gave an overview of Eco-Congregation). There were workshops in the afternoon, followed by a short plenary and worship.
I was impressed, not just with the speakers who were excellent, or with the turnout which was marvellous, but with the impression I had, from talking to people, that connections were at last being made for them, and that they were prepared to take away with them the tools that would enable their churches to move forward on these issues. This feeling was quite electrifying, and I think this speaks volumes for the level of perception that environmental issues are now achieving among the churchgoing public. We are making progress, people seem to be receptive as never before, and we should take this as encouragament to continue to till this fertile ground.