The London AGM of Christian Ecology Link last Saturday was followed by a workshop on the second stage of ‘ecocell – A journey in carbon-free discipleship’. The first stage is currently available for download on the website www.christian-ecology.org.uk and the second will be available very soon. Around 50 people were present to do a ‘carbo count’ based on their food intake the previous day and learn about ways of accounting for the energy used in agriculture, a meat-based diet, food transport, processing, shops and catering. The counting chart was based on George Marshall’s book, ‘Carbon Detox’. Other elements of the programme look at such things as Energy in the Home and Transport, all linked in with theological reflection.
Ecocell is a Christian Ecology Link (CEL) programme of personal, household and local action, undertaken by small groups of Christians in local areas and run over several years. Produced over a long period of development by CEL members, it was introduced at the meeting by Jo Rathbone, a CEL Trustee and former Eco-congregation co-ordinator, who described it as a journey or pilgrimage to sustainable living. She pointed out that climate action is required at the personal, parochial and political levels, but Christians cannot just pass on environmental responsibility up the chain to our political leaders. In the debriefing afterwards, some described themselves as 'environmental sinners'. Catholics present wondered what most priests would make of someone who confessed to committing an environmental sin!
At the AGM the Catholic Chair of CEL, Paul Bodenham, pointed out that “CEL is a movement and not an organisation or a hierarchy” and he hoped “more people would undertake the ecocell journey”. New members were encouraged, who would received the magazine ‘Green Christian’ regularly. From its start in 1982, when it was a lone voice in Christian circles on care for creation, CEL has gone on to found Operation Noah, the churches first climate change campaign. This past year, it worked on the ‘Wave’ service and march on 4 December 2009 in advance of the Copenhagen summit on climate, stimulated church involvement in the Transition Towns movement, and helped plan and support the July 2010 National Justice and Peace Network Conference on ‘Food’. It also runs an events diary and prayer guide on its website which supports individual and church members.
For the future, it is running a service at 11am on 4 December 2010 in advance of the London climate rally calling for action at climate talks in Cancun, Mexico. The venue will be the Church of the Annunciation, Bryanston Street, London W1H 7AH. The service will be led by Revd Chris Brice, Chair of Operation Noah, and the speaker Edward Echlin, author of 'Climate and Christ, A Prophetic Alternative'.
On 5 March 2011 CEL has organised a day-long conference, ‘End of the Age of Thorns - Surviving Consumerism’ which will explore the spiritual roots for a new economics. To be held at St John’s Church, opposite Waterloo Station, it will be addressed by Peter Owen-Jones, a Sussex vicar and presenter of BBC's 'How to live a simple life'. See www.christian-ecology.org.uk
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