In one of his recent books ‘Praying Psalms’, Ian Stackhouse quotes from Psalm 65:
‘You care for the land and water it;
you enrich it abundantly.
The streams of God are filled with water
to provide the people with grain,
for so you have ordained it.
You drench its furrows and level its ridges;
you soften it with showers and bless its crops.
You crown the year with your bounty,
and our carts overflow with abundance.’
Ian then writes the following commentary (for full commentary, please read ‘Praying Psalms’):
‘How easy it is for our thoughts about redemption to be separated from our theology of creation. It happens all the time in religious communities. We sing “ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven”, but rather than going on to rejoice in the grand vistas “of the ends of the earth”, we retreat instead into a spiritual cul-de-sac of private pieties. In worst case scenarios, we end up inhabiting a “parallel” and sometimes a “paranoid” universe. Psalm 65, however, permits no such divergence. The God who saves is the God who has created this whole thing.’
Used with permission, published 2018, by Cascade Books
When God created the earth and everything in it, He gave it to humanity to protect and steward it. But in our sin and waywardness we have come to regard the earth as our own and have neglected, squandered and discarded its resources. Forests are being torn down, the soil is being degraded, oceans are full of plastic detritus, pollution fills the air and our lungs, and many other effects are being felt at this time.
It is easy to be in despair over this. But our God is a God of hope, and we believe that as part of discipleship we can learn to live more lightly on the planet, and be wiser in our use of its resources, by changing our everyday choices in the light of ‘reduce, reuse, recycle…and refuse’.
God’s mission on this earth is three-fold: to reconcile us to Himself, to each other, and to the planet. Our care for the planet is part of loving our neighbour.
Many people want to know how they can help. This website has links to various resources and we hope will be helpful in making those decisions, whether as individuals, as families, and as a congregation.
The contents of this webpage will change on a fairly regular basis, presenting resources, ideas and solutions to the issues that face us.
Alok Sharma, president of COP26, the Conference of the Parties held in Glasgow in November 2021, reflects in this video on the progress made since then and what more needs to be done on the road to COP27 in Egypt, November 2022.
At Guildford Baptist Church, some of our World Partners have a particular interest in caring for creation. Juliana Horne, currently working in Colombia with Latin Link, explains in this video why we should take an interest.
Our World Partners working for AIM recommend this video featuring a missionary friend of theirs, August Basson, who set up ‘Growing Nations’ whilst working in Lesotho, to encourage care for the resources that God has provided in nature.
Zero Carbon Guildford is a community hub in Guildford (based in the old ‘New Look’ shop at the bottom of North Street). It seeks to bring together many of the environmental organisations and charities working locally, to help the borough adapt to the changing planet.
They hold fortnightly drop-in sessions called ‘Warmth Matters’ on a Tuesday (11.00am-1.00pm), to help advise on energy bills.
A Climate Cinema shows films about climate issues and possible solutions.
There is a community fridge, a zero-waste shop, displays on biodiversity in Guildford, and a Terra-Cycle recycling station which can receive all sorts of hard-to-recycle items. Click here for the link to what ZERO can currently receive to recycle. Or you can click here for further information on the opportunities to recycle in Guildford.
For further information, visit ZERO’s website: www.zerocarbonguildford.org
Bible Study Resources
Some of you may already be thinking towards the new term and considering what Bible passages to study in your groups. Here are a couple of suggestions:
From Tearfund, ‘Christianity and Climate Change’: a nine-part film series featuring Katharine Hayhoe, the internationally renowned Christian climate scientist, taking a closer look at the climate crisis and how Christians are called to respond.
A book published by BRF, entitled ‘Changing the Climate – applying the Bible in a Climate Crisis’: containing practical Bible-based material to use in families and churches.
What About Us?
A small Creation Care team has been set up, coordinated by Sara Sims, our Creation Care Coordinator. Our first project will be to take part in HM Queen’s Green Canopy Initiative, by planting a native tree on church land in order to attract birds and pollinators. We shall then be hoping, in the spring, to turn a part of the grassy area on the western side of the building into a wildflower meadow, again for pollinators to flourish.
If you would like to be part of the Creation Care team, please contact Sara Sims via the Church Office (email@example.com).