Eco Church Information

ECO CHURCH

St John’s Church has very excitingly signed up to A Rocha’s ECO CHURCH programme

Who or what is A Rocha?

A Rocha UK is a Christian charity working for the protection and restoration of the natural world and committed to mobilising Christians and churches in the UK to care for the environment

What is Eco Church?

It is an Online survey to motivate and resource churches and their members to care for creation, to love our global neighbours and follow God faithfully. The survey looks at five key areas of church life:

  1. Worship and teaching
  2. Management of church buildings (where applicable)
  3. Management of church land (where applicable)
  4. Community and global engagement
  5. Lifestyle

What has St John’s done so far?

  • Appointed a volunteer to champion environmental issues
  • Completed the unique survey – The good news is we are doing well in some areas, so already we have collected points towards an Eco Church award. Although our score doesn’t gain us an Eco Church Award at the moment, the idea is to complete further actions in order to gain the points necessary for an Award. For example, perhaps we could switch to a green energy company or invite a Christian environmentalist to speak at a church event.
  • Invited SSDC to seed a wildflower area on our land and put up bird boxes on some of the trees and they have agreed to do this.
  • Posted 2 series of handy hints to make our everyday lives more environmentally friendly on St John’s Facebook page
  • Two House Groups have undertaken a bible study entitled ‘Caring for God’s Earth’
  • Started planning a ‘Swishing’ (clothes swap) event for 16th May 2020. This is now postponed.

What can I do?

  • Support the things we have already committed to -like using Fairtrade items for church events, reducing the use of plastic and taking home things that can be recycled and put in your kerbside recycling.
  • Come and talk – to Pauline Kibblewhite and find out more.
  •  Join our ‘green team’ Then you can register as a user on the Eco Church app, arocha.org.uk – find our church and then be able to read the survey and see if you have any ideas for how we can improve in a particular area.
  • Pray for this area of our church life
  • Check the St John’s Website and facebook page for tips and information

We are not perfect but it is better to be imperfectly active than perfectly inactive”

Andy Watts – leader of Locking Castle church green team who won an A Rocha silver award in 2019

MORE IDEAS ?

Reduce your car use. Car share, walk, cycle or use public transport
Undertake an Environmental Lifestyle Audit
Take part in a littler pick or a beach clean
Choose the Archbishop of Canterbury’s suggested Lent book ’Care for God’s creation’ as a Bible study for your house group, Children’s groups or individually at any time of the year
Adhere to the principles of LOAF (local, organic, animal friendly, fairtrade) and go plastic free at church socials
Set up a Repair Cafe


“Underlying all we do is our biblical faith in the living God, who made the world, loves it and entrusts it to the care of human society” –  A Rocha
 

 

A Garden Prayer Walk

Perhaps you are finding it a struggle to concentrate on prayer at the moment, or maybe you always find it challenging…you wouldn’t be alone in that! Here is a different kind of prayer that enables you to spend time out in God’s amazing creation, whilst also spending time with the creator.

All you will need is a copy of this prayer walk and an outside space near plants and trees.

A Garden Prayer Walk

  1. “Now the Lord God planted a garden… and made all kinds of trees grow.” Genesis 2:8-9
    Meditation: Praise the Creator God – Maker of Heaven and Earth. God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.”
    Senses: Sight and hearing. Look over the garden, trees, and beyond.
  2. “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Mark 4:9
    Meditation: Listen, still your heart before the Lord and, like Samuel, say “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.” Listen to the wind/breeze and grasses, flowers, and other plants rustling in the wind. Is God telling you something here?
    Senses: Hearing
  3. “They are a fragrant offering, and acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God.” Philippians 4:18
    Meditation: Ask the Lord to show you areas of your life that are not ‘sweet smelling.’ Make confession and then ask for God’s forgiveness. Now ask the Lord to show you areas of your life that are ‘sweet smelling’ and ask God to strengthen them and thank God. Let your praise be an incense.
    Senses: Smell
  4. “I am my beloved and he is mine; he browses among the lilies.” Song of Solomon 6:3
    Meditation: See with understanding that you are God’s precious child. Receive God’s love. Observe things in detail. Look at the birds, insects, wildlife, flowers, and the general biodiversity that exists.
    Senses: Sight
  5. “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.” Matthew 9:21
    Meditation: Open yourself to God’s touch, whether for your body, mind or spirit. Receive from God.
    Senses: Touch. Feel the various leaves in this area – sharp, waxy, soft and spiky.
  6. “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” Isaiah 55:2
    Meditation: Where are you on your spiritual journey? Are you dry and thirsty? Are you feeding your soul? O taste and see that the Lord is good! Trust in God and be encouraged as you seek more of God. Taste and smell the fresh lemon mint (or whatever is in front of you) and allow the Holy Spirit to infuse your mind and body.
    Senses: Taste.
  7. “For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow.” Isaiah 61:11
    Meditation: God is the God of newness and renewal. See where God has renewed you and brought newness, and give thanks. The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed. Jesus reminds us that the smallest of seeds can grow into trees. We live in a broken world and we can bring shelter to the needy.
    Senses: Smell, touch and sight. (Pick a sprig of lavender or something else available)
  8. “Praise the Lord from the earth, small creatures and flying birds.” Psalm 148:7-12
    Meditation: God is our provider. God cares for the sparrows, and how much more precious are we? Thank God for providing even if currently you are struggling to see it. Ask God to meet you in creation and look for signs of God’s personality and presence in the things God has made.
    Senses: Hearing and sight. Listen and see the birds feeding.
  9. “The angel showed me the river of water of life.” Revelation 22:1
    Meditation: Invite the Holy Spirit to come and bubble up afresh in your life. Listen to the music of running water. (If there is no running water, imagine the sound of it in your mind).
    Senses: Hearing, sight and touch. (Feel the cool water).
  10. “He leads me beside quiet waters.” Psalm 23:2
    Meditation: Lay down any burdens that are lingering and let the Lord lead you by still waters. Think about tranquility and peace.
    Senses: Hearing and sight.
  11. “In this place I will give peace.” Haggai 2:9
    Meditation: May you know God’s peace in every aspect of your life. May God truly bless you.

 

Source: https://thebigandthesmall.com/blog/2018/10/29/garden-prayer-walk

Lockdown Bingo

Here’s a good game for you to play – Lockdown Bingo!

We are aware that we are now heading into our 5th week of lock down and you may have painted every bit of the house that can be painted, and if you bake and eat any more cake you’ll need to build an extension.

So here is a specially designed game of bingo. You must complete 3 tasks which are next to each other, either vertically, horizontally or diagonally, so that you can draw a straight line through them. In each line there must be one green task, one yellow task and one purple task. You may even want to have a go at all of them to achieve a full house.

Where appropriate do send us your efforts (to jennifer@sjyeovil.org.uk) so that we and everybody else can benefit from your creativity. All ages welcomed although you may need to assist a younger child. All star players will be acknowledged appropriately. Have fun!!

This Bingo grid is also available on the St John’s Church Yeovil Facebook page.

Eco Christmas Suggestions

Church is a community of people that celebrates God, and all God has created. When that creation is devalued and desecrated, church needs to shine like a beacon in the night. Let’s be a role model to show how a community can care for creation. Here are a few ideas to get you started this Christmas.

read on

Rector’s Letter, December & January

Dear friends

It is amazing how our culture has done its best to take Christ out of Christmas. The greetings cards now say ‘Season’s Greetings’ and the decorations, jumpers, and shop windows all show penguins, puddings and presents instead of Christ. I try very hard never to use the abbreviation ‘Xmas’, because that really does take Christ out of Christmas!

But it’s not just our culture that has tried to do this. King Herod tried to take Christ out of the first Christmas. He was so desperate that he put to death every male baby in and around Bethlehem under the age of two, because he did not want Jesus Christ in his little world, where he reigned supreme.

On the other hand, Mary brought Christ into the first Christmas. God sent her an angel to explain what was going to happen, and even though it meant the disgrace of giving birth before she was married, she still had enough faith to say: ‘I am the Lord’s servant; may your word to me be fulfilled.’ And it was: she trusted God and gave birth to the Saviour.

Mary or Herod? Whose side will you take?

How could you bring Christ into your Christmas this year? Find a book for Advent from our Church bookstall. Read the first chapters of Luke’s gospel. Come to a church service you don’t usually come to. Pray for the gift of faith, for yourself and for others. Say a real prayer of thanks at your Christmas lunch. Put a bible verse in your Christmas cards. Mark out half a day in mid-December when you can prepare your heart for Jesus. Buy a CD of Christmas praise and sing along as you drive your car. Read about the birth of Jesus with your children, and help them to pray.

Who wants to be on Herod’s side? Don’t join him, but do have a very happy Christmas, with Christ at the heart of it all.

With my best wishes – James.

P.S. This is the last edition of FOCUS that Elaine Mitchell will produce for us. She has been editor for ten years and given us 100 editions. That is an amazing act of service, and Elaine, we all want to say ‘Thank you’ for all you have done, month by month, with such commitment and skill. Huge thanks and much love from us all at St. John’s and St. Andrew’s.

Rector’s Letter, November 2018

Dear friends

The word ‘LEADER’ is only used eight times in the New Testament, and each time it refers not to a Christian church leader, but to a Jewish synagogue leader. On the other hand, the plural word ‘LEADERS’ does occur several times, referring to the leaders in a local Christian church. Christian leadership should be plural.

By the grace of God I remain your Rector, and I continue to be so thankful for all of you who support and pray for me in my leadership and ministry. But in fact the leadership of our churches is plural: Tom and I work together, with churchwardens, staff, PCC, Fellowship Group leaders, children’s and youth work leaders, and other leaders here too.

The PCC and I are currently trying to encourage the Diocesan authorities to guarantee the future of the Associate Minister post; please pray for the future of our ordained ministry in the parish, and the chaplaincy at Yeovil College. I have also been asking the Diocese if we might be entrusted with a curate. No news yet.

The last chapter of Hebrews tells Christians to ‘Remember your leaders’ – remember the word of God which they speak, and remember how they live so you can copy it, and remember their faith so you can grow in it too. The writer later tells Christians to ‘Obey your leaders’ – so their work will be a joy not a burden. I am confident my fellow-leaders would agree that in our churches, most of the time, it is a great joy to serve here.

You who are members of our churches usually make for easy burdens. But Christian leadership brings other burdens with it, in a world that understands Christian faith less and less, and in a national church that is struggling with declining membership and division over matters of life and faith. The enemy is at work, and he likes to distract and discourage.

In 2 Timothy (our current preaching book for the 6:30 service), Paul the older minister instructs Timothy the younger one, with these commands: Do not be ashamed, join with me in suffering, keep the pattern of sound teaching, be strong, endure, be faithful, handle the word of truth correctly, flee from evil desires, be kind, teach, instruct, preach the Word, correct, rebuke, encourage, keep your head, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. And Paul gives Timothy another command too, to keep him going: ‘Remember Jesus Christ’ (2 Timothy 2:8).

So I hope you will do that. ‘Remember Jesus Christ’ and ‘Remember your leaders’ too.

Thank you for your prayers, and all best wishes – James

Sermons available via video

We are having a few issues with the audio sermon uploads which is why many of the recent sermons are missing. Most are available as videos on our YouTube channel.

Videos

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