St. Mary Magdalene Church, Longfield has registered as an Eco Church
Last year in 2019 the Rural North West Kent (RNWK) group of churches, the parishes of Ash, Ridley, Fawkham and Hartley and Longfield, held there very first open air Creation Care Eco service. RNWK’s goal for 2020 was to take a huge step forward with a whole week’s festival this July around the concept of Creation Care grounded in the book of Genesis chapters 1 and 2. This was to include a week of outdoor activities, talks, services and workshops around climate change, the environment and creation. The development and advance of Covid 19 meant that we had to shelve our original concept. However, not wishing to be thwarted entirely in our endeavours from spreading God’s message about his creation and our stewardship of it, we set up our own RNWK Eco YouTube channel and put together a virtual Eco Festival with the heading ‘NOW IS OUR TIME TO ACT.’
With the Church of England committing itself to zero carbon emissions by 2030 and Rochester Diocese seeking to become a Eco Diocese, we felt that the subject of Creation Care, and as Christians the part we play in stewarding it, was too important to shelve even for 12 months. So we embarked in putting together a programme of events every evening over seven days.
The sessions consisted of a series of talks by high profile guest speakers, a talking heads evening of members of the RNWK group and the wider community including non-church goers giving Bible readings and poems. We had a film session as well as a full Creation Care Eco service along with a reflection evening before finishing off with an open zoom plenary event discussing the week’s programme and future festival ideas.
It is hoped that we can repeat the festival in 2021 depending on the public health situation at the time, with events either face to face in our church buildings or again virtually via our dedicated Eco RNWK You Tube channel or, indeed both. Also it is vital to build on the festival week with regular special church services around the care of God’s creation.
There is now a regular slot in the bi weekly Longfield Links newsletter on environmental issues. Subsequently as a group we have now moved on and in July the PCC of St. Mary Magdalene Church, Longfield, agreed to become an Eco Church. As a registered Eco Church on the ARocha Eco church programme St. Mary Magdalene will now work towards the attainment of the bronze, silver and gold awards.
The church has a voice on caring for our environment, it does not always use it, but at St. Mary Magdalene and in the RNWK group of churches we believe that it is a voice which should now be distinctive and clear, it is a voice that should be heard and it is a voice that must be heard, because ‘NOW IS OUR TIME TO ACT.’
You can view all of the sessions of the Eco Festival and the Eco Church service of 25th April on the RNWK Eco YouTube channel at:- https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCX-EdbQefV9TnhbuXItTGvA/