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Revitalising Commitment for Life in your church. Khalid Mansau 1

Nigel Newlyn, from Eastcote and Northwood Hills URC explains what his church did.  

A service in aid of "Commitment for Life" was held at the United Reformed Church of Eastcote & Northwood Hills on Sunday, 25 September 2016  led by Linda Mead – CfL Programme Coordinator. Following the World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel, we were delighted to welcome Linda to lead morning worship at our Church on 25 September.

One of the key tenets of our mission work in Church is our support for CfL and we have chosen Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory to be our partner for prayer and active fundraising.

Linda gave us valuable insight into the obstacles faced by those whose livelihoods are threatened on a daily basis; and into the restrictions imposed by the occupying regime upon those whose very existence depends upon eking out a meagre living off the land. This was supported by a series of photographic slides, which demonstrated, amongst other things, the shifting of the territorial boundaries since the original UN Partition Plan for Palestine was adopted in 1947.

The service was followed by a "themed lunch" comprising Bread and Hummus; Arabic rice and chicken; Vegetable musaqaa and Mediterranean salad; followed by a selection of Almond biscuits, Satsumas, Dates and Tukish Delight. Our thanks go to Linda for visiting us. Both the service and the lunch were extremely well received by all!

Nigel Newlyn - Mission Group Leader

Image: Khalid Mansau, a PARC employee, showing the new fruit trees planted on previously barrenland.

Pray and Fast for the Climate

Read why Ian Rowe, Intern with Commitment for Life 2013-2014, is fasting on the 1st of each month.

We all have a morning routine don't we? Let me guess yours as most are quite similar! You get up at about 7am, shower, get dressed and have breakfast. Then go to work. If you have kids I'm guessing there will be a lot of shouting to get out of bed (there certainly was when I was a teenager!). No matter what your routine is it will almost certainly involve trying to get some food down you! Even as a self-confessed lazy student I will always grab some bread and eat it running to my lectures! Breakfast, of course, isn't the only meal we eat each day.

My childhood is punctuated with memories of awkward family meals at night or the inedible mess of a scout cooked meal. It's the same at Uni. Food is something I cook all the time for my friends. When anyone wants anything vaguely exciting like birthday cakes or roast dinners, it's my door they knock on. So you have guessed by now I like food and writing about it. But on the first of each month I go without. Not for some dietary reasons. Not because it's a clever way to save money. No I fast in solidarity; solidarity with hundreds of others across the UK. We all fast for the climate. Odd you may think? Well, think back to Typhoon Haiyan which hit the Philippines in November 2013.

At the time the UN was having a climate conference in Warsaw, Poland. On hearing the news, the Filipino representative, Yeb Sano, began to fast in solidarity with those affected. It soon spread around the conference and on social media to become a solidarity fast for the Philippines. Working in Christian Aid's office at the time we took up the challenge and many in the office started fasting. This sparked a movement of people who fast and pray on the first day of each month until something meaningful is done about climate change. You may think this is a nice little gimmick and not much else, and in many ways you’re right. But by fasting we are able, in a small way, to think of others for whom food security is a dream at best. Climate change is not only just affecting natural disasters like Typhoon Haiyan and making them more destructive but also the changing weather conditions are affecting the crops of millions of farmers in the developing world. Climate change is like almost all injustices in that it is mainly caused by the richest whilst affecting the poorest the most.

So next month why don’t you give up food for the first day of the month and think and pray about those for whom this is a daily occurrence and not just a monthly voluntary experience. If you want to find out more about ‘Pray and Fast for the Climate’ visit www.prayandfastfortheclimate.org.uk/ and if you want to find out more about those affected by climate change that Commitment for Life supports, visit our resource page.

Speak Up Lobby

mary cox1

The  sun and around 9000 supporters came out in force to lobby 330 MPs at the ‘Speak Up’ Climate Lobby of Parliament organised by the Climate Coalition on 17th June.

Commitment for Life Supporter, Mary Cox, shares her thoughts on the day

They came from the North of Scotland, from the West of Wales, from the South of England from the East of Anglia and we came, John and I, from St Ives in Cambridgeshire.  Thousands came to London to ‘Speak Up’ to their MPs. We all wanted to let them know why climate change matters so much, and to press them to put their weight behind countries acting together at the UN Climate Conference in December.  Among them were surfers and swimmers, farmers and faith groups, all urgent to protect the world they love.  As someone said there is no Planet B, there are no second chances.

The Faith groups, included the URC, were represented.  The General Secretary, the Revd John Proctor, took part in one of the two ecumenical services, alongside a mended heart.

It was a pity that our MP wasn’t available to come and speak to us, but more than 300 MPs did come out to talk to their constituents.

We took our Free Church bunting to the Archbishop’s Park in Lambeth from where it will join up with all the bunting that will be going to Paris in December.

The finale to the day was the rally outside Parliament where inspiring speakers shared their love of the planet. There were even poems from Arthur Smith, Carol Ann Duffy and Shakespeare.

Wednesday was also the day the Church of England launched its Lambeth Declaration 2015 on Climate Change.  (You can read the full text and sign up at www.churchcare.co.uk/shrinking-the-footprint) And on the following day the Vatican published Pope Francis’s long-awaited encyclical on the environment, which warns of ‘serious consequences’ if the world does not act on climate change.

 

Mary Cox
St Ives Free Church