In September 2021, the Shropshire and Marches Methodist Circuit held its first Care for Creation Day Away on a farm in the south of the circuit. As this was a first, we weren’t sure how many people would attend, so we were delighted to have 60+ from all over our large Circuit. We were blessed with good weather, meeting in the garden due to Covid restrictions at the time. The garden lent itself to three groups meeting in the different ‘rooms’. The three speakers moved from group to group, speaking on Forest Church, Eco Church and the farm’s sustainability plans.
Forest Church is active in the northern part of the Circuit, and our speaker explained that it follows the Celtic Year. We looked at trees, seeds and hedges (each group choosing one of these) and contemplated and shared what we had found. We also received an introduction to Eco Church and were shown examples of the questionnaire. We explored questions like how to reduce our carbon footprint, where to make changes and how to encourage the congregation to get involved.
Father and son Gwatkin (John and David) told us about the development of their farm from being tenants to owner-occupied, with increased numbers of cattle, but grass-fed to be more sustainable. They were developing a system of rainwater harvesting to be used for the cattle and the buildings. On the following day, Sunday, we visited the farm again for a harvest-themed service led by our agricultural chaplain, David Gwatkin, preceded by a picnic lunch.
Spurred on by the success of the day, we are now planning a second ‘Day Away’ in a more central venue, following the same format with sessions on managing land for wildlife and food production (Wildlife Trust), food chain supply issues (S. Shropshire Climate Action) and supporting the community through food-related activities (Hands Together Ludlow), under the theme ‘Food for All? – Food Chains’.
Thank you to Elizabeth from Ludlow Methodist Church for writing the above reflection.