Thursday, 13 January 2011

Ripon and Leeds Eco-congregation

Congratulations to the Diocesan Office on being the first Diocesan Office in England to win an Eco-congregation Award. 
You can see what the diocesan office has done to win the award on
Measures taken by the office include increasing their recycling, decreasing waste, using Fair Trade products and creating a wildlife friendly area in the grounds. The office is trying to move away from so much dependence on paper. Those who receive communications from the office need to think about this!  It's obviously no good simply transfering the printing of documents from one office to another. Educating ourselves to read things online is not easy; persuading and training people to do this is part of the work of the communications group. But are there things we can do - take documents to meetings on a laptop or netbook? Read mailings on screen over a week, a few minutes a day? Avoid producing hand outs or notes at meetings where verbal communication will in in fact do the trick? I have to admit I find this extremely difficult myself, coming as I do from the era of banda machines then photocopiers then printers and an education system that insisted a lesson wasn't a lesson without handouts.  But I think that it's important to try to adapt. I know someone who works for an IT company from home and who never has a piece of paper on his desk! Something to aspire to, perhaps, but we, in the churches, need a lot of help in reveiwing our communication practices if we are to get even an eigth of the way there! 

Churches in the UK have a fairly paper-dependent culture, perhaps even more so in the Church of England since the introduction of Common Worship. We seem to require freshly processed service sheets on every possible occasion, these days. Perhaps one contribution to reducing the amount of paper we use might be to think about our worship; could we return to the age old practice of memorizing texts? Could aspects of our worship be more spontaneous and less driven by reading? Could we learn to listen more and to extemporize when appropriate? Could we depend on cantors, audible readers, intercessors and presidents rather than having everything written down?  Some churches opt for digital screens where this is appropriate, but there is lots we can do, quite  simply, without resorting to this. Personally, I would much prefer to follow a cantor or hear a well read passge from the Dramatised Bible than to have my eyes glued to either a bit of paper or a screen. 

Possibly another thing we could all think about is not using processed food, especially in the middle of the day, when we are all busy and need that calorie or caffeine fix in a hurry! What could be better than fruit and raw vegetables? When I was at theological college, we always had a bread and soup lunch once a week. How about offices having a fresh veg and fruit lunch once a week instead of a sandwich, crisps and cake one?

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