Monday, 8 November 2010

Vision for sustainability

Abbot Stuart is an ordained Anglican priest and Novice Ian is an ordained Methodist pastor, and they preside in turn at the Eucharist. Alison, another Anglican priest, will arrive next January to live alongside for a couple of months, and she will also take her turn.

Today we had our first Methodist communion* in the new chapel, and confessed: "You care for all that you have made, but we ignore the needs of others and misuse your creation." Later in the service, Ian used the "God our Father and our Mother, we give you thanks and praise for all that you have made, for the stars in their splendour and the world in its wonder and for the glorious gift of human life."

When I stayed at Broad Marston for a few days back in the summer, I wrote some blurb about sustainability at Mucknell Abbey in anticipation of the launch of the new website. To quote:
God delights in creation. At Mucknell Abbey, we want to show in our lives some echo of that delight. So we want to affirm the greatness of the created material order, and that we exist in relationship to God, to each other, and to the rest of creation. Why should Christians care about the earth? Primarily because God cares.

But it is also a question of justice. Human activity, mostly in developed countries, has caused great harm to our planet home, affecting the atmosphere, land and ocean. We have caused great hardship for our neighbours in developing countries, and damaged many ecosystems, often beyond repair.

It is also in our own self-interest. Because we are only one thread in an inter-dependent web, we are endangering our own future. We have caused the extinction of many species, and may cause the extinction of our own.

In moving to Mucknell Abbey, we are seeking to live more simply, more sustainably, more lightly on the earth. We want to become more aware of the web of relationships, and how our common life is lived as part of a wider ecology. We want to live our lives in celebration of God’s creation, in deep gratitude and humility, with generosity and hospitality.

Of course, this is a work in progress! We have had a long journey to where we are now, and have only just arrived at Mucknell. Much is aspirational, and there will be much more we could do, and probably much we haven’t even considered. Our current aim is to settle into Mucknell, live on the land and understand the place, and do our best with the other things.

But if we can still be an example to others, thanks be to God!
* Using the liturgy Holy Communion during Ordinary Seasons (Second Service)