Thursday, 29 September 2016


Autumn 2016 is the Season of Creation! The Archbishop of Canterbury has joined the Orthodox Patriarch and Pope Francis in asking Christians to use the time from 1st September to 4th October to focus attention on our call to care for creation. Around the globe, Christians will be praying and acting.  In this season of beauty and abundance it is easy to appreciate the world around us but there is more to his request than thanksgiving.  If you can, please find a minute (actually one minute and three seconds!) to watch the Archbishop’s message here:

To respond in practical ways, take a look at the article that Stephanie Summerell of the Love Creation team has written called ‘How to Live Sustainably’.  It’s in the latest St James Magazine on pages 14-15.  We’d like to hear what you think of it, and also collect any of your own tips that we can share with others.  We now have an e-mail address so you can contact us with your thoughts and ideas: 

We’d love to have conversations about Loving God’s Creation and living in a way that supports this, so please let us know any ideas you might have on how we can achieve this. Better still join us – we’re a small team with lots of ideas and could do with some more pairs of hands!

Thursday, 10 March 2016

God's Great Outdoors 

In the late 1970s Roger Ulrich conducted research to see if people recovered in hospitals better if they had something natural to look at out their window. The answer was a resounding “YES!”  Numerous studies since Ulrich’s original research have confirmed that spending time in nature has healing benefits, both physically and emotionally.

               Many times we think of nature providing us only with food and raw materials, but God’s handiwork provides us more than just the obvious.  Gardeners and nature enthusiasts will attest that they enjoy the outdoors because it makes them feel better.  So get outside!

               If you are up for a brisk 4-6 mile local walk with several other church members about once a month, you are in luck.  The St. James Walkers are a lively group of adults that enjoy the exercise, the company, the scenery, and a hearty meal at a pub after the walk.            
   For more information and to be added to the email list, contact Andrew Shingleton

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Fairtrade Fortnight 29th February-13th March: Choose products that change Lives

Fairtrade Fortnight 2016 will be featuring Fairtrade breakfasts

to inspire the UK public to sit down for breakfast in support of the farmers who grow the food we have every morning, such as coffee, tea, cocoa and bananas. As Martin Luther King once said, ‘before you finish eating breakfast in the morning, you’ve depended on more than half the world’.

 Lack of food security is one of the world’s most critical issues. Despite millions of farmers and workers in developing countries working hard every day to grow the food we eat, many don’t earn enough to know where their next meal is coming from. The Fairtrade system ensures 1.5 Million farmers across Africa, Asia and Latin and Central America receive a fair price for their work, as well as an additional Fairtrade Premium, used to invest in their communities. The community then decides what the premium is spent on, whether that’s building a new school or hospital, or investing in better environmental business practices.

 When people are paid a fair price, they can have more control over their lives when times are hard, and worry less about how they will feed their families. Whether it’s having the money to spend on food or being able to expand their farms to grow more food to eat, Fairtrade means many farmers and workers are able to do what we take for granted – put enough food on the table for the people they care about, all year round.

 Farming is the backbone of the world. It’s simply wrong that whilst farmers work hard to produce what we eat so many of them should go hungry themselves.

 The UK is one of the world’s leading Fairtrade markets, with more products and more awareness of Fairtrade than anywhere else. St James Church is a fair-trade church: we use Fairtrade coffee and tea at all our events.

 There is an enormous range of Fairtrade products available, including clothing, jewellery, toys, homeware and gifts as well as groceries and household items so it is possible to make a large percentage of our shopping ethical.

During Fairtrade Fortnight you will see promotions for Fairtrade product in some of our local stores.

There are links for certain products from the Fairtrade website, but the largest range is available from Traidcraft plc, which is a trading company entirely dedicated to fair trade in that it applies fair trade principles across its full range of products. You can shop online: and also access their website from the Fairtrade website.

 For more information on the range of products, see the Fairtrade website. (the range now includes fairly traded gold: say ‘I do’ with an ethically mined gold ring!)

 If your local shop doesn’t offer Fairtrade products you can order leaflets explaining Fairtrade and giving them to the manager, while politely asking them to stock Fairtrade. And when they do, support them by telling others and buying the Fairtrade products!

Friday, 27 November 2015

Bringing Advent Down to Earth

Wise men and women bearing gifts appear in a unique online calendar to bring Advent down to earth. They are clergy and conservationists – presenting specially written podcasts to promote prayer for the planet.

Their ‘thought for the day’-style audio clips can be found on A Rocha UK’s Hope for the world website. The aim of the calendar is to equip and inform listeners about the United Nations climate change talks in Paris.

From 1st December, each day brings a different message by such people as – Alpha pioneer Nicky Gumbel, TV presenter Peter Owen-Jones, Christian Aid chief Loretta Minghella, botanist explorer Sir Ghillean Prance and CAFOD director Chris Bain.

‘We have an amazing line-up of contributors. I’m excited about how this calendar can play a unique role in encouraging Christians to pray, reflect and act during the UN talks and the Advent season,’ said Churches And Theology Director Dr Valerio (pictured).


Dr Valerio was speaking at the climate march in London on 29th November. This will be part of a worldwide programme of protest walks in major cities on the eve of the climate change talks, which run from 30th November to 12th December.

And please pray for safety for all those participating in the Climate marches.  And for all those attending the Paris Summit.

The podcasts can be heard at . Enquirers don’t have to wait until December – they can register now for daily notifications.
- See more at: 

(Photo of Dr Ruth Valerio by Clive Price)

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Bags Of Theology

We had our chance. They told us our use of plastic bags was getting out of control. They tried to warn us, but would we listen? Some employed the ‘carrot’ approach, enticing us to reuse our bags by offering us ‘green points’ in their loyalty schemes, but we would not be moved. So now it’s time for the stick.

 From the beginning of October, shops in England with more than 250 employees have had to start charging a minimum of 5p for each plastic carrier bag they give out. As often seems to be the case, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are way ahead of England, having introduced similar laws over the past few years.

 We were all given the option of behaving responsibly, but too few of us took it; the waste piles continued to grow, and we had to be forced to comply by law rather than by choice.

 For some, the reasons were philosophical – they didn’t believe that the issue was serious enough to warrant action. For others, they were more practical – a simple inability to remember to take bags every time they went out on the off-chance they might need to buy groceries later.

Some, I’m sure, were just too lazy or selfish to make it their problem. That’s the category I’d fall into – if the shop I was patronising didn’t award points for my reused bags, I wouldn’t bother to take any with me. I knew it was a good thing to do. It was easy. It represented a negligible inconvenience to my life, yet I didn’t do it anyway.

 It’s the tiniest of examples, but there’s a well-known principle about those who are – or are not – faithful in the small things. If ‘I do not do the good I want to do’ (Romans 7:19) in this relatively trivial area, that’s probably a reflection on my likelihood – or not – of doing the bigger good things I want to do. ‘What a wretched [person] I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?’ (Romans 7:24).

 Maybe you think I’m making too much of a simple carrier bag, but it has served to remind me this week of the reality of my sinful nature and my need for a saviour.

 ‘Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!’ (Romans 7:25).

Jennie Pollock is a writer and editor. She blogs at and tweets as @missjenniep


Taken from LICC (London Institute of Contemporary Theology) Connecting with Culture

Friday, 23 October 2015

Caring for birds in your garden

Autumn is the time of year to prepare for winter. For those of us with gardens, we’re cutting back and dividing plants in the beds as well as raking the leaves as they fall off the trees. But it is time to care for the birds, too.

  Nest Boxes:

 If you have bird nest boxes in your garden, the time to clean them is now, between September and December. The birds have finished raising their young, so the boxes will not have any birds living in them. For each box, open the lid, remove the contents and dispose, then pour boiling water in the box concentrating on the corners and bottom. When birds nest, they will have mites, ticks, and lice living in the box and feeding on both adults and chicks. These parasites can survive all winter and resume their activities in the spring, so it’s best to get rid of them now. Do not use any kind of powders as they can harm birds. Leave the box to dry, add some fresh dry grass or leaves, close the box and rehang. Sometimes a nest box might have unhatched eggs and dead chicks; this is not unusual as adult birds might lay more eggs than they can raise or adults cannot find enough food to feed the chicks.


Some birds live here all year, and some migrate through on their way to their winter home. At this time of year, feed the birds high energy foods such as fat balls and cheese, supplementing with fruits such as apples, grapes, and dried fruits. Good quality bird seed and dried meal worms are both appreciated by the birds, too. Water bowls should be cleaned daily if possible. Set your bird feeder where you can see it out your window so that you can watch the birds enjoying their feast.

  Plant a Meadow :

If you have an area in your garden that has been neglected for a while, consider clearing off the grass and sow native flower and grass seeds. Once the area grows, birds will enjoy eating the insects
they find and some ground nesting birds may find a home.

  Happy Autumn!

   Cindy Crump

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Gardeners Gold

Gardener’s gold

Autumn is a busy time of year in the garden.  But the falling leaves are a valuable resource not to be wasted. If left to decompose, they turn into leaf mould and over time produce a wonderful compost. 

Oak, beech and hornbeam leaves make the best quality leafmould and break down the quickest.  Thicker leaves such as sycamore, walnut, horse chestnut and sweet chestnut take longer.  Conifer and evergreen leaves can take 2-3 years to decompose, so are best avoided unless you’re very patient!

Collect leaves when they are wet, or sprinkle with water to dampen them and leave them in a shady spot in an out of the way corner.  If you have the room you can buy or make a wire mesh container for your leaves. Otherwise you can buy purpose-made sacks made from loosely woven jute from most garden centres now.  They hold an amazing amount of leaves and have the added advantage of being bio-degradable.    Or place your leaves into a large, black polythene sack such as a bin liner.  You will need to punch a few holes in the sides and bottom of it or your leaves will become a slimy mess. Tie the top loosely.  Bear in mind that the volume of leaves will reduce to between a quarter and a third as it becomes leafmould. You can’t possibly overdose your soil on it though so make as much as you can! Bags can be stacked if you’re short of space.
The leaves should have decomposed after about a year and you can use the resulting leafmould as a mulch.  After another year it can be dug in to improve your soil or even used as a seed sowing compost.

With autumn leaves in such plentiful supply why not work your own bit of magic? Turning nature’s discards into leafmould does feel a little like alchemy!