Bishop’s Letter: Let’s shower blessings on other parts of the world
Even just a few weeks without rain reminds us how dependent we are upon nature
After three weeks of hot weather those of use with long memories are thinking back to 1976. It was a year when we had uninterrupted sun from May to September. The English hoteliers loved it as record numbers of holiday makers stayed in the UK and flocked to coastal resorts. Then, as now, many gardeners were desperate as plants wilted. I have already lost about a dozen shrubs in my garden here in St Albans and I am waiting anxiously to hear if we are going to have a hose pipe ban. Even just a few weeks without rain reminds us how dependent we are upon nature.
As I write this, I am about to go to General Synod in York where we will debating motions on the environment and climate change. The first motion proposes that the churches should disinvest from companies ‘focused on thermal coal mining and the production of oil from oil sands’ and instead use our investing power to support the development of low carbon alternatives.
The second motion, brought by the Diocese of London, proposes ways that every part of the Church of England can reduce its CO2 emissions over the coming years to mitigate the effects of climate change.
I hope both of these motions will not only be passed but that the debates will energise us to play our part in combatting climate change.
Here in the West we take it for granted that we will always have enough to eat and drink, but that is not the case in other parts of the world. For example, parts of Malawi suffer from long periods of drought and occasional torrential downpours which cause flash floods, both of which ruin crops and leave the local people without food. This is why my Harvest Appeal for 2018 is going to help people in Southern Malawi by providing pigeon peas and training people in how to grow and harvest them. These little peas have very deep roots which protect them from drought and keep them secure when the floods arrive.
A by-product is that these peas put nitrogen back into the soil and after harvest the foliage can be used to create a nutrient-rich mulch or to feed livestock.
I hope that many of our churches, schools and chaplaincies will join in with me this year in supporting the 2018 Harvest Appeal to support people who find themselves at much greater risk than we are due to the vagaries of the weather.
Bishop Alan, St Albans
‘Give Peas a Chance’ is on: www.harvestappeal.org