Wednesday 26th February 2020
Giving up smoking, alcohol or chocolate is the traditional practice for Lent. But this year, the Diocese of Ipswich and St Edmundsbury is taking it one step further by going green for the Lent Challenge 2020. The Rt Revd Dr Mike Harrison, the Suffragan Bishop of Dunwich, is leading by example and learning how to care for bees in a bid to help preserve the species.
He said: “As part of my commitment to the Lent Challenge, I am taking up a course in bee keeping and have bought a beehive for my garden. Bees are crucial to our eco-system as they pollinate a third of the food we eat and 80% of flowering plants. Honeybees are disappearing across the world at an alarming rate due to pesticides, disease and habitat loss so it is imperative that we all do what we can to help protect them.”
As part of the Lent Challenge, Bishop Mike and the Rt Revd Martin Seeley, Bishop of Sd Edmundsbury and Ipswich, want families to think about ways in which they can protect and raise awareness of environmental issues.
Bishop Martin said: “Our appeal this year offers a set of resources for groups and individuals to engage positively and actively with environmental issues. As part of our appeal there is a booklet with 40 days of environmental challenges to raise awareness of the issues and encourage people to think about their role and contributions to the environment. The booklet encourages people to think about actions such as switching to renewable energy, swapping single-use plastic bottles of shower get for a bar of soap, buying reusable food covers instead of using clingfilm and changing lightbulbs to LED bulbs”
The Bishops’ Appeal is also part of the Church of England’s national campaign #LiveLent challenge, asking people to think about how we can protect God’s creation in a fun way. Anyone can sign up for a series of 40 Lent reflections, actions and prayers on the environment.
Bishop Martin added: “I hope that everyone engages with this Lent campaign, whether or not they are a churchgoer, and channels their energy into doing their bit for their community and the planet we all live on.”
The Diocese has already taken strides forward in green initiatives with 96 churches now signed up to the Eco Church scheme, which is run by A Rocha UK, a Christian environmental charity. The Revd Canon Sandie Barton, Diocesan Environment Officer, said: “We are proud to have achieved the bronze Eco Diocese award and 24 churches have been awarded bronze and 10 silver. It would be wonderful to see many more churches join Eco Church throughout Lent. The scheme encourages members to take manageable, but meaningful steps towards becoming more sustainable and caring better for God’s creation.”
Lent runs from Ash Wednesday on February 26 until Easter Sunday on April 12.
If you would like help and advice on environmental matters, get in touch with the Diocesan Environment Officer by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 01638 720770.