Revd Richard Reade
LETTER FROM OUR CURATE ANNE
From the top deck of the X17 bus as it grinds and speeds its way alternately up and down the hills towards Chesterfield, there are some wonderful views whatever the season. Just now the fields are ´ripe for harvesting´, but the relentless sunshine followed by heavy rain we´ve experienced at different times through the summer remind us how fragile are our crops, how swiftly and easily they can be flattened by storm or shrivelled by drought, and how quickly shortages drive up prices in the shops.
Yet for us, these annual variations are not matters of life and death, unlike the extremes of weather suffered by millions in mainland Africa, in what Christian Aid describes there as ´the worst humanitarian crisis since 1945´.
Scientific studies show that climate change is contributing to higher temperatures and the failure of seasonal rains. Climate change is neither fiction nor
´news´, but on the contrary ´most crucial issue facing our generation´ − not my words but of USPG who remind us of its spiritual significance citing the Fifth Mark of Mission of the Anglican Communion which calls us to ´ to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth.´
Far from the news headlines, in islands as far apart as Fiji and Madagascar, famine has hit, too. Sea levels are rising and washing away farmland, and rising temperatures are reducing fish stocks: there, drought is so severe that within a week of their christening last November, five newly baptised Malagasy children had died due to lack of food and drinking water.
All one in Christ, their suffering is ours, too. Through USPG, we partner our brothers and sisters in these Anglican provinces in their need. They call upon us to listen to one another as one community, to be globally aware, and work to ´lives and face climate change together´
This partnership in the Gospel will be a significant theme for us through the autumn, as we stand in solidarity with communities in these nations: and although our Harvest Appeal will be for financial contributions, it doesn´t stop (or even indeed start) there. We can make simple changes to our own lifestyles every day: I´m sure you know about the ´butterfly effect´ how one tiny change locally can have huge effects globally.
As we give thanks for the abundance of our harvests, those we see from the bus or in our own gardens and allotments (even though those over−abundant courgettes can also be an embarrassment!), I pray that we will reflect, talk and act together − the USPG prayer diary, and their booklet ´In a Changing Climate´, give plenty of information and ideas. And please pray, as we shall at harvest time:
´Lord, help us to share our abundance with those who are lacking, and work together to protect your creation´.
And while on the subject, I will value your prayers, too, as I´m ordained priest on September 20th (7 pm at All Saints). I look forward to seeing many of you there, and then to sharing more fully with Richard in ministry among you all − and anticipating that he will more often get his day off!
With every blessing,