By Chris Hunt
Living on an Eco-Town comes with its challenges. The extra pressure to recycle everything correctly, the shame of driving your 4×4 past all those electric cars, and the realisation that when I drive onto the estate, our house is lit up like a Christmas tree when everyone else is saving energy. I can’t be the only parent constantly switching off the lights in the house!? But more than these pangs of guilt that accompany the continuing adjustment to an Eco way of life, is the blessing and enjoyment of being part of a community who put the needs of the earth first; even central, to important decisions like where to live and where to buy a house. I feel a great sense of privilege when talking to my neighbours that I get to live on Elmsbrook, and although I am still an eco-warrior in training, my value for the planet and my awareness of my own impact on it have grown in the last two years that we have lived here.
I was encouraged to discover as I began my training as an ordinand in the Church of England that the Church have already been thinking about the importance of planet stewardship. In-fact one of the five marks of mission identified by the C of E is this:
“To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth”
This statement would be at home as much in the welcome pack of an Eco town resident as it would be in our churches and this common ground for stewardship of our planet is a valuable starting place as we seek to engage with those around us.
My hope as we minister on Elmsbrook is that this shared goal of care for the planet will open up conversations that lead to sharing about the one who created it. That we will learn from each other, as I am already learning from my neighbours, and that God will open up doors to bring His kingdom to Elmsbrook as we engage with the truth that we worship a God who cares for His creation and is working in us to renew and restore it to all that it should be.