June 7th 2021

Superintendent's Newsletter June 7th 2021

Dear Friends,

Since the start of the Pandemic, we have been trying to do as much as possible as a Circuit, and the fortnightly letters I have been writing have been an opportunity for me to communicate with members of all the churches in the United Stockport Circuit which stretches all across the Borough. As we emerge from the Pandemic, we hope to be able to continue and develop that sense of being a part of something bigger, and a monthly letter will continue to be sent to you, written by a variety of people, not just myself, so that you will get a wide range of perspectives and a really good overview of the different aspects of the work that we are developing in the Circuit.

It has been an astonishing and devastating 15 months. We have seen things we never imagined we would see and learned to live in ways we could never have thought possible. For some of you this has been utterly traumatic, for others it has offered the opportunity to slow down and find a different pace of life. As we emerge from the Pandemic we will learn to listen to each other’s stories and experiences with grace and interest, not assuming our own experience is that of everyone. We will possibly delight in being able to come close to one another again, to gathering, to travelling, to living with a greater sense of freedom. Yet let us not forget the lessons we have learned about the need to strive for a cleaner, fairer society. The Pandemic exposed huge economic fault lines in our society and revealed how a simpler and less active existence can change some things for the better. On Sunday 6th June we will be recognising Climate Sunday in our Circuit as we join with folk across the world ahead of hosting the United Nations climate summit in Glasgow in 2021, to think about how we can move towards a healthier, greener, fairer future.  As a Circuit we will be joining with the wider Climate Coalition to say to the Prime Minister that the Time is Now and calling on him to:

  • Unleash a clean energy revolution that boosts jobs across the UK, making our transport, power and housing fit for the future
  • Protect, restore and expand our green and wild spaces; allowing nature to thrive, taking carbon from the air and boosting the nation’s health
  • Leave no one behind by increasing support to those most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change at home and abroad

The UK must lead the world by ensuring our recovery gets us on track to net-zero emissions and limits the rise in global temperature to 1.5 degrees C. Our best chance of building a resilient economy goes hand in hand with tackling climate change.

In the UK, it is surely the churches, along with other faith communities who should be carrying the biggest banner and raising our voices the loudest. Our complete conviction that the Earth is the Lord’s, created by God and sustained by God means that we are part of something so precious that to allow it, knowingly and wittingly to die would be an offence against the very being of God. To do nothing in face of that which is harmful and death inducing can sometimes be the biggest sin of all. And when we know that it is climate change which lies behind so much of the world’s political, economic and social instability, as people grapple for increasingly scarce and unstable land and resources, then to do nothing is to consign huge swathes of the poorest people in the world to a live that is no life at all.

So just as in our Circuit I hope that each of our local churches can take joy and pride in being a part of something bigger, in Methodist terms, so too do I hope that as local communities and as a nation we can take joy and pride in acknowledging our connectedness with the whole of God’s creation – the planet and the people. When it comes to climate change, what we do really does make a difference.

Let me end with this prayer, written by Dave Bookless, for COP26

Creator God, giver of life, you sustain the earth and direct the nations.
In this time of climate crisis grant us clarity to hear the groaning of creation and the cries of the poor;
challenge us to change our lifestyles;
guide our leaders to take courageous action;
enable your church to be a beacon of hope;
and foster within us a renewed vision of your purposes for your world;
Through Jesus Christ our Lord, by and for whom all things were made. Amen.

With every blessing,

Revd Cathy Bird

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