The Great Green Wall of Africa

Dear all

It’s harvest time and what a lovely time of year it is with the autumn colours and those moments of golden sunshine hopefully. By the time you read this we will have celebrated our harvest thanksgiving at St Margaret’s church and about to do so at St John the Baptist in Capel! It is lovely that our local uniformed children and young people join us on this occasion and this year we are choosing as our theme a very interesting project that has begun across Africa. It is called The Great Green Wall and is an African led movement which has an epic ambition.

The aim is to grow an 8,000 km natural wonder which will span the length of the Sahel, from Sengal to Djibouti. This is in order to combat desertification that is currently taking place across Africa. By 2030 the Great Green Wall will be the largest living structure on the planet, 3 times the size of the Great Barrier Reef. This means that the desert will recede and the land can be reclaimed for people and future generations to sustainably farm and support themselves which is fantastic. They say that through a combination of effective land management and growing millions of trees this lost land can be reborn! Also The Great Green Wall will provide a vital resource for the whole world, acting as a carbon sink and cool the earth, reversing the effects of climate change. You can find out more by visiting an information website <> In response to this we are taking a collection at Harvest to buy trees and donating to Tree Aid who are supporting this project.

Climate change has been a constant concern for many years now and whatever your view on the complex science of it, this phrase that the young Greta Thurnberg used ‘The world is on fire’ is a good one I think to challenge us all not only on climate change but on the ills of society as a whole. How amazing that so many school children joined the International day of peace recently to protest against climate change and I do hope that those in positions of authority and others will listen to their concerns. Here at both St Margaret’s and St John the Baptist we are both bronze award holders of Eco Church and now working towards our silver awards. The Diocese of Guildford of which we are a part is an Eco Diocese and our Bishops of Guildford and Dorking have joined forces with other organisations in declaring a climate emergency today and have pledged to follow seven climate-care commitments.

Bishop Andrew and Bishop Jo’s climate-care commitments are to switch to a clean energy provider, use cars less – committing to car-share, cycle or walk at least once every week; cut down on meat, especially red meat, grow as much fruit and veg as possible, reuse all plastic bags and avoid disposable products, use heating as sparingly as possible and never to use a tumble dryer and give regularly to charitable organisations that strive to safeguard God’s creation. Bishop Andrew is encouraging us to follow suit. A word of warning though – please only consider cutting down on heating if you are fit and well!!

However, I love that there is something we can still do to reverse the changes that the world in its supposed progress has brought upon our planet. There is something so biblical about the dry arid areas being restored to be able to grow green trees and vegetation, to be able to sustain life and the future. That is what our faith in God is about; it is about life giving in all its fullness and if you would like to hear how one man knows that for himself and his family come and meet Francis McFaul, a double amputee, who is currently on dialysis several times a week, yet is a Christian musician and composer of many years standing. He has a gentle faith in a loving God with a lovely sense of humour and through that faith has a ministry of sharing God’s healing love. He says if anyone is qualified to speak about God’s healing then he is! We have a special evening in Ockley Village Hall on Saturday 19th October and Francis will be singing and sharing his story with us. The following day, Sunday 20th he will be at Capel Church joining us at a special service of Celtic Communion with prayer for healing if requested. The event at Ockley Village Hall begins at 7.30 and is free entry. So come and be restored with us this October as we enjoy many wonderful fruits of the season!

With my love and prayers
Revd Liz

Post expires at 4:00pm on Monday October 12th, 2020