One of our Community promises calls us be intentional about stewardship. We choose to work to cherish and protect God’s creation, which God the Father loves and entrusts to our care.

This promise calls us to put our belief and values into action.

If we believe the earth is an inexhaustible resource then we will see it as ours to do with what we will, and we will exploit it. However, if we believe that the earth does not belong to us and that we have a responsibility to protect it so that everyone can share equally in its resource, then we will protect, cherish and nurture it.

For us as Christians, there is another dynamic at play; we believe that ‘the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it,’ and that we hold a lifetime tenancy. We also believe that creation was God’s first revelation to humanity and that we can see a reflection of God in the world around us.

So what’s our response?

The environmental movement calls us to ‘Think Globally, Act Locally’. We need to be informed about the big picture. Most of us will never have the public platform of David Attenborough, or serve as national policy makers. But we can all do something!

We can join an environmental group, sign our church up for the A Rocha Eco-Church Movement. We can aim to live more simply, recycle, buy ethically, talk about the issues with friends and neighbours. And we can ask ourselves hard questions, such as, what does Mark 16:15 mean when it says, ‘go into the world and preach the gospel to all creation’?

Here at Lee Abbey, this means looking after the resources of the estate, buildings and finances well, recognising that they are for the service of Christ and for the extension of God’s Kingdom. We commit to ensuring that Lee Abbey Devon is environmentally sustainable and we trust God’s faithfulness. We need to learn to be exceptional stewards.

In the words of Wendell Berry (1971), “I am speaking of the life of a man (or woman) who knows that the world is not given by his fathers, but borrowed from his children; who has undertaken to cherish it and do it no damage, not because s/he is duty-bound, but because s/he loves the world and loves their children”.

Phil Park

This was posted on 2 April 2019.

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