Wednesday, January 17, 2007

A word from the Reverend...

This post, we are pleased to introduce Jan Harney, green vicar extraordinaire, who shares with us her thoughts on ethical weddings, and The Church of England's move greenwards... "The earth is an incredibly beautiful place. It was created with a perfect balance as a place for people, animals and plants to live, with all our food and even our medicines and beauty products around us for the picking, with a perfect rhythm to the seasons. Yet the way many of us choose to live our lives is threatening that fine balance. In this 21st century, we are becoming more aware than ever before of the damage that we are inflicting upon our planet, from climate change and soil erosion to pollution of our air and water, damage to the ozone layer and the extinction of some animals simply because they have nowhere to live and breed in safety. Green issues used to be seen as belonging to an ‘alternative’ and even vaguely Hippy lifestyle. Now environmental awareness is a stark reality with everyone being challenged to reduce, re-use, re-cycle. As individuals, we can all take it upon ourselves to reduce our own impact by trying to change the way we live, travel, work, rest and play, source food, use energy and dispose of our waste. A very popular phrase for this is that we should leave a very light ‘footprint’ on the planet. With that phrase in mind the Church of England launched a campaign and marked World Environment Day 2006 (Monday 5 June) by taking a further step forward in the campaign to ‘green’ the Church. The campaign is supported by a website, Shrinking the Footprint, and Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has taken a strong lead on this as he believes it to be a Biblical stance: The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and care for it. Genesis 2:15 (New Living Translation) But caring for the planet is the responsibility of everyone who lives and breathes on it. And what better time to do that than when you leave the home of your childhood and start out in a new life as a married couple. Your wedding day is the launching of that new life and the ceremony itself is full of symbolism: The ring is a symbol of unending love If a bride’s dad walks her up the aisle he literally hands her over into the care and protection of her husband. This means he no longer has the right to exert influence but respects the right of the couple to make their own life choices When you walk towards the altar rail for final prayers the Vicar is actually physically taking you away from your families to begin a new independent relationship So to have an ethical wedding symbolizes to all family and friends gathered that this is the way you choose to live – in a way that honours God, each other and the planet. Fantastic I wish you all every possible blessing in your new lives Jan Harney (Rev'd) Thanks Jan! It is always interesting - and useful - to hear from the people behind the wedding ceremony. Why not read our interview with Belinda Chapman, a celebrant from Light on Life, who has an eco-approach to the ceremonies she conducts. If you are involved in the wedding or partnership ceremony and support the idea of an ethical wedding, please get in touch, we'd love to hear from you! Take care, Katie


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