Care for Creation update- March

Climate Vigils London and Sheffield

London: During the first ten days of Lent, hundreds of Christians with deep concern for our common home held a 240 hour ‘No Faith in Fossil Fuels’ vigil outside Parliament. They took turns to attend to ensure a continuous presence, praying for healing of the damage wrought by the climate emergency and speaking to MPs, passers by and the media. Columban Sr. Kate Midgeley led a daily rosary at midday for all life on earth. 
Sheffield: There has been a Sheffield Climate Vigil for 2 years, meeting for an hour on the first and third Mondays of the month. People of all faiths and none are welcome, and as the vigil is silent it provides the opportunity to pray and meditate. Sheffield Quakers and Buddhists are a steadfast presence.  All share a deep concern for the future of the planet and humanity and a desire for climate justice. 
The first Monday vigil is held at 5-6pm outside Hallam University on the way down to the railway station. The third Monday vigil is from midday to 1pm outside the Town Hall.

Introduction to animal rights from a faith perspective: new insights into animal agriculture

Webinar presented by Catholic Action for Animals, Thursday 21 March, 6:00-800 PM Hosted by the Animal Interfaith Alliance, in collaboration with the Diocese of Salford, the Laudato Si’ Action Platform, Climate Healers, Born Vegan and In Defense of Animals.
Introduction by Bishop John Arnold, the Bishop of Salford, a member of the Bishops’ Conference for England and Wales Department for International Affairs and the Bishops’ Conference spokesperson on the Environment.
Barbara Gardner, from Animal Interfaith Alliance, will welcome participants and introduce the speakers: Sailesh Rao, Sarina Farb, Dr Jane Goodall, Lisa Levinson, Daniel Mascarenhas SJ, Maureen Villanueva, Virgina Bell.

God and Mammon

Wrestling with the issue of ethical finance, banking and investment continues within many UK dioceses. Due to the opaque nature of global finance, Catholic institutions are often unwittingly supporting fossil fuel expansion and arms manufacture through their bank accounts and investments. 
One difficulty expressed by diocesan Finance Officers is that the ethical banks or building societies do not offer all the services required for diocesan institutions. Queries about these difficulties are ongoing across and within various dioceses.
For individuals, switching bank accounts may not be straightforward either. Of three friends I have discussed this with, one is switching to an ethical bank without a backward glance. Two, however, while feeling conflicted by the discovery that their banks are implicated in environmentally damaging activity, have developed a relationship over time with the people working in their bank branch, and closing their account would feel like something of a personal desertion. This is indeed a very understandable reason for not doing so. In these instances it would still be very worthwhile contacting the bank head office to show concern about reports of their unethical financing. 
An interesting blog item on the informative site:

Bringing money closer to home: Credit Unions

Credit unions are owned by the people who use their services and membership is based on a ‘common bond’ – e.g. a church, or a geographical area. They are run on behalf of the union membership, so the emphasis is on service, not on maximising profits for investors or shareholders.
St. Wilfrid and Mother of God Credit Union, Sheffield
Bob Lyons, treasurer of St. Wilfrid and Mother of God Credit Union, has helpfully related its interesting history and current situation. What follows is taken largely from his email on the subject.
‘It was at a House Mass which was part of the build up to the Synod which was held in Liverpool in 1979, that Mgr. Kilgannon told us of a couple who had come to him, because they needed help with the deposit for a house, and he felt that the parish could help in some way. I had heard of Credit Unions, and he knew of them from back home in Ireland, and we discussed the possibility of a Credit Union in our parish.
He and I and two other parishioners went to visit the parish of St. Columba in Bradford, where they had started a Credit Union, and they got us started.
We started a Savings Club, and after two years – in November 1981 – we were registered as a Credit Union whose common bond – the term used to describe what draws the members together – was our parish, plus, eventually, St Wilfrid’s Centre and the Furniture Store.
Since then, we have built up to over 200 members.
We believe we provide a useful service to our parishioners, as our money is lent out for, amongst other things, home improvements, purchase of domestic appliances, pilgrimages, holidays, car repairs and replacement. We lend at 0.75% per month (9.4% APR), and usually manage to pay a dividend – in our best years it has been up to 3%, but more recently ½ to 1%.’
Bob says the trend now is for establishing Credit Unions with a larger ‘common bond’. For instance there are Sheffield, Rotherham and Barnsley Credit Unions, serving the needs of their local communities. To set up a relatively small parish credit union would require a group in the parish with a lot of enthusiasm.
He is clear that Credit Unions are a way of keeping people away from loan sharks. There are many people from the affluent end of Mother of God parish who have saved with the union to help others, with no great expectation of high returns on their money. The St Wilfrid and Mother of God credit union team would be happy to offer advice and help to any group wishing to start their own. ‘If there was an appetite for it, we could consider various options for Credit Union(s) within the diocese.’
The credit union has a webpage with an email and the presbytery address 
or feel free to use this email address [email protected] to get in touch.

Intercessions for Care for Creation at Eastertide

As our own portion of the Earth turns once more towards the light, may we, Lord, rise with you to the light of Easter and renew our love and gratitude for your gift of Creation.
Lord hear us.
Lord, at this time of our own and the Earth’s renewal, open our hearts to love and respect for Creation. Help us to see your goodness in all creatures, and your beauty in each day.
Lord hear us. Columba Timmins