Horsham Eco Churches
Horsham Eco Churches was set up by Silver Eco Church Award winning St Mark’s Church and Brighton Road Baptist Church through Horsham Churches Together (HCT). We encourage and inspire other churches on their Eco Church journey, and seven other HCT Churches have already registered with A Rocha UK’s Eco Church award scheme.
Covid-19 marks a threshold to a very different future, Horsham Eco Churches continue to work in partnership with local sustainability groups, promoting local initiatives and raising the profile of environmental issues in our congregations and community. Many are living in fear, but churches and community groups can help people find out what they can do and together we can make a difference, caring for each other and God’s wonderful world.
Dr William Bird GP, on BBC Breakfast on 24th October, talked about how the current COVID-19 restrictions affect how people are feeling, he advised: “Ration your news, don’t listen to the news all the time.” With 24-hour news, social media and news notifications we can easily be bombarded with too much news. To help us get through the winter his advice also included: get day light, connect to nature, exercise every day, eat fruit and vegetables, connect with people, look up old friends, get new hobbies, learn new things, help others and be thankful. If you are struggling in any way please reach out to friends, family, your GP, Foodbank, church and others for support.
In this blog written for Sussex Green Living we explore some ways you can connect to nature, have fun, help wildlife, yourself, and other people.
Connect to Nature
In Scandinavia people routinely socialise outdoors even in the depths of winter, wrapped up, eating and talking in the freezing cold! We could wrap up with thermal layers, warm hats, scarves, gloves, socks and rugs and embrace an alfresco autumn and winter, enjoying outdoor activities and connecting to nature.
Covid-19 is transmitted less easily outdoors and there is more space to keep socially distanced, whilst respecting the current guidance. Being outside and engaging with nature lowers blood pressure, improves mood and lessens anxiety, and exposure to natural light boosts the immune system, improves mood and aids sleep.
Enjoy local walks through, parks, woodland, streets listening to the birds, collecting colourful autumn leaves to identify and press, looking out for acorns, chestnuts, rosehips, nature’s bounty.
Beaches have great stretches of empty sand to play beach games, build sandcastles, fly a kite, paddle in the sea in your wellingtons, litter pick or collect shells. You could pack a picnic and spend time a day by the sea.
The Woodland Trust have some great winter picnic, hot food ideas and recipes.
To help combat social isolation, sit on your doorstep or by a window, go for a walk, smile, nod and wave with your neighbours and passers-by, or have a socially distanced chat.
Horsham Community Fridge
Horsham Community Fridge is in new premises in St Mary’s Church hall called The Barn, on the Causeway, very close to Horsham town centre and walking distance from Sainsbury’s. It is planned to open to the public on Tuesday 3 November at 9.30 am and Thursday 5 November at 9.30 am for one hour each day. They are contacting and securing food suppliers and need a bank of volunteers as Fridge Monitors on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9am to 11am, and Surplus Food Collectors during the week. Please contact them for an application form, you will also need to complete an online food safety course. facebook.com/horshamcommunityfridge
31st October is All Hallows Eve, which refers to the day before All Saints Day (November 1st). Halloween in the UK probably has a background in traditions associated with harvest, preparing for winter and remembering loved ones who have died. Today it owes much more to pressure to purchase ever increasing amounts of Halloween paraphernalia, much of which cannot be recycled.
Horsham Churches Together shine God’s light into the darkness. You can download a free pack of Pumpkin Heroes easy to use Christian resources, designed to help children aged 4 – 10 years enjoy alternative Halloween crafts, activities and games. In this year’s adventure, Patch helps children to have a hope-filled Halloween discovering how they can help and care for others. https://www.worldvision.org.uk/get-involved/pumpkin-heroes/
You can turn a pumpkin into a lantern of hope by carving a heart, a happy face, encouraging words and making some delicious pumpkin soup, sweet or savoury treats with the pumpkin flesh.
Hedgehogs are declining in Britain and need our help. Hedgehog Street has information about the problems facing hedgehogs, and how to help them. Follow their top tips for hedgehog-friendly gardens.
Watch the Hedgehog Street top tips video for ideas on how to get started.
A Planet for Us All
There are many wonderful wildlife programmes and films you can watch to connect with nature from the comfort of your home, including Sir David Attenborough’s films. Prince William in A Planet for Us All on ITV explored whether local action can trigger global change and environmental reform.
Prince William said: “I have a belief that if we all work together, we can make a difference.”
Backyard Nature Guardians
You can join Prince George as a Backyard Nature Guardian, it’s fun, free and easy to help plants and animals thrive where you live. Free practical tools and tips including videos and downloads to help protect nature including planting bee-friendly plants in a window box, making a bug hotel, growing your own food using scraps and feeding birds in your local park. If we all do our bit, we can help plants and animals in our own backyards to thrive again and we will help protect the whole planet for the future. https://www.backyardnature.org/
Join Autumnwatch LIVE from 27 October to 6 November, Tuesday to Friday on BBC Two at 8pm, bringing warmth to homes across the UK, at a time when many of us need it most, for an Autumn to remember, one of beauty, change and hope. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08vtqp3
Spring Bulbs Help Bees
A great way to help bees is by planting spring-flowering bulbs in autumn. Bulbs are hardy and reliable, so bees will have a source of pollen and nectar when there is little else in flower. You could plant crocus, grape hyacinth, allium, daffodil, tulip and fritillary bulbs in containers or in your garden. You could also plant a container as a gift for someone to brighten their days.
Contact Horsham Eco Churches
Feeling inspired to get involved?
We are always looking for volunteers, so get in touch or come and meet us and see how you can get involved! Join us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, or sign up to receive our latest news (it only takes two seconds to add your email address – simply click on black ‘Follow‘ tab on bottom right of this screen!). Feel free to also send us an email using our contact form, or come and say hello at our events like the Horsham Climate Cafe or the Horsham Repair Cafe!
“Inspiring sustainable living in Sussex”