Making way for woodland worship
After one postponement, and risking a break in the wet weather, a small group of worshipers gathered in a woodland clearing to celebrate and give thanks for the variety of plants and creatures living within walking distance of their church.
Some years ago, members of St John's Church Heath Hayes planted trees on a piece of land close to where the Fair Lady Coal Mine had been. In 2017, it had become impossible to walk around the footpath there. It had been overgrown with spreading hazel bushes, brambles and bracken.
St John's has a Green Team, working to carry out the Church's Eco-Congregation Policy which states the resolution to:
"develop and show our love for God’s Creation in our local environment, its plants and animals, by walks and other outdoor activities, sharing each other’s knowledge and joy – especially with children."
A number of church members have progressively opened up a figure of eight path around the woodland, using secateurs, pruning saws and other simple tools. They are pleased to see that people from the local community are regularly walking there again and enjoying the site.
George Green, who facilitates the Green Team, said: "There is an amazing variety of creatures which I have seen and heard here, including two species of deer. I've had some surprises too. I had 'rescued' a few small oak trees which had been weighed down and deformed by brambles but this had exposed them to the attentions of the red deer. I found one oak which had its bark frayed by a large stag rubbing his antlers."
The Team decided to have a service in a clearing in the woods to celebrate and give thanks for God's wonderful gift of creation.