The world is slowly waking up to the devastation which we have brought upon our planet home. Many of us, frustrated by the inaction of national governments, long to do more to address the situation, but often feel powerless to help and unsure what we as individuals could do.
Seeing this need, the Eco Church Team at St Andrew’s Eaton were inspired to host our very first Eco Fair, held in the grounds of the church on the morning of 7 May. The aim of the fair was to inspire, inform and equip us all to be better carers of God’s creation. The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham Usher, the Church of England’s lead bishop on the environment, officially opened the fair, speaking of his love of spending time with his bees in the beauty of God’s world, before reflecting on the urgency of the situation we find ourselves in.
As a testimony to how much people long to do something for the environment, however small, the church and hall were packed with people throughout the morning. There was a diverse range of stalls from local organisations and businesses: the Allotments Society, Norwich Cycling Campaign, Earthglade, Norwich Farm Share, Daphne and Doreen Flower Studio, Meadow Harvest, Norfolk Master Composters, Tearfund, The Conservation Volunteers, Traidcraft and the Yare Valley Society.
St Andrew’s Old Church was set aside as a quiet space for prayer and reflection, while an Eco Trail was set up for children around the churchyard. This took in some of the ancient trees in the grounds, as well as recently installed bird boxes and a Crab Apple planted as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy, and proved very popular with families.
Through donations for refreshments, and the sale of tickets for a raffle (the prize being a hamper generously provided by Rainbow Foods), £180 was raised that will be put towards the work of the Eco Church Team. The day ended with a Swap-Shop organised by the Eaton Village Residents’ Association.
All the stall-holders spoke enthusiastically about how many people they had engaged with throughout the morning, and after the last few difficult years, it was fantastic to see the church hosting something for the whole community.
The fair served as a witness to the care that God has for this world that he made and loves.