REV JANE ISAAC: The vicar of Shedfield and rector of Wickham focuses on the environment

Wild flower seeds have been set and the eco wardens at the church are ready to rake                   (Picture by David Ford)
Wild flower seeds have been set and the eco wardens at the church are ready to rake (Picture by David Ford)
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‘All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small’ – it’s harvest festival season


This year’s harvest festival at St John the Baptist Church, Shedfield, will be on Sunday, September 24, and it will include all the traditional displays, hymns and readings that make this annual celebration so special.

Our uniformed organisations, school and community groups always help to decorate the church, and everyone will be bringing along gifts of produce and tinned goods for local charities and food banks.

What will make this year’s service extra special will be the focus on the environment and ecology. Because the congregation here in Shedfield is on an eco-journey!

Encouraging us on our way will be our harvest festival speaker, Andy Lester. A chartered environmentalist, Andy is conservation director of A Rocha UK, a Christian charity that helps churches tackle environmental issues in everything they do.

You can find out more about A Rocha UK at

We’re really looking forward to hearing what Andy has to say about our church’s relationship with our natural surroundings – not just practical things to do with buildings and church management, but spiritual things too like our worship and teaching and reaching out into the local and global communities.

Caring for God’s creation is one of our responsibilities as Christians. And that goes from making sure we use recycled, renewable and responsibly-sourced products at home and in church to managing our churchyard in environmentally-friendly ways.

This coming week, now that the wild flowers and grasses have set seed, we’ll be cutting and raking our grassland areas so that a diversity of plants and insects are able to survive without being swamped by nettles, brambles and coarse grasses.

St John the Baptist’s eco-team was launched back in 2005, and we’re very proud that our commitment to put caring for God’s creation at the heart of everything we do has recently earned us an A Rocha UK’s Eco-Congregation award.

As Andy will be explaining at our harvest festival, being on an eco-journey isn’t complicated, it’s all about getting the simple things right.