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A season for Creation

As we enter the Season of Creation, it's a good time to focus on how we can put our house in order, here in the Diocese of Nottingham.  In this edition of Grapevine you can find out how parishes here are marking the Season and encouraging each other in care for God's world - and we also outline the kinds of support Caritas is seeking to develop.  We're still taking bookings for Monday's webinar The Cry of Creation - you can sign up through the link below.

We're also delighted to announce the first Here: Now: Us workshops taking place this Autumn. Four take place in Derby, Lincoln, Nottingham and Leicester.  If you live in another town or rural part of the diocese, and would like to host the workshop in your parish, get in touch - we'd be happy to bring it to you.
Programme Leader for Social Action, Diocese of Nottingham

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In this issue
  • Season of Creation starts this week
  • Book for Monday's webinar 'The Cry of Creation'
  • Crisis in Afghanistan: a developing response
  • Concerns about the Nationality and Borders Bill
  • Here: Now: Us - coming to a city near you
Enter the Season of Creation with this video from Vatican News
The worldwide Season of Creation kicked off on 1 September, with Pope Francis' inviting us to join his prayer intention for an environmentally sustainable lifestyle.  As we approach the crucial international negotiations on climate and biodiversity, prayer is the best place to start!

CAFOD has produced a range of useful resources to help your parish celebrate the season.  Here are some of the things happening around the diocese:
  • The Justice & Peace Group at Blessed Sacrament and St Peter's in Leicester are producing an excellent newsletter for every week of the Season.  You can find a fresh edition each week here on the parish website.
  • Parishioners attending Mass at St Patrick's, Leicester were offered a Season of Creation prayer card last weekend.
  • Sacred Heart Church in Carlton are planning a Climate Sunday with a display and talk from Year 4s at the local Catholic school. 
  • Parishioners across the Catholic Community of East Nottingham are receiving a leaflet of practical tips for helping the environment.
  • Catholics in Mansfield, Forest Town, Bolsover, Warsop and Shirebrook are helping to host an ecumenical outdoor service and picnic.
If you're planning anything in your parish, let us know and we'll highlight it during the season. 

And don't forget, Caritas Diocese of Nottingham invites you to a webinar next Monday 6 September at 7.00 p.m.  The Cry of Creation will provide an introduction to Laudato Si', the latest climate science, and their challenge to us in the Diocese of Nottingham.  There will be an opportunity to chat with fellow parishioners and develop your own response.
Book here for 'Cry of Creation' on Monday

Putting our house in order

Caritas is leading the diocese's response to the growing environmental crisis.  We're developing a policy framework in consultation with the Education Service, the four Multi-Academy Trusts and the Youth Service.  This will be submitted for approval by the Diocesan Board of Trustees in the Autumn - and then the work must start in earnest to make it happen!  There are eight key aspects to the journey from here:
  1. Formation: enabling everyone to grow as disciples who honour God's creation
  2. Decarbonisation: so that we reach net zero carbon emissions as quickly as possible
  3. Biodiversity: to safeguard nature in our parishes and in our procurement
  4. Resources: minimising our use of materials and reducing waste
  5. Ethics: upholding standards of justice, peace and human rights in the process
  6. Alignment: enabling people in every aspect of life in the diocese to play their part
  7. Resilience: helping the communities of our region prepare for the risks ahead
  8. Advocacy: pressing for a rapid and just transition to a sustainable economy.
Every parish will have a part to play, for instance installing renewable energy, planting for wildlife, and buying ethically.  We have a network of Laudato Si Champions which you are welcome to join.  With them we're developing a Pioneer Parishes scheme, which will support your local Catholic community in taking the journey - and qualify them to apply for a LiveSimply Award from CAFOD.  Email us and we'll gladly sign you up!
Click here to email us about becoming a Laudato Si Champion or Pioneer Parish

Crisis in Afghanistan

We’ve all seen the heartbreaking news.  What can we do? 

The government has pledged to welcome 20,000 people through the official resettlement schemes, and many more will find their way here seeking asylum.  So we can expect Nottingham Diocese to offer a home for 1,000 or more Afghan refugees, mainly family groups.

Currently most of the new arrivals are in hotels near airports.  After quarantine they will be resettled to cities around the country.  Many arrived with only the clothes they were wearing.  They need clothes and baby essentials, but also smartphones to access the services they will need.  Local authorities and refugee support networks are currently working hard to set up arrangements to distribute donations of essentials to those who will need them, and meanwhile are stockpiling the donations they receive.  If you hear of schemes developing locally please let us know so that we can spread the word.

The Church has offered the government the Catholic community’s support in resettling Afghan refugees, and urged them to increase the number to be offered asylum here.  It remains unclear how the Home Office intends resettlement to work, but it may be like the community sponsorship scheme for Syrian refugees.  The British Red Cross Afghan Crisis Appeal will help people arriving in the UK with  emotional support and essential items, including warm clothes, blankets, soap, toothbrushes and nappies. 

Meanwhile turmoil continues in Afghanistan.  CAFOD have been working in Afghanistan since the 1980s, and have launched an Afghan Crisis Appeal which is seeking donations to help vulnerable people on the ground.
Nationality and Borders Bill:

'Deeply dehumanising politics'
There is widespread concern about the Nationality and Borders Bill currently before Parliament.  In a blog for the Jesuit Refugee Service, JRS Senior Policy Officer Dr Sophie Cartwright, says:
'It abandons the very principle that refugees should be protected, and contains numerous other cruelties, including provisions to expand the use of out of town asylum accommodation centres, likely to resemble the prison-like asylum camp at Napier barracks'.

The organisation Asylum Matters is encouraging us to find out the proposals and engage our MPs.  It is also hosting a webinar for clergy and lay leaders on Tuesday 28 September at 4pm.  This is a valuable opportunity to find out more about the Bill and how we as the Church can respond here in Nottingham Diocese.  If you make a booking, let us know as well, and we can compare notes afterwards.
Find out about the webinar on 28 September
Now taking bookings for a
workshop near you!

Thanks to the enthusiasm of local hosts around the diocese, we have Here: Now: Us workshops running in each of our four cities, Derby, Lincoln, Leicester and Nottingham, over the Autumn.  After 18 months of social distancing, you are invited to join fellow Catholics to help our parishes grow as confident, outward-looking missionary communities.

Here: Now: Us will help you put grow in confidence and leadership for outreach, and reach out to the community.  The city-based workshops will also help to forge new collaborations, both between our parishes and with other local churches, networks and agencies working for the Common Good.

During the course of the day we will:

  • discover the principles of the Common Good in Catholic Social Teaching
  • imagine how they can transform your parish, neighbourhood and world
  • help each other to discover and claim our unique vocational responsibility
  • develop a shared vision and take steps to turn it into reality.
Click here to find out about Here: Now: Us
Book your place here!

Here: Now: Us workshops are taking place in the four cities of the diocese this Autumn, with more to follow in 2022. Each takes place on a Saturday, 10.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m.:

  • Derby: 16 October at Our Lady of Lourdes, Mickleover for parishes in the city
  • Lincoln: 23 October at SS Peter and Paul for parishes in the city and wider county
  • Nottingham: 30 October at Our Lady & St Patrick's, The Meadows for parishes in Greater Nottingham
  • Leicester: 13 November at St Joseph's.for parishes in the Leicester conurbation.

Places will be limited to allow safe social distancing, so if you'd like to take part, be sure to book soon!

In addition the following parishes are already planning to host local workshops:

  • Wollaton, Aspley and Bilborough
  • North East Lincolnshire.
Click here to find out about Here: Now: Us
Book your place today!
A walk in the park

And finally, a simple but encouraging story from Blessed Sacrament parish, Leicester. 
Christine Cusack writes:

"At the start of lockdown a group of parishioners decided to keep in touch via WhatsApp, this proved to be very popular.  The size of the group increased and messages between members became an almost daily event.

"When lockdown restrictions were eased to allow small groups of people to meet outdoors, a walk in the park was suggested – six parishioners enjoyed a short, 2 ½ mile, walk and agreed to repeat the experience. Later, as churches began to re-open, members of the WhatsApp group began to discuss the possibility of returning to Mass although there was some apprehension, especially with regard to the weekend Masses.

One of the group sent a message “I’ll go to the 12 o’clock Mass on Wednesday if anyone will come with me” A second suggested a walk in the park opposite the church before Mass; so now each week small numbers meet in the church car park and for about 50 minutes stroll around the park, catching up on old friendships, making new ones. Everyone is welcome and several new members joined the walks after details appeared in the Parish Bulletin. The walks provide a healthy walk in the open air together with an opportunity to exchange news and an element of support in dealing with difficulties brought about by lockdown.
So far the rain hasn’t fallen and we have enjoyed the companionship of fellow parishioners whilst exploring a local area of natural beauty. The walks lift our spirits and provide an ideal preparation for our attendance at Mass."
Reading this story, perhaps you too were reminded of Pope Francis' cherished vision of the Church:
"The thing the church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful; it needs nearness, proximity. I see the church as a field hospital after battle. It is useless to ask a seriously injured person if he has high cholesterol and about the level of his blood sugars! You have to heal his wounds. Then we can talk about everything else. Heal the wounds, heal the wounds. ... And you have to start from the ground up."
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Diocese of Nottingham · Willson House · 25 Derby Road · Nottingham, Nottingham NG1 5AW · United Kingdom

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