The Parish of Kingswinford, St. Mary
KINGSWINFORD'S ECO VICARAGE
Jesus describes his disciples and their effect on those around them. He calls them the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Salt was a life-giving commodity. It was a preservative to stop food going bad. Jesus is encouraging his disciples that in a society subject to decay and rottenness of various kinds they must preserve what is good and life-giving. Light was life-giving too. Jesus shone a light before people so that they could find their way safely to heaven and eternal life, if they would follow it. The light of Jesus would throw the darkness back and allow them to find their way.
Is the world around us less rotten and less dark because of our presence? Are we life-giving for others? Do we shine the Christlight for others to find their way towards God?
The building of the new Rectory is now underway and its value and excitement come on many levels. There is the practical, in that the Rector needs a new house. But the fact that it is going to be the only zero carbon passive house in the country is also very significant. The great majority of scientific opinion is that unless we reduce our carbon output then the world will have a very uncertain and probably catastrophic future. However, this house is not only a statement about the importance of not emitting carbon dioxide from our properties but it is also a theological statement.
It says that the Church of England believes in the stewardship of creation that it preaches about. Preventing global warming is about justice for those poor parts of the world which are going to suffer the most from the effects caused by the wealthy living of rich countries. The church is putting its money where its mouth is in building this new Rectory.
There will be no gas supply to the new house. We will be becoming electricity farmers, as Kate puts it, harvesting the sun's energy, running the house and hopefully having an over-abundance that can be fed back into the National Grid. The building works themselves are designed to offset the carbon produced in making the building and its components. This is a kind of model for future sustainable living for the whole planet and our theology of stewardship, justice and care for our neighbours is expressed in the work. The church is hopefully making a difference in a positive way in Kingswinford and being both salt and light; showing how to preserve the Creation and demonstrating that through its actions.
Jesus wants us to serve our neighbours so that they will see him in us and in our actions. We are to be involved in our local communities, speaking and acting for those in need as well as challenging that which is damaging and life-denying. In the new Rectory the Church is standing up for global justice and challenging society to take a sustainable path for future generations.
If you want to follow an informal blog on the site's development then go to: Greenhouse's blog, which is updated regularly