It all began when a small group of St. Clement’s parishioners met to study the papal encyclical Laudato Si. We were inspired by the writings of Pope Francis, who was himself inspired by the life of his namesake, St. Francis of Assisi.
We reflected on the messages in Laudato Si and considered how we as a community could respond practically to protect our world, act with tenderness to each other and reach out to those in our community in need. We were keen to bring together young and old and encourage those who do not always get involved in the day to day life of the parish.
Our answer was to become a Live Simply parish and to apply to CAFOD for their Live Simply award.
With the backing of our Parish Priest, Fr. Graham Bamford, and the parish we launched the initiative in May 2017 and were registered by CAFOD as a participating parish on 10th July 2017.
Since then we have
- made a Live Simply banner and a special notice board
- built a vegetable garden, which has been a great success, despite our very dry summer this year, producing good organic vegetables for sale. The proceeds from the sales went to our Connect 2 Cambodia appeal
- made sure that all coffee and tea served at St. Clement’s is Fairtrade. We have purchased recyclable cups and started a compost bin
- set up a walking club to encourage spending time together and appreciating our surroundings
- held a walk to church weekend encouraging car sharing for those who couldn’t walk
- held a “Live Simply” reflection during Lent, leading the Stations of the Cross
- produced a Parish Christmas card, as an alternative to individual cards
- run a parish social in aid of Epsom and Ewell Food Bank, raising £620
- raised awareness about refugees and migrants by taking part in CAFOD’s Share the Journey.
We are now hoping to become the third parish in the Diocese to receive CAFOD’s Live Simply award and we shall be submitting our evidence very soon.
We hope the experience of working towards the award will continue as a positive opportunity for everyone in the parish, young and old, to come together with one goal: to make God known by the way we, as a community, act.
Story: John Farrell, Jonathan Inns and Charlotte Gregory Picture: Charlotte Gregory
CAFOD would like to wish Fr Graham, John Farrell, Jonathan Inns, Charlotte Gregory and all the St Clements Parishioners luck in their forthcoming assessment and to thank them for all their hard work in striving to achieve this award.