Our Woodlands Project Starts to Branch Out

Woodlands for all infographic

The story of our Hope for the Future event, 22 April 2021. Infographic by Rebecca Roberts, Enviro- visuals

Our Zoom event attracted local MP Sir Mike Penning, representatives of the Hertfordshire County,  Dacorum Borough Councils and 40+ concerned local residents.
We continue to work on our mission to find ways to maintain and expand our natural woodlands.

Woodland is:

  •  a natural way to reduce carbon emissions
  • a home for endangered species of animals and plants
  • a place for human wellbeing
  • a resource that adds huge value to a town like Hemel Hempstead

Our small team are committed volunteer Quakers, Baptists and members of other faiths,  eco-activists from local pressure groups  such as the Dacorum Environmental Forum. 

We have committed to work together in our joint enterprise.  Our next actions were agreed at a steering meeting the week after the event which took place on 22 April on Zoom.

  1. Organise group knowledge sharing and research around understanding the Dacorum Local Strategic Plan
  2. Work on mapping Hemel Hempstead’s existing woodland and tree cover 
  3. Decide on specifics of approach and key points to raise with Dacorum Council when our next meeting is arranged

We are grateful for the support and expertise of the team of talented and dedicated young people at the Hope for the Future charity.

This movement was inspired by Colin Cartwright , minister at the Carey Baptist eco – Church, who approached us to partner with him, following our Climate Justice seminar for local people in September 2020.

2021 marks 10 years of Quakers’ Canterbury Commitment to take action to become a low carbon, sustainable community.

Woodlands for All logoKeep our town a healthy and desirable place to live and work

 

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Rebelling for Climate Justice

Sue Hampton, Quaker climate change protester from Berkhamsted,  caused some ‘good trouble’ in Harpenden this  weekend.  This is what happened when she did a sit down protest. Read her story on her blog.

Author Sue’s book about her experiences as a Quaker in the Extinction Rebellion movement is her best-seller. You can order Rebelling for Life off her website: 

Quakers are committed to become a low carbon community. Because of this, we are taking action for climate justice and the economic transformation needed to achieve it.

Find out what that means on the British Quakers website.

 

 

 

 

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Supporting the International Work of Quakers

Friends Word Committee logo

The Quaker World Relations Committee (QWRC)  works to make connections between British Quakers and those in other parts of the world.

The Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC) group helps bridge Quaker understanding and unity by bringing cultures and Quaker traditions together.  During the pandemic FWCC’s events and information sharing have enabled many British Quakers to connect and worship with Friends across the world.

While QWRC works to expand the experience of Friends by bringing people together from other countries and exposing Friends to Quaker practice in Britain, FWCC does the same for Friends across the world. FWCC presents the face of Friends at the global level through the World Council of Churches, Christian World Communions, the Quaker United Nations Offices, and other faith-based engagement.

FWCC and QWRC worked together to start the FWCC Sustainability Program which has grown to bring our awareness of climate issues in different parts of the world.  Recent Young Adult Friends’ webinars have helped gather their voice to motivate us all to respect all of God’s creation, articulating how we can each be involved in creating climate justice.

We anticipate the next World Plenary Meeting in Southern Africa Yearly Meeting in 2024, preceded by a World Gathering of Young Friends.  During this remarkable opportunity to gather together for worship and fellowship and learning, we will hear about Friends’ experience of apartheid and inequality, gathering an appreciation of this deeply divisive time, re-imagining a new way of being in the world.  Bringing issues of sustainability and equality to the global conversation is very important to British Friends, as we expand our awareness of what it is like for our Quaker brothers and sisters.

FWCC and its small staff depends on Quaker contributions for organizational stability.  During the coronavirus, it is more important than ever that Friends continue to support FWCC’s vital function of strengthening the Religious Society of Friends.  FWCC is grateful for Friends’ ongoing support, which includes a generous annual grant from Britain Yearly Meeting.

Quakers meet in Kenya

FWRC meet in Kenya, 2012. Photo by Trish Carn

You can give directly to the FWCC Co-op Account: 650 10116 00; Sort Code 089061

You can give through the World Office web site: http://fwcc.world/about-fwcc/donate

You can set up a regular amount through your bank.

Gift aid accepted if we have your address.  UK Registered Charity 211647

Thank you for making a financial contribution to the growth and sustainability of FWCC and the Religious Society of Friends.  On behalf of the Quaker World Relations Committee and FWCC, we thank you.

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East Meets West – Music Making in the Meeting House

The wonderful acoustic qualities of our 18 Century  Meeting House hall were put to good use by a local duo, Clare O’Connell and Eleanor Turner. They set up a music studio to record their latest album. It sounds amazing.

 

 

The whole performance will be aired online on 2nd May 2021:

Clare writes,

Join us for a evocative and uplifting mix of of delicate and nuanced Eastern inspired classical music arranged and performed by Eleanor Turner (harp) and Clare O’Connell (cello) at the Quaker Meeting House in Hemel Hempstead.

The programme includes new arrangements of Pagodes by Debussy, Laideronette by Ravel, two Gnossienes by Eric Satie, an improvised Raag by Eleanor Turner and Ravi Shankar’s Sonata for cello and harp.

Book at www.behindthemirror.org

 

Clare selected the Meeting House for its acoustic qualities.  We hope to resume our musical programme soon! If you are an acoustic  musical artist who would like to perform in a very special space, with an appreciative audience please get in touch.

We also welcome enquiries from musicians interested in recording.  Contact our premises and hiring team

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Join our Woodlands for All Lunchtime Lobby in Hemel Hempstead, April 22 2021

Woodlands for All logo

Join an environmental lobby to local politicians on 22 April 2021, 12.30 – 2.15pm

Listen to fantastic speakers and show your support for our demands for investment in woodlands for all. Woodlands must be part of the planned expansion* of our beautiful town.

We are asking Mike Penning to help us change the law to make it a legal requirement for woodlands to be nurtured and protected. Join us and other passionate believers in the power of trees, woods and forests to improve our lives. People,  place and planet working in harmony.

Register on Eventbrite – it is free. 

Woodland for all event poster

 

 

We are working in collaboration with:

Hope for the Future

Carey Baptist Church

Green Alliance

Woodland Trust

Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust

Dennis Furnell

*See Dacorum Local Plan  – 2020 to 2038

For more information, contact us!

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Guest blog: Thirty Years a Polluter

We are delighted to host this guest contribution from Colin Cartwright, partner in our Woodlands for All environmental lobby project.
Colin is a minister at Carey Baptist Church in Hemel Hempstead.

A short, personal reflection for your thoughts and prayers and discussion. 

Thirty years a polluter. Yes, that’s me. Just the other day I realised that it’s 30 years since I learned to drive. Despite being an obsessive cyclist for most of that time and despite the fact that I haven’t needed to commute in a car to work, 30 years of driving round a petrol-driven combustion engine every week, must add up to a lot of polluting. Carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides, as well as carcinogenic particulates. Which is why I want to make the next 30 years look a lot different.

My hope is that 2020 is a ‘turning point’ year. It was a year when I started to undertake a journey of ecological repentance, in order to ‘redeem’ the last 30 years and to live in a more sustainable way for our planet. For starters, I am looking at replacing my existing car with a more environmentally friendly one. But I also want to be responsible for planting and growing one new tree, in a sustainable way that is appropriate for the environment, every year that I am on this planet.

Going beyond my own personal responsibility, I want to encourage those around me to take similar steps. And what would be most desirable would be to encourage Carey collectively to engage with drawing up a positive strategy, perhaps called: ‘renewing our community with God’s creation for the future’. This would help to generate much-needed new leadership in the church, by the church showing leadership about our environment. This might involve, for example, re-configuring our church buildings so that they are more energy efficient and at the very least, carbon neutral. Perhaps Carey might also partner with a local nature reserve or with a wildlife trust. However, the details of this new strategy will require a lot of further thought & discussion.

There are a whole number of things we have learned from this coronavirus crisis. But it has certainly shown us that:

  • 1) Together we can take drastic steps for the global good when needed.
  • 2) Humanity cannot just ‘revert to type’ after the pandemic. That way leads to mass extinction for many other species and ours as well.
  • 3) The natural world which we are part of, continues to astound us and we can learn so much from engaging positively with it.

I pray that our Creator and Saviour God will show us the way of life and lead us to build a new future together. And I look forward, once you have had time to think about all this, to hearing your reflections and to discussing this in depth, as we continue to emerge from this pandemic.

Colin Cartwright,  Carey Baptist Eco-Church 

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Woodlands for All Lobby Training Update

 

On 25 January our first Woodlands for All Lobbying training took place. We learned all about non-violent ways of talking to our local MP about the things that we care about and affect us deeply. Following the session, we are formulating some simple questions to ask our MP, Sir Mike Penning. We want him to act in defence of trees and to support forestation  –  an effective action against climate change, for a healthier and more beautiful environment.

Our steering group is supported by members of the Dacorum Environmental Forum, Friends of Halsey Field, Dacorum Interfaith Network, and Carey Baptist eco-Church. We invite local people to get involved who are passionate about woodlands and what they do for us. Our lobby will include speakers on the importance of planting more trees in Hemel Hempstead and conserving the woodland we have for future generations. We are presenting evidence of the role of trees in combatting climate change and air pollution and the ways trees help the mental and physical health of residents of our town.

How you can get involved  

You can attend one of our monthly training and planning sessions,  through which you will be able to join a 1 hour online meeting with Mike Penning in April 2021.

Training  – Next session 3.00 – 3.45 pm 23 February

All our online training sessions are being provided by ecological lobbying charity, Hope For The Future

To join the group,  please contact Suzanne Watts, event organiser at HemelQuakerClerk @ gmail.com

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Friends launch an online lobby for trees and woodlands in Hemel Hempstead

Woo

Hemel Hempstead Quakers have teamed up with Carey Baptist Church and Hope for the Future to campaign for tree planting in Hemel Hempstead. Quakers worldwide view climate change as a peace and justice concern. They seek to transform the human activities which feed environmental crises unprecedented in human history, including the rate of species extinction, ocean acidification, soil erosion, chemical pollution and the rate of rising global temperature.

Woodland areas are an attractive and well loved feature in Hemel Hempstead

What’s it about

We believe there is an existential threat to the character of Hemel Hempstead as a woodland town

There is a planned development of 13,000 houses to the North and East of the town.

As a matter of fairness, any expansion of Hemel Hempstead should offer equal access to woodland areas and open spaces to new residents,  preserving our own cherished resources and extending them to improve biodiversity and ecology of any new areas of housing.

We would like to invite local people who are passionate about

  • tree planting in Hemel Hempstead
  • woodland conservation
  • the importance of trees in combatting climate change and air pollution
  • the social impact of trees on mental and physical health of residents

Commitment 

  • 1 – 2 hour online lobby to the local MP in March 2021
  • Online training sessions provided by HFTF experts

Training 

  • Training and Planning  via Zoom sessions.
    25 January 3.00pm
    23 February 3.00pm

All residents of Dacorum who support this lobby are welcome to join irrespective of their beliefs. Please note it is not a lobby against housebuilding. Interested to find out more?  Contact us

Further information

Information about the plan for 10,000+ new homes in Hemel Hempstead: https://dacorumlocalplan.consultation.ai/resources/assets/pdf/DBC_VE_Summary_Local_Plan_2020.pdf

Information about a separate plan for 3000 + new homes in ‘East Hemel’ (land owned by St Albans District Council) https://easthemel.co.uk/

The Carey Baptist Eco Church in Hemel Hempstead https://www.careybaptisthemel.org.uk/ecochurch/

“We must not become complacent. Whether your preferred candidate won or not,  our MPs must be held accountable to the promises they made about climate action during the election period”
Hope for the Future 

 

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Celebrate!  Nuclear Ban Treaty Zoom Event Friday, 22 January 2021, 7 – 9 pm

We encourage all Friends, attenders and visitors to celebrate the UN Nuclear Ban Treaty which comes into international law on 22 Jan.

Here are some actions

  1. Join a web event organised by Cambridge Quakers on Friday 22 January 2021

Inspired work, begun by a small group of concerned people in Melbourne Australia, and taken forward by peace campaigners from around the world, has produced the  International Coalition to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, ICAN,

This campaign won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017.

Join us on Zoom to hear the story, find out more about the Treaty,  and what you might do to: pressure the UK government to scale back its weapons,  put a stop to the manufacture of nuclear arms.  Entry to the event is free.  Just sign up with https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/nuclear-weapons-now-banned-a-step-towards-peace-tickets-133129105739

More information from: Cambridgeshire Quakers: hanmorrow@icloud.com

2. Support the Treaty by displaying a window poster

Quakers in Britain have designed a number of downloadable posters which you can put in your home windows on 22 January.

Please download from this page about  Quakers national action on nuclear treaty

Our local action on Trident

So far, the UK government is refusing to engage with the Treaty. Quakers in Britain are urging the government to sign up to the Treaty and not to boycott it.

 

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Hemel Quakers Celebrate the Light with other Faiths and Denominations

Light…

Mermie Karger is a member of Hemel Hempstead Local Quaker Meeting. She took photos of the countryside around Hemel Hempstead and edited this video for sharing with the Dacorum Interfaith Network’s end of year celebration held on Zoom in December 2020.

In the manner of Quaker silent worship, the video proceeds slowly, allowing reflection.

 

These are the spoken words:

We celebrate the Light which is sacred in all people ~ God, the light within, a universal goodness, love.

We worship in silence, listening to that Light within each of us, sometimes spoken, often not.

Our belief that the light of love is at the centre of existence, that all human life is of equal worth, and that each person is unique leads Quakers to ‘live in the virtue of that life and power that takes away the occasion of all wars.

Our belief that everyone is equal inspires us to try to change the systems that cause injustice and that stop us being genuine communities.

Living according to the deepest truths of the light of love means speaking the truth at all times. As we are guided by integrity, so we expect to see it in public life.

The light of love is in the Earth and all of its creatures. We campaign for climate and energy justice, and for an economy that is clean and fair to all. The light of love means living simply and celebrating what really matters: the people around us, the natural world, our experience of stillness.

We are the Light of the world and our role is to touch the world with that Light.

…and sound

At our Christmas meeting for worship on 20 December we listened to a beautiful recording ‘The mystery of Christmas’, narrated by Jane Levy. Thanks to our Friend, Jonathan Kempster, who produced this for churches around Berkhamsted. It can be enjoyed here:

 

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