Become a Live Simply Award Community

By Nicole Crosbourne – Administrative Volunteer

CAFOD’s Live Simply Award provides a great opportunity for catholic communities to respond to Pope Francis’ invitation in Laudato Si’. Together parishes, schools, religious orders and chaplaincies can “Work with generosity and tenderness in protecting this world which God has entrusted to us”. CAFOD will be holding a Live Simply Award workshop at our Essentials Day on 9th September all about the Live Simply Award and how you can get your own communities involved.

Live Simply Parish organiser Rita Belletty with their award

Live Simply Parish Organiser Rita Belletty with her Award

The Live Simply Award is presented to communities who have shown they can live simply in solidarity with people in poverty, whilst living sustainably with creation. In the past, these communities have encouraged people to walk to church or school, promoted recycling, and joined climate change campaigns. They have also supported Fair-trade stalls or donated to local food banks. Overall the award helps us to celebrate what we already have done and inspires us to do more. It will help your community to live, not just more simply, but also more fully.

An important part of our faith is to care for creation and to develop respect for other people in the world. Becoming a live simply parish helps you go deeper and to take action” – Paul Kelly, St. Joseph’s parish, Lancaster diocese.

To apply for a Live Simply Award you can sign up online to express your interest. Once you’ve done this, you can start developing an action plan to accommodate current activities within your community and new projects you’d like to undertake. CAFOD will support you with resources, and by visiting your community to celebrate what you’ve been doing. We will also celebrate and share your achievements.

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The Live Simply Award Group at St. James’ Church, Petts Wood

In July 2014, St. James’ Church in Petts Wood became the very first parish in the Archdiocese of Southwark to receive the award. The parishioners created a beautiful wildlife garden and worship space, whilst reducing the church’s carbon footprint by nearly 10 percent. They also decided to mark baptisms and birthdays by planting over 70 trees in British woodlands, support local food banks and raise money to support those living in poverty in Bangladesh.

In the words of parishioner Joe Falzon, who lead the projects, participating in the Live Simply Award challenges us all to think about what we do within our own society to have a worldwide impact. Since 2014 several other communities across multiple dioceses have joined them in the challenge to live simply, sustainably and in solidarity.

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Last CAFOD Essentials Day

If your catholic community would be interested, sign up online and you can access various resources to get you started, from our step-by-step guide to 100 Live Simply ideas for your community. Together we can reduce emissions and take action on climate change. What will you do to make a difference?

For more information and ideas, come to our workshop on Essentials Day on 9th September from 9:30am in Romero House, 55 Westminster Bridge Road. There will be several other workshops, reflections and a briefing for this year’s Harvest Fast Day. Register your place on Eventbrite to join us.

Alternatively,  you can email livesimplyaward@cafod.org.uk for further information about the award.

Acclaimed Electronic Duo Inspire Greenwich Students to Act on Climate Change

By CAFOD – Southwark Office

Thanks to Hal St. John and Cherrie Anderson, founders of the electronic band ‘Ooberfuse’ from Woolwich, students from St. Ursula’s Convent School in Greenwich had a musical workshop on renewable energy.

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Students showcasing their lyrics

The critically acclaimed duo visited the school on Monday 10th July, giving students the opportunity to learn about CAFOD’s latest Power To be campaign and the significance of renewable energy for the world’s poorest communities. The students wrote their own lyrics, inspired by the campaign, and even had the chance to sing and showcase their work with Ooberfuse. The school hall may have been a contrast to the band’s latest venues, the Ministry of Sound and the O2, but everyone had a fantastic time.

Both Hal and Cherrie were really pleased with how successful the day was. Hal was especially impressed by the lyrics written by the students. “It is always a tall order to make scientific problems attractive to a young audience, as usually their minds are anywhere else. But it helped that we focused it around things that they already knew about.  The real test was when they were writing their own lyrics but when they read them back and they were such powerful lyrics, it was great to see.”

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Learning about ‘Power To Be’

Ooberfuse was formed in 2010, and within just a few years their quirky and upbeat songs have been praised by many, including Boy George, The Guardian and BBC 6’s Tom Robinson. Their music has since taken them all over the world from Madrid, where they played for two million young Catholics on World Youth Day, to Iraq, where they played at a refugee camp in Erbil. Both social justice and inequality are strong themes within their music. They are also soon to release a song about the plight of refugees. Whilst promoting social justice and their Catholic faith through music, the Ooberfuse was motivated to get involved with CAFOD’s work, and run a workshop for the students at St. Ursula’s Convent School.

Cherrie was originally from the Philippines where Typhoon Haiyan struck in 2013. “Climate change was just an idea but when Typhoon Haiyan hit my hometown it became so real. That is when we decided to devote our music to social justice and raising awareness about important issues.  After the typhoon CAFOD  were one of the first aid agencies on the ground responding to the need, so it’s great to be involved with them now.”

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‘Power To Be’ display, created by students 

Through our Power To Be campaign, communities have been encouraged to lobby the World Bank to invest more in local renewable energy. Despite the fight to reduce worldwide poverty, only less than 3% of their expenditures go towards renewable energy. Through our campaign, we are asking the UK’s representative at the World Bank, Melanie Robinson, to use her influence to ensure that children everywhere have the power to achieve great things and lift themselves out of poverty, without harming the planet.

Our message is reaching many people, and thanks to a fun-packed day, students were made aware of our responsibility to be stewards for our planet. “People in places like Kenya are suffering because they do not have access to electricity. Around the world, one in six people don’t have electricity; that’s equal to 1.2 billion people and we should do something about it.” (Saumu, Year 8).

School Chaplain, Susan Elderfield, was also inspired by the duo’s message, “I don’t think we should forget the message of today; how we should look after the planet. Each one of us has a responsibility – from switching off the lights to getting involved with NGOs to becoming politicians. It’s our planet and our job to look after it.”

To engage in our Power To Be campaign, you can sign our petition online, order action cards at our shop to sign within your parish, or organise a Power To Be Liturgy to continue to raise awareness, pray and spread the message.

 

How the young show their love for our Common Good

Meg, a CAFOD Southwark Media Volunteer, recently enjoyed two wonderful examples in the Diocese of Southwark how the young showed their love for our Common Good as they heard about Climate Change and CAFOD’s Share a Green Heart Campaign.

Comments from Meg:

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One of the young participants in Eileen’s liturgy, proudly presenting her heart art.

It’s always interesting to see how the young perceive our planet.

As part of CAFOD’s Share a green heart campaign last St. Valentine’s Day, children shared what the world meant to them.

The catechists, from Christ Church, held a liturgy for the children on Sunday, 19 February. During mass, about 40 children, ranging in age from three to five years, sang (complete with hand gestures) the song “He’s got the whole world in his hands.”

They were also read the creation story. When asked what they loved about the world, the children were quick with their answers: Butterflies! Sharks! Stars! Even the parents seemed equally excited to see so much youthful enthusiasm. It was the first time the catechists, led by Eileen, held a liturgical campaign for the children.

“It was really good,” recalls Eileen. “They were really engaged. The world seemed very real to them. I was glad I was able to use my CAFOD resources to explain about Laudato Si to them and to their parents.”

The children also received some stickers from their arts and crafts activity, which they were more than happy to take home with them.

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Children who came to Marine’s house

At a second memorable event, says Meg, CAFOD supporter Marine in London Bridge took a more personal approach.

She invited Borough mothers and their children into her home, where she’d set up arts and crafts, and then just chatted with them.

Marine asked the children what they liked about the environment?

 “I like to play football in the grass,” said one boy while one little girl described her appreciation by making a bird out of clay. The children then drew, took pictures and made felt green hearts.

At the end of their two-hour activity, they took home the fruits of their labour, along with the green heart stickers.

Marine said : “I was really happy to promote CAFOD and start a conversation with Borough mothers and their children.”

 “It’s always a delight when young individuals participate in these campaigns”, says Meg. “After all it’s the children who will benefit most from a better and greener world. “May we all work together to make sure the butterflies and birds and sharks stay alive for our Common Home”.

 

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