One step (or stone) at a time

Part of the Operation Noah day activities on the 5th July included a taize service (what’s that, I hear you ask) which was very moving and turned out to be very symbolic of the challenge that we will face in trying to address our carbon foot-print as a community.

As one element of the service, we worked together to move a pile of pebbles from the larger x10 footprint (which Ruth and Josh had used at the school assemblies with the children) to the smaller x1 footprint; but there weren’t really any “rules” and all of this whilst singing the taize as well.

– The first hurdle was “who to start ?”. Well, at least that wasn’t too hard with having Ruth within our community.

– The biggest hurdle was “who to go second ?”; where we all metaphorically looked at each other (and wondered if we were going round in the circle or not). I have forgotten who “broke the mould” but then we fairly easily got into a pattern of moving one stone each from the big footprint to the little one.

– The next hurdle was “well actually, an individual can move more than one stone at a time” and we fairly easily got into a pattern of people moving two or three stones at a time.

– However, the collective realisation dawned, now that we had started the task, that the pile of stones really wasn’t getting moved very quickly (and that we would be singing the taize forever!) and that actually we needed some rather big actions if we were going to finish at a reasonable time. So, the second biggest hurdle was for someone to take a really big handful of stones from one pile to the other.

– Finally, there was one stone left and then one of the younger members of the congregation taking part stepped forward and moved the final stone.

The symbolism here was strong at each stage in the process to the task that we face in Hartley Wintney about thinking about and doing something about our carbon footprint, as we have so clearly been asked to by the children of the village.

– The first steps are always hard. It will be hard to get our community moving and taking action. Breaking the barrier of “why should I go first” is actually pretty strong. There is always something else to be doing in our busy lives. However, a momentum builds up, once you can get things started.

– We are bound to find that the first steps were good to get us going and build up our confidence, but not sufficient to achieve our ends. Again, we will need to work together and it will seem strange “breaking the mould” again and doing things that will really make a difference. At this stage people will need lots of support and encouragement, but these really big actions will also be required for the enormity of the challenge that we face.

– I felt it was significant that the youngest member of the congregation moved the final stone, because our actions today will effect the world that we leave behind for our children and their children.

All in all, it was very thought-provoking … … …

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