News and events

Faith in Food – Inter-Faith Farm Visit

posted 6 Nov 2017, 01:36 by Martyn Goss   [ updated 6 Nov 2017, 01:37 ]

On 5th December twenty five of us from different faith traditions paid a farm visit to Shillingford Organics near Exeter.  We were from Buddhist, Christian, Hindu and Muslim communities spending a day together to prepare and share a meal, as well as looking at the farm and engaging in discussions about food.

The lunch consisted of local grown vegetables and fruits which we turned into soup, salads and drinks.  Earlier, farmer Martyn Bragg guided us on a tour and spoke of some of the challenges facing independent organic farmers in a market dominated by subsidised global corporations.

Our discussion included how sharing food can bring people together and build relationships of trust.  We conversed about food security and unhealthy diets prompting obesity and diabetes – contrasting with a theology of enough and our practices around fasting. We also talked about reducing food surpluses, hospitality and the importance of celebrating festivals and feasts.

The event was a timely reminder of how we can re-connect with one another and the Earth through food and eating, recognising the gifts and responsibilities God holds before us.

Celtic Connexion - God's Good Earth

posted 6 Oct 2017, 06:31 by Martyn Goss   [ updated 6 Oct 2017, 06:32 ]

Revd. Simon Taylor led a special DCGA service on 'Soil' at South Street Baptist Church in Exeter on Thursday 5th October. A copy of the order of worship is available here.

Exeter Green Fair

posted 3 Sep 2017, 22:50 by Martyn Goss

DCGA ran a successful stall on the theme of God's Good Earth at the Exeter Green Fair on 2nd September. There will also be an ecumenical service on Soil to mark the end of Season of Creation at South Street Baptist Church on Thursday 5th October at 6.30pm (see poster attached).

Inter-Faith Farm visit

posted 22 Aug 2017, 06:45 by Martyn Goss   [ updated 22 Aug 2017, 07:00 ]

Devon Earth and Faith Forum (DEFAN) are organising a day visit to Shillingford Organics on Sunday 5th November 2017. 

The event will include planning, preparing and eating a meal together using ingredients from the farm. We shall also share some food blessings and reflections. 

For bookings contact  or ring 01392-294940. Poster is attached.

Creationtide 2107 - Inspiring Earth

posted 3 Jul 2017, 03:12 by Martyn Goss   [ updated 3 Jul 2017, 03:14 ]

‘Creationtide’ or the ‘Season of Creation’ is the period in the annual church calendar (from 1st September to 4th October) dedicated to God as Creator and Sustainer of all life.  As Christians, we acknowledge that the environment is our common home, and we need to tread more gently on the earth and care for our shared planet. This is a special time for us to recall our relationship with the Earth and the Holy.

This year in Creationtide, EcoChurch SouthWest, which is a partnership of Anglican dioceses in the region, will be encouraging church members to sign up to receive daily resources for celebration, reflection and action.

Under the theme ‘Inspiring Earth’, participants will be sent a message every day with a biblical passage, prayer or reflection, questions and local stories of “Creation Care”.  These will include short videos and suggestions for reducing our human impact on the wider world.

‘Inspiring Earth’ is open to all who are concerned with protecting the plant, the poor and the future and who wish to demonstrate God’s love at a time of ecological crisis. It is supported by Church of England bishops in the region, including +Nick Holtam (Bishop of Salisbury) who said, Celebrating Creationtide marks a shift in the Christian understanding of our relationship to creation under God. ‘Inspiring Earth’ offers sustenance to enthuse us in our ministry for the whole inhabited world“.

For registering to receive daily e-mailings please activate the Mailchimp function at    



Exeter Eco-Diocese - World Environment Day

posted 5 Jun 2017, 00:58 by Martyn Goss   [ updated 5 Jun 2017, 01:04 ]

Eco Church is Christian conservation organisation A Rocha's award scheme for churches in England and Wales which want to demonstrate that the gospel is good news for God’s earth.

Eco Diocese is an initiative to encourage diocesan-level engagement with Eco Church, and promote local church participation in the scheme. They are both part of an important new drive to promote greater ecological awareness and action with local churches.

 Following the latest discussion at its Synod, Exeter is now registered as an Eco-Diocese and invites all Mission Communities and parishes to sign up to become Eco Churches. There are already 14 such initiatives in Devon, including St. Edward's at Eggbuckland in Plymouth.

Devon Eco Church is open to all Christian denominations, and others already signed up include Belmont Chapel at Exeter, Tavistock Methodist Church, Lee Abbey and Glenorchy URC in Exmouth.

 A free online survey and supporting resources are designed to equip churches to express your care for God’s world in their worship and teaching; in how theylook after their buildings and land; in how they engage with their local community and in global campaigns, and in the personal lifestyles of their congregations.The actions taken will count towards a prestigious Eco Church Award at Bronze, Silver or Gold level. 

Complete the Eco Survey ( ) to gauge where your church currently is in relation to the three different levels; you may find you already qualify for an Eco Church Award!

The A Rocha vision is for churches of all denominations to care for Creation as an integral part of loving their neighbours and following God faithfully. Help bring that vision to reality by participating in Eco Church where you are...

For further details check the A Rocha website or contact Martyn Goss, Diocesan Environment Officer: 01392-294940


Devon's Living Churchyards

posted 8 May 2017, 08:54 by Martyn Goss   [ updated 8 May 2017, 08:55 ]

More than 70 participants from churches across Devon met at Buckfast Abbey conference centre on 6th May to discuss how local churchyards can be improved for the benefit of wildlife and the wider community.  Diocesan Environment Officer, Martyn Goss, encouraged those present to view their church land as opportunities, not millstones, and to explore how they may be points of re-connecting with nature, with history and with God.

Ecologist David Curry from Plymouth spoke of the tragic loss of biodiversity in recent years – disappearing birds and trees but how Christian Conservation charity A Rocha (‘The Rock’) is working across the world to address this situation [].  One new campaign is ‘Eco Church’ – prompting congregations to sign up to actively care for God’s Creation, with Exeter registered as an EcoDiocese.   David also welcomed reviving old Christian ceremonies such as Lammas and Plough Sunday.

Director of the Conservation Foundation, David Shreeve, pointed to the newly funded scheme to help heritage bodies to better manage bats and inspired all to plant and care for more trees on church land.  He presented a sapling cut from an ancient yew to the parish of Chivelstone now to be planted in the southern-most part of Devon.

Revd. Colin Randall referred to an initiative to install bird boxes for the rapidly declining Spotted Flycatchers and handed these to participants for their own use.

Workshop leaders outlined other possibilities.  Emily Stallworthy encouraged people to look at sympathetic planting to attract bees and butterflies in churchyards.   Vix Hill enthused about edible plant species which can enhance cooking and salads.    Helen Sands and Mark Bedford see the importance of re-introducing story-telling, including under historic yews and at lychgates.  Terry Palmer talked about churchyards as Quiet Spaces and appreciating them as places for spiritual reflection, and even using labyrinths.

Meanwhile, Aaron Southgate, who is head gardener at Buckfast Abbey, led a guided walk around the grounds alongside the river Dart. He reminded us of the historic value of the site, which no longer uses chemicals, and offers a place for re-energising not only for the monks but for others too.   The Abbey produces most of its electricity from renewable sources, including hydro power from the river.

The overall message of the day:  look for opportunities to use the land around our churches to enhance Nature, to learn about our heritage, to celebrate community life and to express God’s glory.

Dartmoor Spring Pilgrimage

posted 24 Apr 2017, 07:23 by Martyn Goss   [ updated 24 Apr 2017, 07:35 ]

On Sunday 23rd April about twenty of us from diverse faith and belief traditions walked reflectively from Okehampton Camp on Dartmoor to nearby village of Belstone.  We were Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Muslims, Pagans and others on a journey which took us to a Holy Well, the old chapel site of St. Michael’s, crossing the East Okemont River to the 9 Maidens stone circle and concluding at St. Mary’s Church.

On the route we shared silence, readings, poems and prayers from our communities, absorbed the glorious spring ambience and even sampled some of the native plants by touch, scent and taste.   We heard cuckoos, curlew, skylarks and more.  The scattered cloud formations coloured the diverse landscape around us and we were held by the beauty of the sacred Earth and the company of one another.

Over tea and cake at The Tors village pub, we wrote words of reflection and inspiration and those are published anonymously in the attached paper. 

The event was creatively and sensitively led by Richard Dealler and was the sixth activity organised by the Devon Earth & Faith Network (DEFAN), with the support of Devon Churches Green Action and the Devon Faith and Belief Forum.


For further details contact Martyn Goss

Plymouth Churches Green Action

posted 4 Apr 2017, 00:39 by Martyn Goss   [ updated 4 Apr 2017, 00:55 ]

A new ecumenical initiative was launched at St. Budeaux Church Community Hall on 1st April.  ‘Plymouth Churches Green Action’ will act to encourage local congregations to engage further in Creation care across the denominations in the city.

 There is an urgent need to wake up to the fact that we are systematically threatening life on Earth for future generations.  Loss of wildlife, pollution, climate change, global poverty, and resource depletion are a few of the challenges we face.

 Some churches are already taking action – St. Edward’s, Eggbuckland is a registered Eco-Church; St. Budeaux has community allotments on its land; Hope Baptist church, Sherwell URC, St. Pancras and others all have solar panels; some church schools are members of Plymouth Energy Community.   Yet more needs to be done to recognise our human roots in God’s Earth, to respect all God’s living creatures and to reduce our ecological footprints.

 The new group hopes to develop a wider network and pursue five areas of action:

                                    Worship and teaching

                                    Managing church buildings

                                    Managing land


                                    Community and Global Engagement

 Plymouth Churches Green Action will involve Anglicans, Baptists, Evangelicals, Methodists, Quakers, Roman Catholics, Unitarians and others.

 See newsletter attached. For further details please contact David Curry (     


posted 29 Mar 2017, 07:07 by Martyn Goss   [ updated 22 Aug 2017, 06:46 ]

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