Sustaining Brampton

Social Ecumenism as Practised in an Era of Climate Change.

Lessons from Rural Cumbria.

by Revd Geoff Smith and Revd John Smith.
download in Word format: Sustaining Brampton: Social ecumenism as practised in an era of climate change

Future Prospects.
By New Years Day 2101 humanity will have survived the worst of global warming, higher temperatures and sea levels, intense droughts and storms and has somehow succeeded in stabilising the Earth’s climate below a rise of 20. Atmospheric gas concentrations have peaked between 450ppmv and are declining, global temperatures are returning to their pre-warming levels, the natural world is healing and the international social contract finally agreed in 2011 held.  Humanity, though lower in numbers and living sustainably, is, as a whole, better fed, healthier and more prosperous. Human beings have managed to save a world threatened by a catastrophe of their own making. A more secure, stable world, growing strongly, with a safe natural environment and with less poverty. A world acting together. Worldwatch Institute.State of the  World, 2009.

Can this be achieved? There is no alternative but to ‘try it.’ (Limits to Growth; The Thirty year Update. 2005)

Alternatively
It is unlikely that any global agreement will radically reverse the emission trends required for stabilisation at 450ppmv( 20C)… an optimistic interpretation suggests that stabilization at much below 650ppmv CO2 (40C) is improbable. Anderson and Bows, Reframing the Climate Change Challenge… Roy Soc, 2008.

The Christian Basis

Christ came to restore broken relationships. This divine response to the human condition opens up the possibility of our committing ourselves to living authentic lives in authentic communities.

Christ came to share, he left us with the simple instruction to break bread and spill wine ‘in remembrance’. This spills powerfully over into a human ethic for shared living; for the disciples, the ‘common purse, for Peter and Paul the claims of the Jerusalem Church on the wealth of the new churches in Asia Minor, the parables of the loaves and fishes and the Samaritan’s ‘neighbour’.

For men and women in Christian and human social communities, sharing means sustainability. We share creation, as Aldo Leopold describes, not only with previous and future generations but with animals and plants, the very Earth herself. Humanity, we believe, has a God given responsibility to restore and sustain the integrity of creation.

Yet everywhere the detritus of over consumption threatens to overwhelm our society and the planet, from the carbon dioxide of our energy wasting lifestyle to the plastic, packaging, flotsam and rubbish. It is no longer possible to sail the seas, walk the shoreline, a country lane or a footpath through fields without being confronted with the mounting rubbish that is accumulating with the attendant threat to wildlife. This sheer unsightliness is a constant reminder of the dis-respect that human beings show each other and the created order as litter is tossed from cars and thrown away without regard for the environment or the consequences.

Responsible stewardship is a challenge arising from the requirement to share. As food production is reduced and agribusiness becomes less productive, farmers acquire a responsibility for the management of the environment. But the environment we inhabit is not natural, it is the creation of generations of land managers who have felled and planted, raised livestock, cultivated, ploughed, scattered and harvested. Stewardship in this ‘New Age’ becomes a central plank to ensure sustainability over the long term.

Christ came in human form to live as a neighbour in community. He took part in local community life, attended weddings, enjoyed a drink (at least ensured that others did) visited his friends families, cared for those around him and with whom he made community. He scandalised  leaders by hanging out with the wrong sort and his radical new message and shocking ways found favour with the poor, the slaves, the dispossessed and those who needed healing.  The gospel was gossiped around the Middle East, whispered by the slave girl into her mistress’s ear as she combed her hair at night or in the market as she shopped and at the doorstep as she greeted her friends.

For Christians and for the church this may well mean re-acquiring the habits of traditional approaches to ministry i.e. visiting, trusting, being, hanging around, drinking in the local pub, meeting people where they are in context. In the countryside pastoral work is best done over gates, and in lambing sheds and milking parlours, whilst walking the dogs. This means   working in community with organisations that are not church.  Christians need to be  inclusive not  exclusive. There should be no false dichotomy between faith, life and work. Lives should not be compartmentalised. We are called to make community.

Situations and Forecasts.
West and East are in denial. The psychology of continued consumption and growth lies at the heart of our economy. Even in a credit crunch when people are beginning to realise that houses are for making a home in rather than an investment, when inflation is falling through the floor of recession into the cellar of depression, politicians are still trying to stimulate growth. Suggesting that we can address the problems arising from overproduction, limited resources, unregulated investment, the desire for cheap food and cheaper clothing and exploitation of third world economies by employing exactly the same strategies that have failed us in the past is simply false.

Ahead of contemporary humanity  lie the icebergs of climate change, overpopulation, food shortages and more financial crunches as the industrialised nations struggle to spend their way out of recession. Peak oil and other shortages are forecast worsened by growing demands for energy and food in China and India and the increasing strangle hold of the USSR as Middle Eastern producers limit the supply of oil and gas to the West. Coal is still being dug and burned, with continuing CO2 contamination, but nuclear is being developed.  Increased activity in the new economies will increase the damage of climate change and ozone depletion, with an accompanying increase in the risk of old and new pandemics, as diseases cross the warming climate zones of the continents. Economic growth which depends on the Earth’s materials is no longer possible. A recent report by the WWF  suggests that we are globally using the resources of one and half planets. Such profligacy is not sustainable.

Alongside these developments we see other signs that all is not well as we consider the impact of human activity on the world’s oceans and the environment generally. Fisheries and agriculture continue to collapse, foot and mouth and blue tongue are endemic in animal populations and grain production is under threat. Economies as we have known them  cannot continue. Business As Usual (BAU) is no longer an option.

Large swathes of Africa, that once rich continent, are now unable to feed their children and death stalks the land despite the millennium goals.  Add to this the global increase in human population. Water and food shortages are being routinely experienced as dropping water tables are over used, often for First World luxuries. We can see that the prospects of future generations, to whom current generations should be indebted, are not good.

Despite evidence and warnings we deny that the crisis is complex. The head in the sand attitude is that there are no problems that we cannot deal with, or a future, solved with not yet invented technologies. Human beings are problem solvers, but today science is identifying challenges that politicians and societies are ignoring and not solving for many solutions need radical changes in lifestyles and not advances in technology.

Communities however are responding.

Community and the Common Good.
‘The common good’ is a spiritual desire under God and a practical response to the economic, social and spiritual  challenges of these times. Whether our perspective is urban or rural it is clear that, in the present financial crisis, the economy and economics continue to be central to human well-being. Whether we view the countryside as the ‘food producing’ part of the economy or see the countryside as the garden in the ‘global city’ a place for  soul refreshment, relaxation and recreation, or as an improved lifestyle choice, it is increasingly necessary for us to struggle theologically, ethically  and philosophically with globalisation and the soil on which we depend.

The ‘common good’ is so much more than an equitable ideal; it represents the greatest possible good for the greatest possible number of people not only in the local context of our village or town or community but in the broadest global context. Prosperity without growth is possible, perhaps even essential according to research by the Sustainable Development Commission and others.

By any definition the ‘common good’ describes a quality which is the mark and sign of an equitable, fair, just, trusting, civilised and ultimately peaceful society.

In rural communities churches need to recognise that the influx of off-comers and those making lifestyle choices should not be regarded as folk opting out of inauthentic urban living but folk opting into the life of authentic communities.  There should be an encouragement and celebration of the commitment, diversity, energy and talent such people bring.

Rural communities can be proud of the quality of life they enjoy, with neighbourliness a high priority and low levels of crime and aggression. Kindness as a virtue of neighbourliness cannot be overstated. People move out from the City to achieve and benefit from these ideals and should be welcomed in their search for authentic living close to the soil.

However, impatience and frustration should also be recognised, there is nothing gained if such results in commuter frustration, with  aggression directed at walkers, tractors, animal movement and smells. There is little to be gained if the incomer imports the urban prejudices they are seeking to escape or destroys the rural economy through such attitudes. Rural life touches the sacredness of the land.

It is inevitable that the price paid by rural communities is an increased carbon footprint, higher mileages and fuel costs, often larger vehicles and 4×4’s. Increased travel, whether the school-run, the office, the shop, entertainment each separate activity will increase the carbon footprint and require that as part of seeking the ‘common good’ ways of carbon off-setting will need to be introduced, nevertheless rural institutions such as bus routes, schools, shops, post offices, churches and chapels continue to close. The ‘common good’ is served and achieved when people learn to make community. The value of this should be recognised and financially encouraged.

Rural Life and Good Food.
Farmers farm because they want to make a living and generate profits for future investment in their businesses. However because farming is seen as a way of life many farms, especially subsidised hill farms, can not be called profitable, because the economic time/ energy ratio can never make sense.  Farming  is a craft  on which good food depends. Organic farming is seen as a practical ethic where the fertility of the soil is sustained.

Nevertheless British farms do produce a percentage of our food at a time when shortages are forecast. Growing food is not replaceable by other economic opportunities such as manufacturing, tourism or golf courses. This is not to deny that diversification is important for farm incomes, but economic diversity should always be secondary to quality food production which should be ‘ fairly traded’, that is that the farmer should get a ‘fair’ return and be able to make a fair living by caring for  the vital fertility and productivity of the land.

Given an increasing population, there is a need for enough good food to be grown.  This can not be achieved alone by maximising agricultural output, but by changing to sustainable diets, introducing a more sustainable agriculture and even a return to farm subsidy.

However in our example of Sustainable Brampton there is a focus on three initiatives which are seen to have long term community value. First, the development of allotments locally, using current legislation. Second, the development of a locally owned and managed community market garden or some way manage to grow and market local food for local people. Third, generation of the community’s own electricity

This may not seem much when the world population, now over 6 billion, is estimated to rise 9 billion within the next forty years. With current diets requiring such a high meat content the prospect of feeding that number is unlikely to be achieved without changing to a low meat diet and farming fewer flatulent herbivores. On the high fells around Brampton specialist meats are bred and sold directly.

Given the need to adapt agriculture to human dietary needs of between two thousand and two thousand five hundred calories daily, it is possible to provide a tasty, healthy diet by reducing  the amount of meat we eat  and increase the vegetarian content. There is a land ethic that we need to observe if we are to maintain the fertility of our soils, the quality of our animals and recognise that caring for the soil, with all its biodiversity, not necessarily using exclusive organic principles, is a vital skill for the human future.

The most efficient way of providing this is to return to the small to medium local farm employing a mix of arable, meat and animal products such as cheese and milk with reduced animal husbandry and the sustainable tilling of the soil, not excluding  fisheries.

For the high fell farms, in the north of England and in the Scottish highlands, this will not be possible. It will need to be largely stock rearing, but specialist animals, bred over generations for these environments like Hebridean sheep and Highland cattle, when well cared for, grow good and very tasty food.  Local economies can reject oil based plastic man made clothing and return to wool as a basic textile or for insulation.

Such a change in agriculture, especially the reduced dependence on oil based machinery will require more people to be employed in the countryside, whether on market gardens or farms. Alternatively  many farms are now growing energy crops or oil seed for use in diesel engines , as in the USA. Humanity has at a time of food shortages transport competing with food.

But if changes are made there will be an increase in rural populations and the viability of  rural services such as housing, schools, post offices, shops, pubs and of course the church. With an increase in population rural communities will strengthen not only economically.

If over the next generation there could be a shift toward locally produced seasonal food, agriculture weaned of its dependence on fossil fuels, a farming which does not inflict suffering on livestock and a healthy low meat diet offering sufficiency rather than excess and  a gourmet cooking that  has enough calories.  A prosperous local agriculture could return to its essential role as key food producer for local communities, with the rich regional and seasonal variations, once associated with British agriculture being restored.  Rural life could returned to working, economically viable, local communities whose economic priority is growing food.

Sustainable Brampton.
The genesis of Sustainable Brampton (SB) lay in the work of an ecumenical Justice and Peace Group, who recognised the importance of the macro issues as they impacted on the local community and took up the notion of Eco-Communities, promoted by a small group of concerned individuals and institutions, among them the churches in Cumbria. The County Council provided pump priming funds of £1000 for five initiatives. SB was one of them.

SB began as a partnership between secular and religious groups within this small market town on the northern fell side on the western slopes of the Pennines nine miles from Carlisle.

The town has historically been a farming community with most farms offering a combination of arable and livestock. Cattle and lambs are taken to market in Carlisle or Longtown where they are sold on for fattening although some specialist meats are sold directly through the weekly Farmer’s Market.

Farming is still the main business of this area, but the community has changed dramatically over the years with new residents moving into the area. There is now a large retired population, alongside commuters drawn by the success of the large secondary school, a cottage hospital, a large medical practice and the development of small businesses. Small supermarkets, antique shops, galleries and cafes cater for the Hadrian’s Wall tourist trade.  The local economy is stimulated through a recently established Chamber of Trade.

First of all, in 2005, the J&P Group called a public meeting including representatives from the vital and active  Brampton Community Centre and a local organic farmer. This first meeting, funded by a vital but small County Council grant, drew up a committee and Action Groups: Transport, Food, Energy, Waste,  and Reaching Out.

The priority was to attract supporters. Leaflets were printed and a stall promoting Sustainable Brampton was introduced at the monthly Farmers Market. Membership has now exceeded 300.  The local energy conservation group provided free low energy light bulbs. Over 1000 were given away as were other energy saving gadgets such radiator panels. Also a local lottery allowed one household to have roof solar panels installed.

The Secretary and one other member applied for a substantial grant to staff the office in the Community Centre and substantial funding was obtained. A part time appointment, of an outstanding candidate, was made. Below is a selection of  a few of  the initiatives that the project has sponsored.

Community Days and Harvest Markets, with more promotion followed by a desk study ‘Feeding Brampton’ which showed how much local food could be produced and how in the 1950’s it had been. An anti-plastic bag promotion was undertaken by producing cotton SB bags. An enquiry into allotments was begun as well as promoting local gardening. This resulted in the establishment of a separate Brampton Allotment Association, mainly younger people, that is now separate from SB. The local economy was promoted and the newly established Chamber of Trade joined the committee as did the Parish Council.

An 8.25 acre field was identified and a detailed plan for setting up a community Brampton Market Garden was drawn up and planning permission secured. Unfortunately the development grant was refused.  It would have taken a year to restore the field to market garden fertility and fencing( rabbits)  The alternative of locally grown food marketed to local people is now being successfully sought including two years of grant aid for a part time  gardener marketing local produce through a local organic box scheme.

A renewable energy plan is being drafted which  includes conservation, renewable  and community owned energy generation projects of both wind and hydro, plus and energy advice centre. SB is now recognised by the Energy Saving Trust as a ‘ Green Community’ This has aroused the interest and criticism of the Parish Council. It  could be first town in Cumbria to supply its own electricity.

Further grants have been given and the organisation now has a shared appointment of two exceptional Volunteer Coordinators for community development. More leaflets have been published and the professionalism of the organisation improves through careful research, sound promotion and community involvement.  SB has now been amalgamated with the Community Association into a Community Trust.

Three summer markets have proved very successful in promoting community development and the need for sustainability although the local Anglicans did not get involved.  Transport, for the moment has centred on cycling, although a Transport Around Brampton leaflet also promotes green travel.  The town is also a designated a ‘Fair Trade’ community under the leadership of the Methodist Minister.

Links to the local large secondary school  (1500+ pupils )which has a Maths and Science specialisation and which majors in ecology is built into the organisation with the  lead teacher on the committee.

SB has joined the Transition Town movement and been recognised and there is now a County wide group of similar initiatives. There has been some controversy, especially over developing the Carlisle Airport and over the Energy Group’s proposals for wind or hydro generating schemes.

A Transition Town is a community which tries, as far as possible, to localise its economy; develop local food, local services, locally produced energy and a stronger self reliant community. A recognition that if we are to counter the economic and weather shocks caused by climate change we have to build in the essential resilience.. That resilience will allow local communities to survive and prosper when national economies are floundering and enable a localised economy to prosper.

The Transition initiative is based on four key assumptions

  1. That life with dramatically lower energy consumption is inevitable and that it is better to plan for it than be taken by surprise.
  2. That our settlements and communities presently lack the resilience to enable them to weather the severe energy shocks that will accompany peak oil.
  3. That we have to act collectively and we have to act now.
  4. That by unleashing the collective genius of those around us to creatively and proactively design our energy descent, we can build ways of living that are more connected, more enriching and that recognise the biological limits of our planet.

The Transition Town approach is not that of the conventional environmentalist who is looking to sustainable development, changing national policies and a belief that economic growth is still possible led by national policies. Its localised holistic view is one of group action, eco-psychology and planning for a local economic renaissance. How this is explored will be different in every community, driven by local responses and needs. Is this what is meant by the ‘Great Society’ ?

Unfortunately, with the exception of the Methodist Church, who have solidly supported the initiatives, other churches have not become involved and the closing of the Justice and Peace Group, due to lack of support, must be regretted, but interest and commitment is rising in a younger generation.

The active Community Centre in Brampton and its staff, together with a local organic farm centre,  have serviced the now extensive finances, housed the staff and fully supported what community activities have been promoted and see SB as part of their community concern and have been instrumental in securing considerable funds for their joint ambitions. The Community Centre is  housed in  County Council ex school buildings and sponsored by  Carlisle City Council, among other grant aiders.   Much happens in  Brampton due to the energy and presence of this centre.

There is a process of closer integration of SB with the Community Centre as a joint venture. There is now an awareness of SB in the community and that is growing. A regular newsletter to all supporters is published plus an annual meeting and reports. SB is seeking sufficient funding to make the wider community aware of the future needs to localise and conserve as much as possible in an age of climate change, high oil and energy costs and a future where community development and sharing will, of necessity, become a vital part of our future.

Sustainable Brampton is based on a recognition that people are accountable to each other, that we need sustainable criteria that allows for human development that does not endanger ourselves, our human neighbours, or our neighbours in the bio-diversity of the planet.

Sustainable Brampton is an acted parable for a just and trusting society, an economy seeking new ways of living. The good news is that it is part of a wider social ecumenism committed to exploring new ways of living that are sustainable and eco-friendly.

The Place of the Religious and ‘Church’ as Community Foci.
Christian  traditions in Brampton traditionally  began at the shrine of Ninian at Whithorn in Galloway, which pre Bede, had recently become a bishopric of the Northumbrian church. No written sources give any connection between Ninian and Cumbria, although it can be guessed that any mission from late Roman Britain to the lands north of Hadrian’s Wall could have set out from Carlisle. Claims for Ninian’s activity in the area rest on the dedication of a holy well at Ninewells, by Brampton Old Church (which, like Whithorn, is dedicated to St Martin). The ancient choir of Brampton Old Church with its graveyard is set outside the town on what was once a Roman fort.

It is clear however from the remaining signs, a grove of ancient trees, a stream and the springs themselves, that the place, like many other church sites in the area could have been a pre-Christian worship site.

Like so many towns and villages in this part of Cumbria an old church set outset the town or village was replaced by a new church built in the 18th or 19th Century in the centre of the community, but it is these old churches that give us a clue as to the history of faith in the countryside.

The phases that we can identify go back to a pre-christian era, when the landscape was imbued by a powerful sense of spiritual reality that still touches us. Spirits which had to be appeased, if cattle were to thrive and harvests gathered at their proper time, these pagan worship sites were then Christian-ised by missionaries, many of whom came from the already Christian islands of Ireland, Iona and Lindisfarne. Kentigern, Aidan, Hubert and Cuthbert have direct connections with the area.

The re-building of these churches into the centres of villages, often alongside the Tithe Barns tells another story of land ownership and social hierarchy. Each parish, until quite recently and within living memory, with its Vicar or Rector served to ensure that communities were careful to fulfill the reasonable requirements of landowners, who built schools and churches and endowed livings.

Now these declining parishes have lost their vicars, although interestingly the Church Commissioners continue as one of the most powerful landowners in the County.  Parishes are stitched together in an ad hoc fashion with two or at the most three stipendiary clergy in so called Teams, trying to hold together a straining patchwork of parishes which threaten to collapse if and when the present generation of lay officers decides to retire. The idea of a ‘Minster Church’ in surrounding parishes is being explored by two local priests and their congregations.

In the light of this failure of mission and ministry, how can faith have a future in the countryside?

Sustainable Brampton is an expression of secular faith. Here people of all faiths and none meet and plan for a sustainable future for their community which will have implications for global sustainability. Here people act locally because they have thought globally and have been sufficiently concerned by the implications of what they are learning and seeing around them to attempt in some small way to make a positive difference. As the outgoing Chair of Sustainable Brampton, a retired NSM, commented the difficulty has been getting the Church interested. No surprise there! the church is struggling with survival and has neither the time nor the energy to engage in mission. But if, as is the case, there are many active church members working alongside others in the committees and working groups then there is the church as yeast in the dough working for transformation, witnessing and enjoying  local meats, organic cheese, locally baked bread and locally brewed beer and  celebrating with music, drama and film. This we call social ecumenism.

Worship continues to be offered while it can Sunday by Sunday, but each denomination is experiencing the strain of maintaining its ministry. Catholicism. Methodism, Anglicanism and others,  each of these denominations is facing the prospects of ageing and declining  congregations.

What is required and what must happen if faith is to have an organised expression in the countryside is four fold:

  1. Centres of strategic importance must be identified. These will become the Cathedrals or Minsters of the countryside, here the stipendiary ministers with clerical support can be based, worship offered, and sharing congregations gathered.
  2. Centres of spiritual significance should be used. Some of these, like Lanercost Priory with its beautiful soaring building, local to Brampton, already have a gathered congregation. They are visitor and tourist attractions. Others are old celtic sites and ancient crosses, some long abandoned, others needing restoration. These too can become places of pilgrimage, for away-days, retreats and the spiritual renewal that needs to be restored in a future when we think that economic opportunities will be reduced.
  3. Individual Christians will be invited to share and meet, for study, prayer and reflection as part of a renewed lay ministry. This will  enable people to engage with issues of community concern, local and wider, alongside people of all faiths and none, but who are so committed to share their concerns and their faith openly and clearly with those who ask.
  4. The church should, in humility, seek to participate in what we call social  ecumenism, recognizing that a shared commitment to a  common good and community, is a corporate task to be developed collaboratively between peoples of all faiths and none.

If diocesan and district authorities should respond to the ideas outlined above not in desperation but as a sign of positive hope in and for the future. There are signs around of  shoots of renewal, many outside the churches, sometimes named and sometimes un-named. Here are individuals and groups sensing a call to serve, to take risks in and out of faith, here are groups seeking new ways of being community with or without the church. It is almost impossible to plan for these new shoots, they must be prayed for, but here is one possible way in which such initiatives can emerge which brings together much of the concerns we have described above,  with new and innovative ways of being community. A church can demonstrate   remarkable implications for faith and the future of the countryside if it shares the life of  community. This is not new expressions but community service for a common good. One feels that this is Jesus stuff and Franciscan in its concern for God’s creation. It should however be noted that such grass roots developments  are growing across the planet as a world wide movement. Many are spiritual and church led.

Conclusions Based on Partnership not Competition
SB is based on the belief that the ideal basis for community is a sound local economy. Implicitly there is alongside this a rejection of the bureaucratization and centralization of so much of our human affairs from supermarkets, education, taxation, social service provision, care, health care and church life. Over time so many important decisions have been absorbed by politician and managers, centralization, regionalization, it has been argued. These  ensure economies of scale, more strategic planning, targets, efficiency and management, but there is a loss of institutional wisdom. Such efficiency and competition leads  to a lack of resilience and little recognition of those human values which cannot be measured. These values need the community principles of a local  partnership.

Against this and developing the principle that if we are to think ‘global’ we must act ‘local’ in a society which is now experiencing so many life threatening stresses and scenarios.  Sustainable Brampton is committed to establishing a ‘bottom up’ hope to a society based on the principles of community sustainability, equality, happiness and kindness where people have time for each other.

Brampton is by no means unique but it is an exemplar community project.  Over a million similar grass roots developments can be found across the globe as communities seek to change as people realise what the future  environmental stresses and shortages will be.

Underlying the original Justice and Peace Group’s support for SB was the belief that community cannot be a totally secular activity nourished as it must be by forces far deeper and which have their roots and their futures in human survival  when it was experienced at a more fundamental level. Historically human existence has been lived at the level of  inter-dependency with the natural world and has over time learnt to show respect what lay beyond the light shining from the camp-fire. This animistic relationship has over time been dismissed by the churches and what has been described as rational as opposed to spiritual. Now we can no longer be confident as our relationship with the natural world become increasingly prejudiced by our poor stewardship of the planet and human arrogance towards  creation, now heading towards  a sixth extinction event.

Solitary journeys whether real or spiritual are often subject to the danger of fragmentation, isolation and despair. True community must be acted out corporately with neighbours if it is to enable successful individuation. This is a concern for each persons welfare if it is to achieve the well-being of the community as a whole. There is also the wider community of  the Earth and its biodiversity with which/whom communities should be integrated.

The enterprise culture, leads to overwork, poor parenting, anxiety, exploitation and isolation as it encourages competition not partnership. Human beings and especially children do not cope well on their own. We all need family and community, especially children, if we are to succeed as individuals.

The meetings of Sustainable Brampton do not start or end with prayer, other than an occasional Quaker silence, but there is in all our Trustees, working groups and public meetings a recognition of the value of individuals working together. We are  made more than we  can be on our own, through these commitments and  relationships.  As such we recognise that our mutual dependency is not only for goods and services, but is also necessary to fulfil the emotional, social, and spiritual needs of ourselves and others in our community.

Geoff Smith. Retired from full time ministry in 2006 and lives in Cumbria.

John Smith. Retired as County Librarian of Cumbria in 1994. Ordained NSM, 1997. Ministered to the Longtown parishes , Cumbria. Retired in 2002.

November 2010

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