Living our values

In my first sermon of the new year, we explored the meaning of discipleship and how the early Church can inspire us to live our everyday lives in a way that better matches our beliefs and our commitment to follow Jesus Christ. As part of that sermon, I invited people to send me suggestions on practical baby-steps we could take.

This follows our recent Book Club read through of a book called The Patient Ferment of the early Church, where we explored some practical ways the early Church lived their faith: food, clothes, and money kept in common for the needy; visiting those imprisoned; refusal to shed blood; refusal to put profit before ethics; abstaining from blood sports…

The suggestions in this list try to follow the early Church in modern, creative ways, according to our Church’s mission to bring the Light of Christ into our Community.

Money

  • Banking — does my money fund arms, climate change, nuclear weapons? Consider switching to a bank or building society that does not lend money to controversial sectors.
  • Savings credit unions pool local people’s money together to offer accessible finance, and may pay a dividend on their profits. Could this be a way to make my money work for my community?
  • Giving — do I support any charities regularly? Have I considered leaving them a legacy in my will?
  • Energy — where does my energy come from? Consider switching to a green energy provider (some might even be cheaper than your current one!).

Shopping and Goods

  • Clothes — do I buy cheap and often? Consider switching to higher qualities clothes that will last you longer, or buy second hand.
  • Clothes — wardrobe too full? Consider donating clothing to a charity shop.
  • Groceries — do the values of my supermarket match mine? Consider switching to a more ethical supermarket or try to buy local.
  • Groceries — do I buy too much? Be mindful of food waste, maybe pop a tin in the foodbank box.
  • Groceries — who makes my food? Consider buying fair trade marked items from the supermarket, our Church or Traidcraft.
  • Groceries — does animal welfare matter to me? Consider buying free-range eggs and chicken, and responsibly produced meat and fish.
  • Other items do I need a new one? Consider whether replacing an item is necessary, buy better quality or second hand, donate or sell or recycle the old one.

People

  • Voting — does my voting match my values? Check where a party stands with poverty, homelessness, environment, and human rights.
  • Interacting — do I treat people right? Remember everyone has the image of God in them, no matter their rank in society

Ethical Living Tips

As part of our commitment to become a more responsible community and church, we recently used the Abundant Life Bible study series produced by the Congregational Federation and CWM, which covers topics such as living well with others, with the environment, and ethical money.

During our Bible studies some really interesting suggestions emerged so I thought it would be a good idea to create a living guide of ethical tips. Living because it will be updated regularly with new suggestions from our own members and from our local community.

These tips focus on small changes that most people should be able to try easily. If you have any suggestions drop us a comment below.

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Modern Since the Seventies

Already in the 1970s Congregationalists knew what pressing answers the Church refused to answer, this excerpt from the flier “Forward into the Seventies” – which was written during the difficult time of the Congregational-Presbyterian union – shows the modern insights that were present amongst Congregationalists.
(excerpt from “The History of the Federation” by R.W. Cleaves)
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