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07 April 2012 London, United Kingdom [SEC Communications/Colin Stewart, Olympic Outreach Team] "Green Sabbath was rejuvenating and refreshing after getting into the 'green' mentality.  The song that played on my mind was 'How Great Thou Art' especially on our walk to church in the morning," said Marilyn Le Feuvre, Communication leader at Horley Gatwick Adventist church.

 

As part of an initiative to get church members more focused on caring for our environment, Sabbath, 31 March was dubbed 'Green Sabbath' across the British Isles. Many churches were enthusiastic about getting involved and fully embraced the 'green' – even if it wasn't their colour!

Horley Gatwick church were preparing on the Friday, setting up fruit and water for those walking to church in their green coloured outfits the next morning.  They also decided to decorate their church in green to depict the extent to which we should be caring for our environment.  Their motto for the day was 'Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rejoice!'  In addition to their collective 65 miles walked, the church collected clothes for one special 9-year-old boy and for the nearby Gatwick Men's Detention Centre.

On the other side of the M25, the Beckenham Hope Community church members walked to church in their tracksuits and black 'Hope Community SDA Youth' T-shirts with the aim to 'meet at least one unchurched person' during the journey.  Pastor Simeon Esson came to church in his tracksuit, along with his congregation, and discussed how we can look after the earth that God blessed us with, basing his message around Revelations 11:18, "It is time to destroy all who have caused destruction on the earth."  (NLT)

In Cambridge and Haverhill around 60 people walked and rode to church and back to their cars including one young man who participated in his wheelchair!

Leytonstone church did more than walk in their green 'Leytonstone SDA' T-shirts.  They also came together on Saturday evening to combine 'Green Sabbath' with keeping active, a combination that could only lead to Zumba!

Zumba instructor, Giselle De Siun-Morris, led three sessions stating, "I do lots of different things and it's great, this was the best place I've ever been to!"  This enthusiasm was seen on the participants' faces as well. Each person, from the age of 4 to 70, thoroughly enjoyed the exercise class, so much so that Leytonstone plan for a repeat session.

"The original concept of Green Sabbath was to promote exercise, fitness, and health, by walking to church, but the community would also benefit by having more parking spaces," states Pastor Colin Stewart – originator of the 'Green Sabbath' initiative.  He is delighted with the response but sees it as just the beginning for a celebratory year that includes the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the staging of the 30th Olympic Games.  He says, "Millions of people are already being inspired by the Games to become fit and healthy.  Adventists, having such a prominent health message, should lead the change."  That is certainly true for Stratford church – the nearest Adventists to the Olympic stadium – who are transforming their building to serve the community during the Olympics – and who recognise that 'on foot' may be their only way to church during the Olympic period.

The Olympic Outreach team are now in the forefront of continuing the strong efforts in promoting fitness and health for ourselves and evangelism as we prepare for the biggest opportunity to use both avenues this summer in the UK.  Look out for more information and the next Green Sabbath this summer, and visit the live-uk.org website to see how close members can move towards a 1 million mile goal by the end of the year.

A selection of photos from various 'green' churches can be seen on the BUC website. [tedNEWS]


tedNEWS Staff: Miroslav Pujic, director; Deana Stojkovic, editor
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