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Live Simply 100th Parish Award_07.jpg
UK News

Suffolk Parish inspired by Pope Francis receives award for living simply

by Donna Birrell

The parish of Bungay in Suffolk has been rewarded for its commitment to living sustainably. 

Over the last four years, projects have included installing photo-voltaic panels on the parish hall, sharing surplus food at Mass and serving Fairtrade teas after church services. 

80-year-old local parish priest at St,Edmonds, Father Charles Fitzgerald-Lombard, has been one of the driving forces to get the community on board with living simply.

Newly retired he's proud of what the parish has been able to achieve : 

"As the parish priest I have tried to encourage these ideas (on living more simply)  in some of my homilies and also introducing others to the idea of sustainable living."

The community effort made by parishioners to get their livesimply journey up and running took around four years to achieve.  Fr Charles explained that they have all been inspired by the radical and inspirational words of Pope Francis's letter on the environment:

"It is 6 years since Pope Francis issued his encyclical Laudato Si, which encourages all of us to work to preserve the environment and try to live in solidarity with our brothers and sisters, in the global South, who are hit hardest by the effects of the climate crisis- facing extreme weather events, such as hurricanes and droughts."

Launched ten years ago by the UK aid agency CAFOD, the livesimply award is a rallying call for community groups, parishes, or schools, to walk or cycle, install solar panels, start recycling schemes, join a climate campaign, support Fairtrade - there are many possibilities for people to start their eco-initiatives. 

"I hope that the parish will continue to embrace this concept and the practice of living more simply and treading more lightly on the earth", said Father Charles. 

Mary Kirk, a St Edmonds Parishioner and CAFOD volunteer, who got involved in the livesimply initiative added: 

"As a parish it's important that we play our part in protecting the planet, and we will all be looking to the UK government to do their part at the COP26 climate conference at the end of this year, to ensure that issues such as policies to cut carbon emissions become a reality. 

"If we as a parish can create lasting change, so our leadership must change priorities and put money into reducing carbon output, and not into armaments, road building, and increased air traffic potential."

The parishioners proudly received their livesimply award on 19th of August, at the local parish hall in Bungay. 

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