From the Rector

Vittoria
Vittoria's most recent letter is here.  For previous letters, see our 
letters archive.  You can also follow Vittoria on Facebook at  'Rector Ballater Aboyne'  
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August - September 2019

Dear Friends,

The Rectory garden is not usually immaculately manicured, with

the exception of the grass. Peter comes and mows it for me, for

which I am profoundly grateful - it's one of those jobs which is now a

bit beyond me - thank you so much, Peter. However, even by my

standards, anyone visiting might notice that the border to the north of the house is even wilder than usual. This is not just due to laziness on my part. This year I have deliberately chosen to leave it to go wild, in an attempt to encourage the birds, bees and butterflies. 


I have to confess, it seems mostly full of ground elder and nettles at the moment. The more eagle-eyed visitor will also notice a small wooden blue heart on display. Birds and bees and butterflies... it seems as though bee borders and butterfly beds are being planted left, right, and centre. It has suddenly become fashionable to care about the environment. The topic is one which is being raised in the news, spoken about by those we meet. Being eco-friendly is the new 'in' thing. 


For once, I am in tune with the times - or they are in tune with me. I am sure that most of you will already have been recycling, composting and so on for years. I was brought up in a household where my mother grew most of the fruit and vegetables for our meals, where it was make do and mend, where clothing was recycled from child to child, and then into rags for use elsewhere. This was partly due to lack of money, but more due to environmental consciousness, and faith.


Being as eco-conscious as possible has been part of my life for as long as I can remember. It is partlyhow I was brought up. I believe in caring from the environment - reduce, reuse, recycle etc. But it is more for me than just caring for the world in which we live. It is intrinsicallyconnected with how I live my life of faith. Part ofmy job as a Christian is to look after this world in which I live. In Genesis, God sets the task of humans as being stewardship of this world. That involves both the earthly environment, and also the people and animals that live in it. It involves living as ecologically sustainable life as possible, promoting care of the environment, seeking justice and equality for all. It also entails making sure that my actions do not - as far as I am able - damage the environment in which others live. It means trying to make sure that those I buy things from get a fair living wage; that I do not support oppressive regimes. This is easier said than done, and takes thought and effort. 


If I genuinely think this is part of living out my calling as a Christian, then I have to be prepared to put the time and effort in. There are things I cannot easily do - the only methods of heating in Ballater are either logs or coal fires, oil fired heating, or electric heating, none of which are particularly environmentally friendly. I need my car to be able to do my job, and it has to be one that I can easily drive. So I do drive a gas-guzzler. But there is lots I can do. When I travel outside the local area, I try to take the train, not drive or fly. As many of you are aware, I have a small vegetable patch, where I grow my own salad and vegetables for the summer months, although the size of this has reduced in recent years. When I shop, I try to buy locally. I aim to buy fairly traded goods where possible. I try to buy seasonal food. If I buy meat, it is usually bought from the butchers, not the supermarket. All of this takes time - it is a lot quicker to dash around the supermarket than to spend the time going from shop to shop. It is more expensive.

This year I have stepped up my efforts a little. So I am trying to reduce my plastic use, and trying generally to be more aware of why I am doing things. Being a Christian should involve our whole lives, but it takes thought, planning and patience. 


What are you doing as your contribution?

Every blessing,

Vittoria