Blog #117: Green Stuff at Christ Church

April 27, 2023
Monika Weber-Fahr
“But what do you actually do?”, she asked me last night with what seemed like a mix of curiosity and exasperation. The very same question - and the very same sentiments - had stood in front of me already twice, at different points, throughout the last years. Each time, the question was asked by fellow Christ Church members whom I had invited to join what the Anglican Church calls The Environment Committee and what Rosie and I, when we set it up in late 2020, called The Creation Keepers. The answer to the question was simple then, and it’s simple now: We do whatever we have inspiration and time to do - framed by the intent to help parishioners “embed environmental concerns in our worship, teaching and action” (that’s what Christ Church’s mission statement says) and “strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth”.  High intentions? Too high?
The good news is: Over the last year, we actually got a fair bit done. Some of us came together in September to jointly take the journey to the Vienna Water Museum - located out in the Höllental near the Mountain Rax -  to learn about how our water makes it into the city, and to enjoy the nature that surrounds it. Furthermore, we decided at the Church Council to continue with our financial support to an environmental charity, namely the Jane Goodall Institute here in Vienna who do a great deal for environmental education of children. As a parish, we celebrated Creationtide 2022, with prayers, selected readings and topical sermons, including a special sermon about our - personal -  responsibility for God’s creation that was offered by Pastor Esther Handschin of the Methodist Church in Vienna. Throughout the entire year, Christ Church’s shop team helped avoid waste with every item they collected, stored, displayed and sold - making sure many everyday items that otherwise may have ended up in a landfill found a new home and new use. Also throughout the year, the s’Häferl’ team helped avoid food waste every time they came together, chopping veggies and meats from left-over food donations from Vienna’s supermarket chains and restaurants and preparing meals for the homeless. Finally, throughout the year, 49 blogs were penned, by yours truly as well as by the many Haiku contributors that shared CreationCare thoughts over the summer.  Together, we raised awareness of things that everyone here at Christ Church Vienna can do in contributing to environmental stewardship, in how we live our lives, how we learn, how we appreciate God’s creation and how we pray and worship. From what I can tell, there is a small but evolving readership that is actually taking on some of the tips offered in the blogs. So yes, some of our intentions did make it into reality.
Foto: Last year, one of the CreationKeeper activities was to organize a walk along the Wasserleitungspfad in the Hoellental - where the water comes from that we use here in Vienna in our everyday life.  We learned a lot - including to be grateful for the ingenuity of the engineers that have devised the pipelines and the service of the men and women that take care of the pipes every hour of every day.  What activites should we organize this year? Ideas? Want to be involved?   
And what about next year? Let’s take a moment and look towards the coming twelve months - let’s explore some ideas and answer the question that I was asked last night: What do you actually do? Some things are already planned - like this weekend’s guided Walk in the Park. Maybe we should consider another iteration in the early autumn? A guided tour of the Vienna Incinerator had been another suggestion for some time - it might happen in September or October, on a weekday afternoon. Undertaking an ecological impact assessment of our Church building is something else that I am currently exploring - the Vienna OekoBusiness Office partially subsidizes such assessments; they are short & sweet and should give us ideas on cost and benefits of our options, such as considering to replace or complement our current gas-based heating system with electric heating for our pues (see also Blog#110: Hot Seats for Our Church). CreationTide 2023 is coming up - this year with a mighty river as a symbol: Should we take the hint and finally organize a Danube Clean Up? After all, World Clean Up Day is coming up on September 16! A little further out in 12 months to come, there is another season of Lent waiting for us: Should we think about an environmentally themed lenten course for 2024? And finally, there are another 50 blogs to put together, including some beautiful summer haikus.  Altogether, it seems there is a lot we can do here at Christ Church in contributing to safeguarding God’s Creation!
What are your ideas? Is there a specific topic you’d want us to explore for a blog? Or an activity you’d like to see organized? Do send a message to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - let's talk about what we can do, and whether maybe you want to be part of one thing or another!
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