LIVING LIGHT
Living Light
Welcome! You have found the site of the CreationKeepers team (Christ Church's Eco Church Committee), which shares ideas and experiences about how we can all lighten our environmental footprint. We do this because we see our planet and its resources at a breaking point and believe in the power of personal examples. Most weeks, we will reflect on some aspect of living, working, shopping, consuming, reading, learning, etc. These are all local experiences and can easily be adopted by others in our community. Our authors (Rosie and Monika) look forward to any comments or ideas that you may also have and want to share. Send us your ideas at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Blog #13: What Remains?

April 8, 2021
Rosie Evans
With last week’s Easter celebrations marking the end of Lent, also our Caring for Creation Lent course concluded, after 5 weeks, 10 sessions, and with 15 people who regularly showed up. Was it time well spent? Did we learn something that we want to take forward? And can the rest of us, our blog readers, benefit from some of the takeaways?
The short answer is: YES! When 15 people come together regularly to pray, share, and brainstorm, all focused on the question what we can do as people of faith to care for God’s creation, a lot of great resources come together. This blog shares some of them as well as some of the ideas we came up with.


The last verse of my favoruite prayer, Living Lightly, from the Caritas  NZ Aotearoa Prayer Collection that we kept coming back to during the course. Much recommended!

Firstly, we shared with each other names and stories of people who have spoken out about the climate crisis or climate injustice and who have inspired us. Of course, Greta Thunberg, who began the Fridays For Future Campaign, was on the list. And one of my personal goals in the coming weeks will be to make time to watch the film created about her work, I am Greta. Another person worth looking up is Hannah Malcolm, a writer and winner of the 2019 Theology Slam. She speaks about our need to lament and to turn to God for guidance, well put in a podcast from Cranmer Hall in Durham
Secondly, we learnt about laments. Writing a lament, expressing grief and sorrow, was one of our homework assignments. It was not an easy task. Lamenting doesn’t really seem to be in our vocabulary or practice any more. Walking in the Wilderness, a book of daily reflections for the Lenten season, had suggested this as a spiritual practice. And while the lament exercise wasn’t everybody’s cup of tea, we did reflect on how it is an important practice for people of faith. The Psalms of Lamentation are a great reminder of this, as theologian Walter Brueggemann points out in his paper "The Costly Loss of Lament", worth checking out. And if you’re wondering where you may have heard that reference before: the other Lent course this year was following his book, ‘A Way Other Than Our Own’.
Thirdly, we delved into Psalms with a Caring for Creation theme. Our course booklet encouraged us to read certain Psalms, including Psalm 24, which begins “the earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it”. Psalm 146 is another Psalm that we read through, and used for ‘lectio divina’, a beautiful spiritual practice. As well as praying or chanting Psalms, they can, of course, also be sung. I took advantage of this for our Lent group by sharing both more traditional renditions of the sung Psalms and more modern versions. The Psalms Project is a band aiming to set all 150 psalms to music and I have found their music to be particularly beautiful. 
Fourthly, we explored some beautiful, though at times challenging, Bible passages that can help us to connect matters of creation and the environment with our faith. You might also want to check them out! We all know the most famous one, of course: Genesis chapter 1, verses 26-28. Others included: Isaiah 43, Luke 14:12-14, Deuteronomy 11, Job 12:7-9, Luke 12:15, and Mark 8:34 to name a few. 
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly: Throughout the course, we were able to build fellowship. I’m rather missing the Lent group now that we have finished the sessions. We may want to come together again for walks in nature, joint activity, or even action, and certainly for sharing music of hope. Because that is what we all shared, our hope as Christians in God who loves us and cares for us, even when times are tough. Stuart Townend’s song ‘There is a Hope' is a great reminder and worth listening to. As one of us in the group observed: "That’s all we can and must do: Listen to God, trust Him, and be guided by Him!".
Want to stay engaged? For ideas, suggestions, or questions: Do contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Blog #12: Easter Is Coming

March 31, 2021
Monika Weber-Fahr
Easter is coming! And with it, comes hot cross buns and eggs. Most of our Easter customs, I am gladly noting on behalf of our Living Light blog, have a low environmental footprint. Easter may not only be the celebration of the Lord’s resurrection, but also a fabulously light feast in terms of the earthly things that come along with it.
Nevertheless, the Internet is full of good ideas for low impact Easter celebrations and so we are sharing some of the most commonly found tips and tricks here. Some of them are about the chocolate eggs, particularly if these come with foil or plastic wrappers and additional boxes or bags. It’s easy to be mindful here, and in fact Vienna has many specialized chocolate and sweet stores where you can buy your Easter goodies one by one, selecting only those that you will actually eat, amongst them Bea’s Feinstes on Wollzeile, Leschanz behind the Stephansdom, and others. There will probably also be fair trade options to consider too.

Baking your own Hot Cross Buns rather than purchasing in bulk (not too easy anyways here in Vienna) is a great way for to celebrate Easter with a light ecological footprint.
Then there are decorations. Many of us will have a box stored someplace, with many pretty little bunnies, flowers, or chicklets that we bought 15 or 20 or 30 years ago. They come out now during this week before the big feast, populating desks and sideboards, bringing festive spirits and a smile. But a tip for those who are still to stock up or add to their collection: Instead of the cheaper plastic decorations, do consider wood or other recyclable materials. When looking for nonplastic decorations in Vienna, often your local florist will have something for you. And you may want to consider checking out the Naschmarkt’s flea market section or your neighbourhood antique store, reusing others’ decorations is a great contribution to our planet. Finally, of course, there is the do-it-yourself option.
And finally, the Easter Eggs. Those of you who have picked up on Austrian traditions may want to check out using natural colors this year. Dying your eggs with onion skins, cabbage, or other such things can be quite the hoot. Enjoy!
Wishing you all a happy and LIGHT Easter!

Blog #11: The Sounds of Spring

March 25, 2021
Monika Weber-Fahr
Spring is in the air, and so are spring’s beautiful sounds as well as those that make them: our local birds here in Vienna! But I am not writing this blog just because I enjoy being awakened in the morning by the singsong of our feathered friends, seemingly residing in the courtyard of the urban apartment building I live in. Further to the joy that birds bring, I also want to talk about the fact that they are under threat, here in Vienna and elsewhere, and that collectively we can do a lot to safeguard this important and beautiful part of God’s creation.
Let’s start with who is here right now: The short answer is that Vienna has many, many different kinds of birds, even noted for that by the Urbanbirder. The most common birds in Vienna are the Great Tit (Kohlmeise), the Common Blackbird (Amsel), the Blackcap (Moenchsgrasmuecke), Pigeons (Tauben), and Swallows (Schwalben). If you are trying to figure out who is that chirpy little person in front of you, Birdlifean Austrian NGO, is here to help. While their website is in German only, using some rudimentary vocabulary (Vogel), you can find the page where they introduce you to pictures and sounds of local bird populations. And you can even participate in their birdcounting exercises! Currently ongoing in Vienna is the counting of Woodpecker sounds. Yes, Vienna seems to be unique across Europe in that here we host nine (9!) different types of Woodpeckers! And right now, in March, these little guys do more woodpecking than in any other month of the year. More on Vienna’s birds you can also learn at the local Volkshochschule, who knew!
 Birds
But what’s wrong with that picture? Most birdlovers will know the numbers: Bird populations have continued to decline massively in the past 20-50 years, in the US by about percent since 1970, in Europe by 4-17 percent since 2000, in some areas and depending on the type of bird up to 40 percent and more, such as the Austrian countryside birds (Feldvoegel). The decline in bird populations is in fact a worrisome global trend. Why is it happening? There are many reasons, and they are complex. Here in Austria, a lot has to do with habitat and food. Many birds are literally starving, their regular food, insects and worms, are disappearing rapidly as a result of broad use of insecticides and the removal of spaces where insects tend to live. Bird habitats, themselves, are shrinking, as farmers are removing hedges to make most use of the land they have. In essence, we humans are taking the spaces that birds need to live.
What can we do? Organizations dedicated to protecting birds, whose motto is giving birds a voice, have been raising alarm for some time now. They are mobilizing help, often successfully so. One simple action: feeding the birds where they need it and doing it well. There are debates about when exactly and what exactly is best, but Birdlife.at, der Naturschutzbund, the City of Viennaand many others have the right tips for you. Once autumn and winter come, we will remind you! And yes, some people advocate feeding birds all through the year, but I am not feeling scientifically equipped enough to discuss all the pros and cons here. Importantly, the bird organizations remind us that we all must be bird advocates, seeing the world through a bird’s eye, helping to maintain spaces in our city where birds can live, eat, breed, and sing.
In the meantime, let’s also enjoy the birds we have. Birding or birdwatching is a pastime that I had, in my mind, always associated with the nerds among us,. But, it seems to be a rather accessible and pleasurable pastime... AND it’s Covid-safe! The City of Vienna, on its website, hosts a Birding for Beginners guide, written in German, but with pictures and quite easy to figure out. Vienna alone has some 25 promising birdwatching trails. And birdguides.com will inform you about interesting bird sightings. Do you feel unsure, never having done birding and you don’t know how to do it? Fear no more. There is Birdingpal.org, an organization that will match you up with someone else who will show you around the best birdwatching sights.
Final fun fact for the Vienna lover: Vienna has some 40+ streets and places named after birds. Plus, it has plenty of hills and locales with bird names too, not to mention the many eagles appearing in the coats of arms all around here.
Am I now a birder? No, not yet, at least. But I did go out to the Herder Bookstore and got myself a bird poster. I fixed it on the door in the loo. So now, there is plenty of observation time booked to learn about the local populations.