Northern Ireland Creation Care Network meets at The Grange Retreat

NICCN March 2019Bertie Stirling sent ECI this update:

The Northern Ireland Creation Care Network convened its 13th Meeting on Saturday 30th March 2019 at The Grange Retreat between Gilford and Portadown.

We were greeted by host and owner Caroline Somerville and treated to some delicious scones, tea and coffee in the dining room. After brief introductions and re-introductions, Caroline gave us a brief history of The Grange Retreat, which is her family home and has two B1 listed buildings dating back to 1780, with grounds covering five acres including a mature orchard and gardens, which are a treat to wander through. The centre can facilitate approximately 20 people and Caroline can be contacted at -

We then adjourned to the sitting room to have our discussions.  We had good representation from 12 different churches and groups, spread from Hillsborough to Ballymena and Templepatrick to Larne. During this session we heard about many useful and informative affairs, such as the educational branches of Drumlin Wind Energy and Tools for Solidarity.  We learned what was happening at Jubilee Community Owned Farm near Glynn and the opening of more allotments at various venues in South Antrim. Among various stories of encouragement we heard of other small Interest Groups who are now bringing their own cups to meetings to decrease the use of disposable cups; indeed, one man on learning about the dangers of polystyrene cups during a church committee discussion took the idea to his workplace and instigated a scheme to cut out disposable cups.

It was suggested that the certificates now available from Eco-Congregation Ireland prior to the Award, should be framed and placed in a prominent position in the recipients’ buildings.

We learned a lot about Tools for Solidarity and the vast amount of kits that were assembled and passed on to developing countries each year. Many other projects were discussed and encouraging stories told, as time flew past.

Because of time constraints, Joe Furphy gave us a short abstract from the reflection he had prepared on Psalm 148.

The final session was a very pleasant walk in the grounds of The Grange Retreat, when Caroline explained what was happening in the different areas, their history and potential for communicating with God through creation. She explained the present and future preparation that the grounds are undergoing in order to facilitate future studies and retreats, including the development of a biblically based walk through what was previously a grass field.

A big thank you to Caroline and all who attended.  The next meeting will hopefully be late September/ early October 2019.