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Bishop adopts beehive for Lent as top clergy goes green

PUBLISHED: 12:30 25 February 2020

Bishop of Dunwich Rt Rev Dr Mike Harrison is taking a bee keeping course as part of Lent Challenge 2020  Picture: SUZIE HARRISON

Bishop of Dunwich Rt Rev Dr Mike Harrison is taking a bee keeping course as part of Lent Challenge 2020 Picture: SUZIE HARRISON

Suzie Harrison

A Suffolk bishop is set to join a bid to save vital pollinators as part of his Lenten promise.

Bishop of Dunwich Rt Rev Dr Mike Harrison is taking a bee keeping course as part of Lent Challenge 2020  Picture: SUZIE HARRISONBishop of Dunwich Rt Rev Dr Mike Harrison is taking a bee keeping course as part of Lent Challenge 2020 Picture: SUZIE HARRISON

Rt Rev Dr Mike Harrison, Suffragan Bishop of Dunwich, has decided to lead by example and learn how to care for bees in a bid to help preserve the species for his Lent Challenge 2020.

Lent - the period from Ash Wednesday on February 26 until Easter Sunday on April 12 - is traditionally a time of abstinence or sacrifice for Christians.

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But Suffolk's Anglican church leaders, Bishop Mike and Rt Rev Martin Seeley, Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, are calling on families to use the period of reflection to think about ways in which they can protect and raise awareness of environmental issues as part of their Lent Challenge.

"I am taking up a course in bee keeping and have bought a beehive for my garden," he said.

"Bees are crucial to our eco-system as they pollinate a third of the food we eat and 80% of flowering plants.

"Honeybees are disappearing across the world at an alarming rate due to pesticides, disease and habitat loss so it is imperative that we all do what we can to help protect them."

This year's appeal offers a set of resources to enable groups and individuals to engage positively and actively with environmental issues, explained Bishop Martin.

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"As part of our appeal there is a booklet with 40 days of environmental challenges to raise awareness of the issues and encourage people to think about their role and contributions to the environment," he said.

"The booklet encourages people to think about actions such as switching to renewable energy, swapping single-use plastic bottles of shower get for a bar of soap, buying reusable food covers instead of using clingfilm and changing lightbulbs to LED bulbs."

The Bishops' Appeal is part of the Church of England's national campaign #LiveLent challenge, asking people to think about how they can protect plants and animals, and includes a series of 40 Lent reflections, actions and prayers on the environment.

"I hope that everyone engages with this Lent campaign, whether or not they are a churchgoer, and channels their energy into doing their bit for their community and the planet we all live on," said Bishop Martin.

The diocese already has 96 churches signed up to the Eco Church scheme, run by Christian environmental charity A Rocha UK.

Diocesan environment officer Rev Canon Sandie Barton said: "We are proud to have achieved the bronze Eco Diocese award and 24 churches have been awarded bronze and 10 silver.

"It would be wonderful to see many more churches join Eco Church throughout Lent. The scheme encourages members to take manageable, but meaningful steps towards becoming more sustainable and caring better for God's creation."

For more information visit www.cofesuffolk.org/bishops-lent-appeal-2020, or for help and advice on environmental matters, email environment@cofesuffolk.org or call 01638 720770.

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