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Sustainability amongst the staff team!

The CMSI staff team are trying to live more sustainability. Here is a flavour of some of the ways this is being worked out in each of our lives this Christmas.


It’s really hard to get started as a young artist or to make a living as a local seller. Something that I like to do at this time of year is to support my neighbours by buying gifts from the craft market. There is one artist who only uses recycled materials to make jewellery. Every piece is utterly unique – this practice of turning trash to treasure is a celebration of the beauty we so easily miss when we opt to click and collect our Christmas gifts.


Pretty wrapped presents under the Christmas tree bring joy and expectation. What lies hidden? Careful unwrapping and the surprise reveal. The gifts are treasured but the paper is not discarded. The best pieces are carefully folded up and put in a box - even the tattier ones kept for family use and stocking fillers - all hidden in the roof space until next year... only the small scraps are relegated to fire lighters. The wrapping papers are now infused with memories, layering year on year, Christmases past remembered in the present.


After all the feasting at Christmas why not try a more sustainable diet – eating a Vegan diet for the month of January? I tried this a couple of years ago and to my surprise found that there were plenty of ways to enjoy a vegetarian diet, although it was hard giving up milk, eggs and cheese. Since then I have greatly reduced eating meat, dairy and fish – in line with the IPCC advice, “Changing diets towards a lower share of animal-sourced food…reduces overall Greenhouse Gas emissions”.


There's nothing like sharing the joy of a good book with someone you love. This Christmas, I am giving the gift of my own pre-enjoyed books. Not only will I have people to talk to about what I've been reading but it'll save a few trees in the process. Win, win!


Nearly completed crocheting fingerless gloves and knitted hat – my secret Santa gift for a family member with yarn purchased in a charity shop. I’d better hurry up!


With small children and a full-time job, what I value most is time. Instead of gifts, we will be enjoying food and fellowship with our siblings this year. Babysitters booked to avoid distractions, the best gift we can give to one another is our attention, listening ears and child-free chat. This is always the most restorative and appreciated present I participate in over the holiday period.


Despite the cost-of-living crisis worldwide, I’ve noticed that Christmas in our culture is becoming increasingly commercialised. This year in an attempt to cut costs and create less waste, as a family we’ve decided not to buy each other gifts. It has been really liberating not to have the pressure of rushing around the shops at the busiest time of year buying more “stuff” and unwanted gifts. Research shows that most of the things we buy at Christmas end up being given to charity shops, who then can’t sell them – and they end up in landfill. As God’s people, surely the birth of Christ, the true meaning of Christmas, is more about “Immanuel” God with us and preparing our hearts to receive the greatest gift of all: Jesus, the Son of God.



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