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Cleaning up our act 

Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture, that you must tread down with your feet the rest of your pasture; and to drink of clear water, that you must muddy the rest of the water with your feet? (Ezekiel 34:18)

Have you ever been struck by this challenging verse?

By all means, read it in context, but taking it as a single sentence, aren’t we blessed to have such a lot of good food choices and clean drinking water on tap? We have the luxury of taking these things for granted so much of the time. Our lifestyles in the UK are all about convenience – getting our shopping delivered, full of exciting ingredients and products, smartly packaged in shiny cellophane, food pre-sliced if not fully made into a tempting ready-meal or quick, easy dinner from the freezer. And yet if we really read the label – or rather read between the lines of the label – we can see that our convenience leaves a trail of “trodden pastures” and “muddied waters” behind: carbon emissions, water pollution, excessive and un-recyclable packaging, exploited farmers, underpaid workers, zero hours contracts, animal welfare issues, intensive farming with chemicals, ingredients sourced cheaply from unscrupulous companies that cut down rainforest to farm what the west wants, and so much waste, from source, through retail to end use.

What is clear from Ezekiel is that the way the affluent “fat sheep” treat the poor “lean sheep”, v.20 (and the way the leaders of a nation treat the “flock” – take heed COP26 decision makers!) really matters to God. He’s angry about injustice and carelessness, and he will judge – and come to save as the Good Shepherd. That by faith we are shielded from God’s righteous judgement by Jesus’ perfect sacrifice in our place does not exempt us from the mandate to live rightly as far as we are able. If we love our good God we must repent of the decisions we make for our own comfort and ease at the expense of the voiceless. Repent and rethink. One shopping trip at a time.

September 18th was World Clean Up Day

No, I didn’t know that either at the time. But I’m thinking of signing up for next year. The event is primarily about getting people to pick up litter. How does a litter picking initiative connect to Ezekiel? Well, what do you think happens to that bit of litter lying on the street if someone like you or me doesn’t pick it up? The person paid to sweep the roads isn’t going to get it all. There’s a very real chance that it’s going to blow into the Thames, and thereby gradually make its way into the North Sea. I confess that while I always take a bag with me to the coast and pick up every speck of litter I can find on the beach, in my day to day rushing around I rarely stoop to pick up the rubbish I pass. I feel convicted that I actually need to start carrying a small bag everywhere. After all, most of us now carry a little bottle of hand san with us, so it’s not like we have the excuse about getting our hands dirty – we can fix that.

Thames WaterBlitzBut there are also things we can’t see with the naked eye getting into our waterways – the chemicals we wash down the sink may be treated at the waste water works, but plenty of nasty stuff gets through. And pesticides and fertilisers from non-organic farming are washed in too, as well as raw sewage at times. In September the boys and I joined in with Earthwatch’s Thames WaterBlitz event, sampling the river water at a few locations near Wallingford and testing it for Phosphates and Nitrates using free testing kits. This was a brilliant citizen science activity, because it showed us how very polluted a phial of what looks like beautiful clean water may actually be. It was worrying, and I certainly would think twice before going for a wild swim. I wonder how many other things were in that water that we couldn’t see.

We are in danger of turning living water into dead water.

70% of our oxygen is produced in oceans, but each year 8 million tons of plastic ends up in them polluting our waters.

As a church we are trying to do better in terms of what we buy, what we throw away and what we wash down the sink. As part of that, in September the Eco Church team started sorting out our cleaning cupboard.

Beside food and drink, cleaning is probably the biggest area of consumables in a church (or in your own home), and we can do a lot to do this better:

  • Avoid plastic packaging, particularly if non-recyclable
  • Stop buying harmful chemicals for cleaning (check the back label – if it’s got a warning sign suggesting it might not be very nice to get on your hands, chances are it’s not very nice for our waterways either!)
  • Refill all the bottles of cleaning products instead of buying new bottles – we can do this at Bee Zero, just around the corner on High Street, and will now be refilling the following products: hand soap, washing up liquid, all purpose cleaner, hand sanitizer, toilet cleaner, glass cleaner
  • Buy only recycled paper or bamboo loo roll, kitchen roll and tissues to ensure we’re not contributing to deforestation
  • Buy fully biodegradable bags for the rubbish and food waste bins
dont throw me out refill meWe are still working on this, and transitioning over to the new products, but you will hopefully already be spotting new signage, e.g. reminding you not to throw out any empty hand soap bottles but refill them.

Why refill?

Ethical Consumer magazine says “although plastic bottles are now widely collected for recycling in the UK, recent revelations from Greenpeace about UK plastic recycling ending up in incinerators or being dumped abroad adds to the argument that reduction and reuse are the only sensible ways forward”.

Instead of just thinking about “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”, we need to:
Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Refill, and only if these options exhausted, Recycle

What’s so nasty in my regular cleaning products?

  • Microplastics and liquid plastics: liquid polymers and microplastics are not biodegradable and outrageously they are generally put into your cleaning product simply to make it look more milky or as a bulking agent to give you the impression of buying more of the product!
  • Surfactants: “surface-active agents” keep dirt suspended in the water and can be made from plant oils or sugar, but most often they use the crude oil derived LAS (Linear Alkylbenzene Sulfonate) which will not biodegrade without oxygen.
  • Palm oil: the big deforestation issue. Unfortunately palm oil ingredients are often well hidden under many names (436 according to Ethical Consumer! Watch out for any words including “palm-”, “stear-", “laur-”, “glyc-”. These don’t necessarily mean the ingredient is definitely from palm, but you can then check the company out more carefully.
  • Manufacturers: the ethical credentials of the manufacturers tend to be very poor, in terms of animal cruelty, carbon emissions as well as use of toxic chemicals, and palm oil, and refusal to do anything about the plastics problem. Particular brands highlighted for boycott at present are Cillit Bang, Dettol, Vanish, Flash, Viakal and Microban 24 Hours.

By the way, if you’re buying Ecover, please note that it is now owned by American cleaning giant SC Johnson which has very poor ethical scores on pollution, human rights, supply chain management, animal testing, anti-social finance, and political activities. Method, also owned by SC Johnson have an even lower ethical score.

So next time, why not pick up an alternative – try Bee Zero, Just Trading or SO Sustainable for refills of all sorts and other eco living products. Make the switch.


Heather Wright, 04/10/2021
Hello and welcome to our church. If you are a new visitor, we have a page for you to get to know us and learn more about planning a visit.
Click here to see more.

Planning your Visit

A Warm Hello 

The following information is specifically for those planning a visit, so that you know, beforehand, what to expect on a Sunday morning.

Where and When

We meet at the Church Building (details below) for our Sunday Service starting at 10.30am. For your first visit, we recommend arriving 10-15 minutes early to ensure you get a parking space and find somewhere to sit before the service begins. When you arrive, you should be greeted by someone on our Welcome Team.

Plan your journey: 

Open Google Maps

Accessibility: There is wheelchair access, and a sound loop for anyone who needs it. Please let one of the Welcome Team know on your arrival and they will help you to get set up. There is a disabled toilet in the main foyer.

Our Service

The main service begins at 10.30am with a warm welcome from our Pastor or another member of our team. Then we have a time of sung worship, led by musicians. Sometimes a person might pray out loud or read a small passage from the Bible. Sometimes people share things that they believe God is saying to the whole church family. This might seem strange the first time you hear it but it’s all part of our connecting with God. One of our leaders will then give a sermon that is Bible based and that we can apply to our everyday life. We then finish with a final worship song.

DSC 0564 crop

What about my children?

We have a great programme lined up for children of all ages:

  • Creche (0 months to 3 years). Children under 6 months are welcome but must be accompanied by their grown-up at all times.
  • Splashgang (school years R-2) and Supergang (school years 3-6) - these groups are currently combined into one.
  • Young people (school year 6+) are in for the first part of the service and then go to their own group

We are still transitioning our way back to 'normal' and so, on some Sundays our children will be with their parents (or other adults) for the first part of the service and then go off to their groups after 20 or 30 minutes. On other Sundays, they will be in their groups from 10.30am until the service has finished
Group activities vary depending on the age but usually there is a friendly welcome, Bible stories, praying, music, craft, fun games and free play. Please pick your children up as soon as the service finishes.

On the first Sunday of each month we usually have an "All-Age" Service where we all worship God together as a church family.


Getting Connected

Life Groups

While Sundays are a great way to meet new people, it is often in smaller gatherings that you can really get to know someone. Being part of one of our life groups allows you to make new friends, share together and support each other. We have a variety of groups that meet throughout the week, some afternoons and some evenings. Check out our Life Groups page and contact us. We can put you in touch with a life group leader who will be more than happy to invite you along to their group.

Other Ministries

We also run/support the following ministries:

Get in touch with us if you would like to know more
If you have any questions about what we do please complete this form and someone will get back to you.
Email Address:
Comments / Questions or anything you would like to say?

Next, we will contact you by email to say hello and help arrange anything necessary for your visit.


Simon Hudson
Revd Simon Hudson, Senior Pastor
Simon's vision is taken from Acts 20:20 - to get the Christian message into homes on a regular basis - and so he is always willing to visit people to offer pastoral support and spiritual care. You can find his teaching via our media page and, when time allows he blogs at
We hope that whoever you are, you will feel at home at our church. We look forward to getting to know you!