I wonder how many people realise that this month has been the season of Creation or ‘Creation tide’ the time of year when 2.2 billion Christians are invited to pray or care for creation, Starting on the 1st September, The world day of Prayer for Creation or Creation day through to 4th October, the feast day of St Francis of Assisi (author of the Canticle of the Creatures in the 13th Century) that some western traditions observe.
During Creation Time at TRINITY there have been two bring and share LOAF (food that is Local, organic, animal friendly and fairly traded) lunches giving us the opportunity to think and pray for creation whilst enjoying food and fellowship, Martin Pett has spoken to the LINK group about the work of the TRINITY Creation Care team, and as part of the Connect weekend Chris Burt took us on a fascinating tour of the Churchyard at TRINITY South Malling. He told us he was currently half way through the annual hay cut. Hay cutting is important to keep the churchyard under control, but it is also vital to leave some areas of long grass for God’s creatures to live in. Hay is cut and turned into compost, which is then spread on the grass, encouraging it to grow at an even faster rate! It almost goes without saying that Chris is a busy man! Chris told us about the plant Yellow
Rattle, which is nature’s way of keeping the grass down. Yellow rattle fastens onto the grass root and stops it growing, allowing more room for wild flowers.
Chris said that in the last eight years at the churchyard, this year has been the most prolific for wild flowers, but orchids prove elusive! Wildlfowers like poor soil, so the less grass the better. Chris said that he has bags of grass compost, but sadly he is not allowed to give them to the people that own the field next door, as they have horses and they are concerned about poisonous ragwort getting into the mix.
Next we looked at the area of the church designated to mason bees, so called because they usually nest in brick walls. They are known for being the best pollinators, and are solitary in the main and non-aggressive, so often sought after. The males do gather, however, in mating season for the female. Once fertilised, the female builds a nesting ‘tube’, where she lays eggs. The egg furthest from the edge of the tube hatches first, and the hatchling literally taps either the nest wall or the egg of the next one along, so they all hatch out.
There are plenty of other visitors as well: slow worms, a five foot grass snake, glow worms, and bigger creatures like the resident fox, who does a circuit of the churchyard, and kestrels and sparrowhawks. The female kestrel who followed Chris about one time was left a juicy trail of rodents etc. as Chris went about unearthing wildlife! Lastly Chris talked about ladybirds and how the invasive Harlequin beetle, which has been introduced is fast taking over, eating ladybird larvae and beetles.
Seeing a slow worm and being in the churchyard environment for this lovely talk really was experiencing God’s creation.