Exeter parish becomes 50th in country to be awarded LiveSimply status

30 July 2019

Blessed Sacrament Church in Heavitree has become one of a growing number of congregations that have made drastic changes to reduce their environmental impact.

Blessed Sacrament Church in Heavitree has become one of a growing number of congregations to have made drastic changes to reduce their environmental impact. 

Over the past year, the parishioners at Blessed Sacrament Church in Heavitree have committed to reduce, reuse and recycle. While also thinking of ways to care for communities, both close to home and around the world, they have been rewarded for their efforts with CAFOD LiveSimply status for their parish.

The parish, who have been making dramatic changes to the way they live, has now become the 50th in the country to take the pledge to live simply. 

Positive changes in their local community 

Over the last 12 months, the group has set up lots of different activities in their local community to help them to obtain LiveSimply status.

This has included everything from:

  • setting up a repair cafe, where people bring items for repair and mending
  • organising a walk in solidarity with refugees
  • holding weekly collections for the Exeter foodbank.

Start your LiveSimply journey now

At Christmas, the parish’s 'sewing bee' group made dresses out of pillowcases, which they sold at the Advent fair, raising over £1,000 for an orphanage in Uganda. During Lent, they organised a ‘plastic-free parish’ challenge, where parishioners were encouraged to reduce single-use plastic.

A real team effort

Bernard White, the LiveSimply assessor who presented the award, said:  

“In particular, the repair shop, the plastic-free challenge and the dressmaking were particularly noteworthy. The ‘sewing bee’ parish group is innovative and a fine contribution to parish life and others.

“Although not an initiative nor an activity, we were struck by the clear involvement, enthusiasm and support from the parish priest, Fr Jonathan Stewart, and the synergy that this produced amongst all the groups in the church.

“I would also like to draw attention to the excellent work done by Kathrin Forstner both in connection with the activities undertaken and the presentation to us.”

And it is not only with the parish they have made an impact – they have linked up with St Nicholas Primary School, and run a session about what it means to care for the environment.

Continuing their LiveSimply journey

After receiving the award, the group's plans for the future include starting a parish walking group and a “sow and grow” group. They also hope to link up with other churches in Heavitree and Exeter on sustainability issues.

Find out how you can get involved 

CAFOD’s representative in Exeter, Simon Giarchi, said:

“This is such a great achievement for the parish. Your efforts over the past year have made a massive difference not only locally, but around the world – and you are definitely an inspiration to others.”

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