Fifty five people from across our Diocese and beyond came along to the Workshop that we organised about Live Simply – with the financial support of CAFOD.
The event ended with a mass signing by all those present of CAFOD’s ‘Power to Be’ petition cards (highlighting the need for support of renewable energy projects to help the world’s poorest communities) addressed to Melanie Robinson – the UK representative for the World Bank

Whilst this was an easy action that everyone could take straight away, there were many different ideas thrown up during the course of the workshop about how we could live more sustainably and live more in solidarity with poor communities across the world.
Whilst the award scheme (run by CAFOD) may not be for everyone, the ideas provide a focus for individual and parish action. In so doing they represent a real 21st century approach to the concepts of ‘Parish Renewal’ in that they challenge us as individuals to think about our own behaviours and also about our behaviours in our church communities.

The last part of the event was a shortened form of an Emmaus meal where we heard stories from different
world communities: Malawi, East Timor, Lebanon and Sri Lanka. We were fortunate to have people who could talk first-hand about their experiences – such as Benson Taylor (A CAFOD Ambassador), Patrick (the CAFOD campaigns volunteer for the Leeds Diocese) who was brought up in Malawi and Germano from East Timor who now lives in the parish of Our Lady of Kirkstall.

St Benedict’s is the only parish in the Leeds Diocese to have actually gained the award. The opening liturgy was conducted outdoors so that people could stand on the piece of land that has been developed into a smallholding, growing flowers for use in church, vegetables for people to take and eat, and walkways for people to walk amongst the plants and reflect on God’s creation. This was all developed as part of their journey towards obtaining the award. But, as parishioner Trish Sandbach pointed out, it is not a journey that stops once you have gained the award and there is still a Live Simply group actively operating within the parish
The discussions were enriched not only by the participants from St Benedict’s but also by Paul Kelly, from Lytham St Annes – the first parish to pilot the Live Simply Award scheme – and Regina Schwarz who had travelled from her parish in Walthamstow to share their experiences with us.

As well as signing the Power to Be cards, we asked everyone to think of one personal action and one action that they would discuss with others in their own church communities. The result was an ‘Actions Board’ crammed with Post It notes.

It was a packed agenda but everyone engaged enthusiastically and there was much laughter throughout the workshop.