Message from the Pastoral Care and Eldership Team (PaCET) for Sunday Meeting 17th December 2023

Dear Friends, ‘Try to live simply. A simple lifestyle freely chosen is a source of strength…’Advices and Queries 41Last year I moved house to live in Brighton with my partner Message from the Pastoral Care and Eldership Team (PaCET) for Sunday Meeting 17th December 2023

Dear Friends,

‘Try to live simply. A simple lifestyle freely chosen is a source of strength…’Advices and Queries 41Last year I moved house to live in Brighton with my partner and his two boys. It was a major upheaval over a period of several months. I had to work out how to get rid of pretty much all my (already secondhand) furniture whilst sending as little of it as possible to landfill, and more challenging, how to do the same with the accumulated detritus that comes with living somewhere for any length of time.Some furniture was given to a colleague, other pieces to a local charity, one or two sold. Lots of things that were genuinely rubbish went in the bin. Local network apps helped me give away 20 pots of glitter, some open bottles of coloured paint and some random balls of wool.But there was still too much stuff to take with me to a house already fully occupied by the life of three people and the legacy of a fourth. Another few trips to the charity shop, add more to the pile for the tip. Try (and fail) to find someone who can use a pile of used jiffy bags.  I discovered – or was reminded of – something that I first experienced some years previously when I first moved into my house.I have a lot more than I need. I need a lot less than I have. And secondhand stuff is very difficult to get rid of.The more I get rid of, the less I need of what remains, and the more simply I want to live. But I am challenged by the footprint I see that I am leaving, the sheer quantity of stuff I alone have contributed to landfill. My white middle class privilege has allowed me to live very comfortably and our culture and society supports that. We do not have the structures which allow us to easily pass on used but fully functional items to people who genuinely need them. Society is based round buying new things, owning our own power tools (we still have three electric drills), replacing what’s still good but tired or has a bit missing.We are still clearing out cupboards and boxes to make our space more open, freer. We continue to try to give away things we don’t need any more. We will, sadly, be going to the tip again. I am discouraging my family from buying me anything other than secondhand books and ethically sourced chocolate for Christmas. I remain challenged by the call to live simply. In FriendshipRuth Auduson behalf of the Pastoral Care and Eldership Team (David Hitchin, Chris Lawson, Tim Pitt-Payne, Caroline Pybus, Theresa Samms and Nancy Wall)