We don’t think any of us would have expected the Covid-19 pandemic to last this long! And it still seems to have a long way to go yet. Like everyone else, our 2021 has been affected in multiple ways by the pandemic. But we have managed to fit in a lot despite the problems caused.
Martin still divides his time between secular academic work and work with the churches on the environment. He has been teaching online for Oxford University and a new thing this year has beenPlant and Soil. Margot has been doing some teaching for Ripon College, Cuddesdon and we have both spoken at a number of conferences.
The work with the John Ray Initiative has been steadily increasing, and it was particularly busy around COP26. Our distance learning course Christian Rural and Environmental Studies (CRES) is now so popular that we had to pause admissions in June and we will reopen in January.
It was a good year for our joint publications. We wrote up a major report on environmental education in theological colleges, which seems to have had a big impact on greening a lot of colleges. The second edition of our book “A Christian Guide to Environmental Issues” appeared after a lot of updating.
It was then taken up by “The Big Church Read”, (a Christian book club), and this involved making rather a lot of videos! At the same time, we brought out “Green Reflections”, a collection of our biblical reflections, illustrated with beautiful artwork from Martin Beek.
Margot’s boss, Harry, has not been well for some time, and things took a turn for the worse at Easter and he was signed off work. He has only just returned to light duties. So, for much of the year, Margot has been running our benefice of eleven churches on three days a week!
We seem to be able to grow fruit and vegetables! With our large and wonderful garden, we do seem to be relatively successful, even if constant battles against bugs and diseases seem par for the course with organic gardening. Holidays this year have been UK-based, and often short trips. The longest was a return to mid-Wales. We also had two trips to Herefordshire and one to Staffordshire.
With many people heading for the coast we stayed inland! Lots of walks on all of our trips and two of them were fairly genealogical. In August we had a lovely family day, with Margot’s wider family – our first get-together for many months.
So, 2021 comes to a close. For us, not a bad year. Let us hope the global situation improves next year, and we can more easily see friends and relatives again (and not just on Zoom!)
Martin and Margot