Greenbank  Parish  Church



Society and creation

Society and Creation


The work of Greenbank Parish Church is now organised into four ‘themes’, with each theme including several activity groups. Before Martin went on holiday, he asked those leading each theme to write the “manse log” for the next four Sundays.

This week the Theme is Society and Creation, which contains four groups – Help the Homeless, World Church, Social Justice Group, and Eco-Group. Below, the leaders of these groups give an overview of their work, or highlight areas of special interest.

Joan Ritchie & Chris Horne
Society and Creation


Help the Homeless: ECM Foodbanks


One of the organisations supported by our Help the Homeless Group is Edinburgh City Mission (ECM), which runs nine Foodbanks+ throughout the city in partnership with local churches, as well as two ‘Soul Food’ vans, offering food for the homeless.
Since April 2020, we have been coordinating donations mainly of non-perishable food received from members of our congregation and friends, and passing them to ECM, amongst others. The donations are held in their Storehouse in Sighthill which, in turn, supplies the charity’s distributors.

Their clients come from a wide range of backgrounds and situations, from ex-offenders to refugees or people struggling with addictions, homelessness and more. ECM works alongside other support agencies to ensure that clients’ immediate needs as well as  longer term issues are addressed. They currently serve around 85 referrals per week, which includes couples and entire families. In addition to donations from us and others, the City Mission spends around £1,000 per week on stock. 
Donations of all long life products, particularly cereal, canned fruit and veg and toiletries are always welcome.

Julia Dunbar


World Church: Kilombero Rice


JTS is a fair trade organisation set up to facilitate the import and distribution of fairly traded products to the UK. Greenbank Church previously supported JTS’s 90kg rice challenge which encouraged schools and churches to purchase 90kg of the very tasty Kilombero Rice, produced by farmers in Malawi.

Unfortunately, during the pandemic it has not been feasible to sell rice by this method, meaning that Malawi farmers are likely to receive less support and rice may go to waste. However, it is possible to purchase various quantities of white and brown rice through the JTS online shop, along with other food items. Another great way to help is to purchase rice to be donated by JTS to a foodbank.

If you prefer to shop locally, however, rice is available from the One World Shop, below St John’s Church at the West End of Princes Street. You can also buy from them online.

It would be fantastic if Greenbankers could continue to support the Malawi rice farmers by buying the award winning Kilombero rice by one means or other, until the World Church team is able to have a stall in the church hall once more.

Janet Edwards


Social Justice Group: Overview


As a relatively new group, we have used our initial meetings to look into a variety of different projects and to decide what we might focus our efforts on. There is so much it has been hard to choose!
In our initial phase we are going to look into four areas:

  1. Greenbank has a few connections into working with prisons, prisoners and their families, and we hope to build on these and perhaps look into Prisoners Week.
  2. We hope to support the work of Amnesty International UK, which works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.
  3. We would like to explore further how we might help refugees living in Edinburgh. Sanctuary Sunday was very interesting and informative on this topic and we would like to build on this connection, perhaps together with other interested groups from church.
  4. Finally, we are working hard setting up An Open Hand, aiming to provide parents in severe hardship with a present for their child’s birthday. (See item below.) We have had so many generous donations from so many members of Greenbank Church so far, and we are so grateful for them. It is incredible to see a new project be so quickly embraced and supported by the congregation. Thank you so much! 

As we are a small group just now, we would be delighted to hear from anyone who finds the above areas interesting and might like to join us! Please contact me.

Katie Bogie

Eco-Group: Overview

Although the twelve of us have not met in person since before the pandemic, we have been busy and meet by Zoom like all the other Church committees.

A reduced but hard-working group!

Our aim is to help the congregation become more aware of the urgency of the climate change crisis and to make sure that Greenbank Church is taking steps to be economical with the resources of God’s creation.

The heating systems in the Church buildings use considerably less fuel since the intelligent control system was installed. The boilers now need renewing. It was found that an Air Source Heat Pump would be prohibitively expensive, but the new boiler will be able to use hydrogen as fuel when that becomes available.

Ethical procurement is also applied making sure all the products used are from sustainable and Fairtraded sources.

We hold the Bronze Award of Eco-Congregation Scotland and have applied for their Silver Award.

We hope that our regular contributions to Connections have shown how individuals can reduce, reuse and recycle their waste. The Church uses less plastic by buying concentrated cleaning fluid which is then diluted, and refills the spray bottles. Easter Greens, on the corner of Falcon Road West opposite Morningside Library, is a local refillery to reuse plastic containers.

Alison Murison
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