Recently I took part in a community litter pick in our local village. It was part of the Keep Britain Tidy Great British Spring Clean 2019 which runs until 23rd April. We advertised it locally in the shops and on Facebook and a good crowd of all ages turned up to help out. Litter pickers and bags had been organised through the Council. Everybody wore a yellow vest for safety reasons and brought their own gloves. It was all done with such good humour. Everybody involved enjoyed it and afterwards we had a hot drink or juice provided by the local Co-op supermarket. Passers-by stopped to chat and the comments on Facebook were extremely complimentary. It helped add to the sense of community spirit and pride in our neighbourhood. All volunteers were equipped with a free raffle ticket for a chocolate hamper which I am pleased to say one of the children won!

Perhaps those children who took part will remember the message and share it with friends - our towns, communities and countryside are ours for us all to look after. Prince Harry has spoken about how his father used to equip William and himself with a litter picker when they visited places, so much so that they both grew up thinking this was perfectly normal! Taking care of our environment should be a perfectly normal thing for us all. Litter blights our streets and countryside, is unhygienic and can be dangerous to wildlife. Is this an activity our Churches could be involved in I wonder?

Taking this concept one step further, how often do we travel through life with litter clogging up our minds and thoughts.  We are responsible for our own thoughts and yet how often do our minds wonder and dwell on what has happened obsessively, or worry about what might happen in a future which has not yet arrived. How important it is to live in the present and enjoy life in the moment. If we live as far as possible with a litter free mind then we can listen and be aware of the voice of our own spirit which can bring so much peace and calm. Then with this awareness of our own spirit which links us one to another, we can reach out and touch gently the energy of the Great Spirit, our Father God, to refresh and strengthen us. Litter gets in the way. Lets clear it out of our minds and our communities!

Julia Almond OSNU