Litter picking with a prayer

The army of church volunteers picking up litter while saying a prayer for the community

A pilgrimage of a different kind has been taking place in the Diocese of Worcester where congregations have been spending the spring picking up litter while praying for their communities. 

The 'litter pilgrimage' is the idea of the Rev Gary Crellin, vicar of St Peter's in Powick, who was inspired by an elderly member of the congregation who makes it a habit during her regular dog walks to pick up litter. 

He rallied together volunteers for a spring litter picking project as one way - with their flourescent hi-vis vests - of being a visible sign of the church making a difference in their community. 

In addition to the congregation, members of his family and the local scouts and guides groups also chipped in to help. 

A total of 24 bags of litter were collected from around the parish in just one morning.  The bags were then sorted through by volunteers for items that could be recycled. 

in the Diocese of Lichfield, 60 members of St Mary's Astley teamed up with local school children for a similar project to pick litter up around the community. 

Rev Gary Crellin, Vicar of St Peter's, with some litter picking volunteers

Now the Bishop of Dudley, Graham Usher, is encouraging more congregations to come together to hold their own litter pilgrimages by picking up any litter they find as they prayer walk around their communities.

"Litter pilgrimages are a perfect example of how church communities can make a difference locally to combat the problem of waste and litter in our society," said Bishop Dudley, who is a member of the Church of England's Environmental Working Group.

"Through litter pilgrimages we can collectively make a difference by walking together, praying together and collecting the litter we find.

"If church communities across the country engage with this, a lot of small actions could make a big change in our world, reducing our environmental impact and making a cleaner, tidier society for all.

"As followers of Jesus, who saw the beauty of creation all around him, we are called to safeguard the integrity of creation and to sustain the life of the earth."