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Year of Catholic Eco Action continues Sunday with Dawn Chorus in Bishop's Garden

March 31, 2008:

Chris Sperring MBE

As part of Clifton Cathedral in Bristol’s year-long series of environmental events the Bishop, Rt Rev Declan Lang, is hosting a dawn chorus on April 6 - in his back garden. For early birds who can't make it to Bristol, it will also be broadcast live on BBC Radio 4.

Top naturalist Chris Sperring MBE of the Hawk and Owl Trust leads the event – which is open to all. He’ll be on hand to explain the sights and sounds of this wonderful springtime sonic experience. And for those who can’t wake that early, there are other events at Clifton through the day: see below for details.

“The dawn chorus is part of Sound of Many Waters - which Clifton Cathedral has organised to explore our need to care for our environment,” Bishop Declan said. “It’s a way of helping us find out more about the natural world on our doorstep.”

The day has been coordinated by Mary Colwell, who called Sound of Many Waters “a great opportunity to put our appreciation of the natural world and faith in the same place.”

“Our events on Sunday 6 April - like listening to bird song, finding out about fresh, local food and a nature walk on our wonderful Downs - are usually activities done through naturalist groups and societies. But here we are enjoying the world around us in a church context. Our society likes to put activities in different boxes, nature here, religion there, but in reality there is no division, because if God is in all things, then he is in a dawn chorus as well as a church.

The event is free and open to all - but you’ll need to be up with larks as it runs from 5am to 8am. You can drop in at any time during the event – and coffee and croissants will be available to help the sleepy.

Blue tit. Photo: Chris Sperring
The bishop’s garden is at St Ambrose on North Road in Leigh Woods. Further details and directions from and 0117 973 8128.

Three other Sound of Many Waters events take place on Sunday 6 April.

Spring lunch and cookery demonstration with Bordeaux Quay’s Kate Benson

11.30am to 2.30pm in the Apostle Room at Clifton Cathedral, Pembroke Road.

Using seasonal and local ingredients cookery teacher Kate will take you through the preparation of a tasty lunch with a wide variety of dishes which you can then enjoy. Limited numbers, so tickets are needed. Book yours for just £20 each on 0117 973 8128.

Brilliant Birds Family Fun Walk

4pm to 6pm starting at Clifton Cathedral, Pembroke Road.

Fun, games and activities for all the family led by Ed Drewitt from the Bristol Ornithological Club and Mandy Leivers from the Avon Gorge and Downs Wildlife Project. The walk goes to the peregrine watch point on the Downs and, on the way, you’ll learn about the birds that make this amazing area their home. Free and open to all. Just meet at the Cathedral at 4pm.

Catholicism and the Natural World 7.30 pm in Clifton Cathedral, Pembroke Road.

The Bishop of Clifton, Right Reverend Declan Lang, who is the Bishop with responsibility for the environment for the Catholic Church in England and Wales, joins Mary Colwell for an illustrated talk. Free and open to all.

Sound of Many Waters

A year-long exploration of our need to care for our environment. The celebrations at Clifton Cathedral in Bristol draw on Catholic teachings, insights and networks - and are open to everyone. Together we can help restore the world, and fill it with the sound of many waters, flowing together. Sound of Many Waters was launched on Saturday 29 September 2007 when Right Reverend Declan Lang recently-appointed Bishop with responsibility for the environment for the Catholic Church in England and Wales celebrated a special Mass. Full details of the opening Mass and subsequent events from

Sound of Many Waters is inspired by Mary Colwell a Clifton Cathedral parishioner and BBC Natural History producer. It is supported by a range of organisations including ARC, WWF, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, CAFOD and the Apostleship of the Sea. Sound of Many Waters has backing on the national and international scene. Messages of support have been received from the Bishops’ Conferences of Australia, USA and Scotland.

“Join with us on the journey of Sound of Many Waters. Here at Clifton Cathedral our series of events demonstrate action, prayer, fun, and reflection, to help us explore our need to care for our environment.”

Next Sound of Many Waters event:

Thursday 5 June 2008

Saints & Sustainability

United Nations World Environment Day

A lively evening at Clifton Cathedral exploring tales of Catholic saints who protected the environment. Radio presenter and Secretary General of ARC, Martin Palmer, guides us through 2000 fascinating years of Christian engagement with our natural world, bringing to life amazing stories, legends and myths. Martin’s presentation leads up to Bishop Declan Lang launching the theological reflection produced by Gavin D’Costa, the University of Bristol’s Professor in Christian Theology and Mary Colwell. Come World Environment Day 2008 you can access this beautifully-produced and much-needed summary of current theological thinking on the environment from

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