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Car, not chocolate

27 February 2015

STRUGGLING to give up chocolate was for him never much of a spiritual experience, the Bishop of Ramsbury, Dr Edward Condry, says. Last year, he found a better way: to give up using his car for Lent. And as he mainly looks after churches in the rural parts of the Salisbury diocese and reckons to drive more than 2000 miles a year, that is no easy matter.

For as much as possible of his work, he will be using a bicycle; otherwise he will be on buses and trains. And that is not the only challenge he has set himself this year: he is determined to eat only locally sourced foods.

He says he was surprised at how much of a spiritual experience it was to give up his car last year. "I can't quite put my finger on why, but maybe it is as simple as having to change my life pattern, and make an extra effort. Lent should be a time when Christians make some real sacrifices, following the example of Jesus Christ, who fasted in the desert for 40 days before starting his public ministry.

"It is also right that I do things that lead me to question my 21st-century lifestyle, which comes at a huge cost to the planet. That's why I decided to eat only locally sourced food.

"Another great positive of living without a car is the time it creates for really switching off. We live in a world where constant communication can leave us permanently harassed and stressed. Cycling gives me space to think properly and to pray deeply."

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