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Have a heart: churchgoers' Valentine gifts

12 February 2016

DIOCESE OF EXETER

CHURCHGOERS in Devon have been making heart-shaped gifts as a way of “sharing God’s love” on Valentine’s Day.

The “Take Heart” initiative came from St George and St Paul’s, Tiverton, in the diocese of Exeter. Participants can download the project pack for details of how to sew, cut, draw, bake, mould, and make heart-shaped creations to give away to friends, family, or even strangers, on Sunday 14 February.

The Bishop of Crediton, the Rt Revd Sarah Mullally, praised Take Heart as “a simple way to show love to others”, and said that “small acts” could make “an extraordinary difference”.

The organiser, Suzanne Dugmore, said that making hearts was a “creative and simple” gesture reflecting the love of God. People could attach Bible verses about love to their creation, such as Romans 8.38: “Nothing can separate us from the love of God.”

Congregations are being encouraged to work together to make a supply of hearts to hand out at services and community events. People of all ages and abilities can get involved and make anything from bookmarks and fridge magnets to biscuits and bread.

“The important thing is that the message of God’s love is given away,” Ms Dugmore said. “This is shown not just by the scripture on it, but by the fact that someone has bothered to make it and then give it away for free.”

One churchgoer who took part last week said that, having made a heart, she wondered whether she would “have the courage” to pass it on to a stranger. “In the end, giving a heart was such an easy thing to do, and I felt blessed,” she said.

Make the switch. Christians have been urged to “show the love” for the planet, this St Valentine’s Day, in a campaign to raise awareness of what could be lost to climate change.

Tearfund, CAFOD, and Christian Aid are behind the scheme, which is encouraging people to wear green hearts on 14 February “in honour of the things people love that could be lost to climate change”.

The charities are also supporting The Big Church Switch, which seeks to persuade Christians to move their homes and churches to 100-per-cent renewable energy tariffs as part of Lent.

The Bishop of Salisbury, the Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, the C of E’s lead bishop for the environment, said: “If Lent is about renewing our lives in response to the love of God, here is a way to follow.”

The charities have formed a partnership with renewable-energy companies to offer special deals for customers who switch during Lent.

www.tearfund.org/en/about_you/campaign/switch/

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