CRES Residential Report: September 2018 (Friday 7th and Saturday 8th September 2018)
Visiting the Earth Trust

Since 2007 CRES has been running an annual residential at Ripon College Cuddesdon (nr. Oxford) in September. This year it was on Friday and Saturday 7th/8th September. We had a great programme “Stewardship and the Anthropocene” on Friday, starting with an introduction to CRES and the afternoon field trip. After lunch, we had our annual field trip to sites within range of Cuddesdon. This year we visited the Earth Trust near Little Wittenham. There we met Chris Parker, Head of Land Management, who took us on a guided tour of the land which the Trust looks after. We saw both their agricultural work, and conservation work in the forest (including the work on ponds for great crested newts). We then had a welcome cup of tea and biscuits and returned to the College for dinner.

After dinner two of our first-year students did their presentations, both looking at theological themes. In the evening Rev. Tim Howles led a session on “How on earth did we get here? A theology of the Anthropocene”. It was a wide-ranging presentation, beginning with a definition of the Anthropocene and moving on to philosophy, theology and even film! It certainly sparked a lot of conversation. To end the day Rev. Margot Hodson led a short evening service based on Compline in the chapel.
First thing on Saturday morning Rev. Tim Laundon led us in morning prayer using the Book of Common Prayer. After breakfast, the first part of Saturday morning was spent on five further excellent first-year student presentations. Topics ranged from the environmental history of the Antarctic to greening churches in Liverpool. After coffee, our one final year student, Neil Clark, gave his presentation on “Me, Food and the LOAF principles. A journey in faith and sustainable living.” The examiners then retired to consider their verdict, after which Prof. John Bryant, our external examiner, congratulated the students on the very high standard of their presentations. He then made the official announcement that Neil had been awarded a Certificate. Many congratulations to him!!

Prof John Bryant

Our running total is now 33 Certificates (9 with Distinction) and 4 Diplomas. The first CRES graduates were in 2005, and we have had 14 cohorts so far. So we are averaging 2.6 graduates a year! CRES  is happy to have helped 37 people along the way to helping us make a more sustainable world. We think our average might improve next year with seven or eight people potentially finishing- how will we fit them all in? Watch this space!

It was a brilliant weekend, and I hope this has given you just a little flavour of it. Now is the traditional time when many people apply for the course, and if you are interested go to CRES Admissions 2018.

Dr Martin Hodson

CRES Principal Tutor