A Vegetarian Diet for Lent

The Christian Vegetarian Association of the U.K. was launched September 2004. The Veg4Lent team realised that the time has come to expand the aims and endeavours of Christian-vegetarian advocacy beyond the limits of the Lenten period. CVAUK will seek, throughout the Christian Calendar, to encourage, support and equip all Christians, irrespective of denomination, who, through compassion for all of God’s creatures, see vegetarianism as a sacrificial reflection of their faith in the God of love, justice and peace.

Membership of CVAUK is free to all who are interested in furthering the objectives of the organisation. However, donations will be very welcome. CVAUK will encourage peaceful and non-confrontational campaigns and for members to consult with, and obtain the consent of, the priest in charge before distributing any campaign literature in or near church property.

CVAUK will be guided in its understanding of ‘creation care’ by both Scripture and official statements and declarations of the mainstream Christian Churches and their theologians, for example the Lambeth Conference, 1998 (Anglican), The Call of Creation, 2002 (Catholic) and Care of Creation, 1994 (Evangelical). In particular, the Lambeth Declaration, 1998, Resolution 1.8, ‘Creation’ states that:

This conference:

(a) reaffirms the biblical vision of Creation according to which:
Creation is a web of inter dependent relationships bound together in the Covenant which God the Holy Trinity has established with the whole earth and every living being.
I. the divine Spirit is sacramentally present in Creation, which is therefore to be treated with reverence, respect and gratitude;
II. human beings are both co-partners with the rest of creation and living bridges between heaven and earth, with responsibility to make personal & corporate sacrifices for the common good of all creation;
III.the redemptive purpose of God in Jesus Christ extends to the whole of Creation.
(b) recognises:
I. The redemptive purpose of God in Jesus Christ extends to the whole of creation. That unless human beings take responsibility for caring for the earth, the consequences will be catastrophic because of:
* overpopulation
* unsustainable levels of consumption by the rich
* poor quality and shortage of water
* air pollution
* eroded and impoverished soil
* forest destruction
* plant and animal extinction;
II. that the loss of natural habitats is a direct cause of genocide amongst millions of indigenous peoples and is causing the extinction of thousands of plant and animal species. Unbridled capitalism, selfishness and greed cannot continue to be allowed to pollute, exploit and destroy what remains of the earth's indigenous habitats;
III.that the future of human beings and all life on earth hangs in balance as a consequence of the present unjust economic structures, the injustice existing between the rich and the poor, the continuing exploitation of the natural environment and the threat of nuclear self destruction;
IV.that the servanthood to God's creation is becoming the most important responsibility facing mankind, and that we should work together with all people of all faiths in the implementation of our responsibilities;
V.that we as Christians have a God given mandate to care for, look after and protect God's creation.

(c) prays in the spirit of Jesus Christ:
I. for widespread conversion and spiritual renewal in order that human beings will be restored to a relationship of harmony with the rest of Creation, and that this relationship may be informed by the principles of justice and integrity of every living being, so that self-centred greed is overcome; and
II. for the recovery of the Sabbath principle, as part of the redemption of time and the restoration of the divinely intended rhythms of life.

CVAUK will campaign for the implementation of these largely ignored declarations. It will provide church members with access to enlightened theology enabling them to integrate into their lives God’s mandate to care for all of His creation. Personal accountability to God for one’s own behaviour and lifestyle is a biblical injunction (Matt 12:33 - 37), and CVAUK challenges pastors in all the churches to lead their people towards a more enlightened age – the age of God’s peaceable kingdom (Isa 11: 6-9).

CVAUK adopts the observation from world history that ‘For evil to prosper all that is necessary is for good men to do nothing.’ It exhorts the Church to be fully aware of the consequences of its teaching in the past that has tended to portray God as indifferent to human and animal suffering. Some Christians have used the Bible to support:
* wars
* slavery
* women and children working in coal-mines
* sexism
* capital punishment for petty thieving
* public hangings
* witch burning
* cock fighting and bear baiting.

These practices were ultimately rejected by enlightened, radical Christian leaders who dared to question the traditional church teachings.

CVAUK believe that:
* a meat-free diet has distinct advantages for human health, enables a more just use of environmental resources, and eliminates the suffering of animals bred, raised and killed for food;
* vegetarianism is a contemporary response to Christ’s command to ‘go and make disciples of all nations’ (Matt 28:19) by giving active witness to the call of a compassionate God;
* the adoption of a caring, healthy, violence-free vegetarian diet can be a means of creating a more peaceful society.

The great preacher Charles Spurgeon once wrote that ‘A person is not a true Christian if his dog or cat were not the better for it.’ We believe that in today’s materialistic world Charles Spurgeon would extend that sentiment to include all of God’s creatures. CVAUK is dedicated to show that ‘compassion in action’ is a way to take the good news to both suffering humanity and voiceless creatures, fulfilling Jesus’ command to ‘Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation’ (Mark 16:15).

Please Visit CVAUK