A Wiltshire bishop who drives 1,500 miles a month for work is giving up his car for the six weeks of Lent.
The Right Rev Dr Edward Condry, the Bishop of Ramsbury, mainly looks after churches in rural parts of Wiltshire, so public transport is limited and he will often dependent on pedal power.
Bishop Edward will continue to work full-time in a period when he expects to cover well over 2,000 miles for work.
He says he is committed to playing his part in tackling climate change and will cycle and use public transport to cut his carbon dioxide emissions.
He said: “I’m passionately committed to protecting the environment as I think Christians must take their responsibilities to look after God’s creation very seriously.
“The disastrous storms and floods have put climate change in the forefront of our minds again.
"The Church of England in the South West has a regional commitment to cutting carbon emissions during Lent 2014. So giving up the car made sense.
"Making it happen in a rural area involved a lot of planning. Buses and trains will take me many places, especially to London and Manchester for meetings.
"But I will need to do a lot of cycling, as public transport in this rural area doesn’t go everywhere, and it often only runs a few times a day.
“I have had to borrow a specially small episcopal staff from Nicholas Holtam, the Bishop of Salisbury, to strap to my bike as I do my rounds!
“Being a bishop, I travel quite a distance every Sunday morning to take services. This is particularly challenging as public transport is virtually non-existent in rural areas early on Sunday mornings.
“Perhaps the most difficult test will be a 70-mile round trip to Ogbourne St George.
"Another stiff challenge will be after an evening Lent talk in Broad Chalke. Afterwards, I’ll have a 22-mile ride in the dark, starting at 9pm, right over Salisbury Plain, to get home to Warminster. There is simply no public transport option at that time of night.
"Both these rides will be in early March, so there will be a definite possibility of snow!
“I’m a keen cyclist and a member of the Cyclists’ Touring Club, so the pedalling won’t be a chore.
"There’s nothing like a good bike ride to get your thoughts straight, and the time on buses and trains will give me plenty of time to think and pray.
“Right now I’m really looking forward to it, but I imagine there will be cold March days when I’m cycling over the hills into a vicious south-westerly when I’ll wonder whether I’m sane!”
Bishop Edward's timetable -
- Wednesday, March 5: Ash Wednesday. Lent begins, and so does Bishop Edward’s period without a car.
- Monday, March 10: Bishop Edward does his 22 mile bike ride over Salisbury Plain in the dark from Broad Chalke to get home to Warminster, starting around 9 pm, because the journey is not possible by public transport.
- Thursday, March 13: Bishop Edward cycles from his home in Warminster to Ogbourne St George to meet a group of clergy – a 70 mile round trip.
- Thursday, March 20: Bishop Edward will lead a prayer walk through the Chalke Valley from Berwick St John to Odstock, travelling to and from those points by bus and train.
- Thursday, March 27: Bishop Edward will join his two fellow bishops in the Diocese of Salisbury, on a prayer walk from Wilsford near Amesbury, to Stratford-sub-Castle, just outside Salisbury.
- Tuesday, April 8: Bishop Edward will be leading a pilgrimage from Tidcombe to Warminster, departing Warminster that morning on the 0723 Bristol train, and cycling from Pewsey to Tidcombe, from a train arriving in Pewsey at 0808.
- Tuesday, April 15: Bishop Edward will go on foot from his home in Warminster to pray and spend the night in a 19th Century shepherd’s hut in near Kingston Deverill.
- Saturday, April 19: The last day of Lent. Bishop Edward will be able to resume using his car after Easter Vigil services that evening.
- Sunday, June 8: Lent will be over, but not Bishop Edward’s passion for pedal power, so he will be raising money for Help For Heroes by doing their 100-mile ‘Dawn Raid’ bike ride from Tidworth in Wiltshire to London, starting at 2am.