Listening to the Leaves

Green Man carving at the Chapter House, Southwell Minster

Southwell Minster’s renowned Leaves do more than celebrate medieval craftsmanship. They point towards God’s creation. Many of our community have been considering how this inspires the Christian message for the 21st century, which must embrace growing environmental concerns.

A day together on March 2nd is an opportunity to reflect upon ways in which environmental concerns, respect for creation, and the Christian message all inform one another. The Leaves of Southwell are testimony to the fact that there is nothing new in this, but our times and their particular concerns bring forward a need to understand what this means for us.

The day will be held in Southwell Minster. It will begin with a short act of worship in the Quire. Local external organisations and individuals concerned with environmental issues will be present to share their interests, concerns and activities. They will include Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, Potwell Dyke Action Group, Sherwood Forest Trust, the Woodland Trust, Nottingham Trent University’s Department of Environmental Sciences, a local Eco-Church award-winning benefice, a local farmer, the Leaves of Southwell HLF project, Forest Church, and Clumber Discovery Centre and Exhibition Centre National Trust volunteers. In small groups participants will be able to reflect further on what they have learned, and address the question: Are the Leaves just a miracle of the mason’s art, or do they point us to a particular response, and if so how?


10.00am – Opening Worship (Quire)
10.30am – Opening Presentations
11.00am – Break and refreshments
11.20am – Short presentations by contributing groups and individuals. Participants will be encouraged to move between a number of stations to hear from and share with them.

12.30pm – Lunch. This can include a visit to the Archbishop’s Palace Garden. Light refreshments will be on sale.

1.15pm – Introduction to the afternoon session
1.30pm – Divide into groups to consider Are the Leaves just a miracle of the mason’s art in stone, or do they point us to a particular response, and if so how?
2.15pm – Feedback from these discussions.
2.50pm – Closing Worship and Intercessions



Canon Chancellor Nigel Coates writes:

The Leaves of Southwell are a stunning resource for reflection on creation and human flourishing. The day itself, offered by Southwell Minster’s house group leaders, is a marvellous example of the continuing inspiration that they can bring in helping us reconnect with the natural world and address the profound environmental challenges of our time.’

To book your place on this free discovery day, please email

Parking is available at Church Street Car Park (Pay & Display) opposite the Minster”


A Prayer commending to God the Minster Community’s day together on 2 March:
‘Exploring the Leaves of Southwell’


Gracious God, source of life,

we praise you for the wonder and diversity of the natural world,

and we thank you for the genius of the craftsmen

who carved the Chapter House leaves that speak to us still.

Open our hearts and minds to your guiding Spirit,

that we may discern together

how best to cherish this good earth

and safeguard its resources.

As we listen to the leaves,

show us how to share in creation’s song

and rediscover our harmony in you;

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Event Details

  • Date:
  • Venue: Southwell Minster