Caring for the environment: Support and resources for churches and Christians.
Diocesan Environmental Policy - approved by Synod March 2010
Letter to PCC Secretaries - May 2010
Theology & Society - the Environment - July 2010
Crisis and Commitment
In August 2011 the Anglican Communion Environmental Network met in Lima, Peru. Their conclusion was that creation is in crisis. Each participant from around the world reported accelerating impacts from human-induced climate change and environmental degradation in their regions. Many participants also reported extensive ignorance and in some cases unwillingness to take action. For full details see the Lima Statement and Action Plan.
"The Earth is the Lord's" (Psalm 24)
Christian care for the environment rests on three pillars:
- this world is God’s creation. He made it and “saw … it was very good.”
- God has given human beings a responsibility for his creation.
- God is a God of justice and mercy and he calls us to be people of justice and mercy too. Almost everything bad about climate change and environmental degradation affects the poor and future generations worse than the rich and comfortable.
Our world faces many environmental problems. Climate change is at the heart of many of them, changing weather patterns, creating desert, and damaging habitats and biodiversity. Human activity has polluted earth, air and water, destroying vital tropical forests, exhausting fossil fuels, over-fishing oceans and hastening the extinction of species.
As Christians, our calling to care for God’s earth and our commitment to justice, love and mercy demand we pay attention both to the causes and possible remedies. This is not an optional interest but a central consequence of our faith.
For a fuller theological consideration of this introduction and why Christians should care for the environment - click here.
Where do we start?
Shrinking the Footprint - the Church of England's National Environmental Campaign
This Campaign aims to measure and then reduce the current ‘carbon footprint’ of the Church to help prevent global warming.
The campaign website leads the user through an audit and series of practical steps. The intention is for every parish to address the issues that are raised. We need to reduce our carbon footprint by at least 80% by 2050, but it is imperative that we are reducing it significantly now. This campaign shows the church taking the issue seriously – but for it to work we have all to join in.
Caring for God’s Earth - A Practical Guide
An excellent booklet from the Diocese of Ripon and Leeds, Caring for God’s Earth - A Practical Guide provides Ideas for action and Resources to help churches in five key areas: Liturgy, Energy, Buildings, Transport and Purchasing.
Eco-congregation has a series of modules which a parish (or a group) can work through, looking at different aspects of church life and discovering how things might be done in a more eco-friendly way. These can be used as a practical way of implementing the Shrinking the Footprint aims in a congregation.Module One: Get Going - can be downloaded from the website.
Resources Organisations and websites and resources:
Green Action for Sustainable Places - was produced by Wakefield Diocese Church in Society Group to help Churches and Church members adopt good practice. While somewhat out of date, it is still a useful source of ideas.
A Rocha - an international conservation organisation working to care for God's world. A Rocha UK is headed up by Dave Bookless who has produced some useful DVD's. It also includes the Living Lightly initiative, a fellowship of people committed to living out a biblical understanding for creation care in their daily lives.
John Ray Institute - a Christian educational charity concerned with the environment; it has some excellent downloadable briefing papers.
Operation Noah grew out of the Christian Ecology Link and focuses exclusively on climate change. Operation Noah exists because God's creation faces the most urgent peril, which, to be averted, requires a rapid and radical transformation of our economy and culture - towards liveable, supportable lifestyles.
Books, theological and practical:
Links are external links to purchase.
- Sharing God's Planet published by Church House Publishing, 2005 . Basic information.
- How many lightbulbs does it take to change a Christian? published by Church House Publishing, 2007. Practical ideas.
- Don't Stop at the lights: Leading your Church through a changing climatepublished by Church House Publishing, 2008. Study notes, sermon ideas and practical suggestions shaped on the liturgical year.
- Renewing the Face of the Earth - a theological and pastoral response to climate change David Atkinson, Canterbury Press.
- When Enough is Enough - a Christian framework for Environmental Sustainabilityedited by R Berry, published by Apollos.
- The Care of Creation - focusing concern and action, edited by R Berry, published by IVP.
- Planetwise - Dare to Care for God's world Biblical and practical from Dave Bookless, the Director of A Rocha.
- Angels with Trumpets - the church in a time of global warming by Paula Clifford, published by DLT.
- Cherishing the Earth - How to care for God's creation by Martin and Margot Hodson, published by Monarch.
- Jesus and the Earth by Bishop James Jones, published by Church House Publishing.
- A Moral Climate - the ethics of global warming by Michael Northcott, published by DLT.
- Christianity, Climate Change and Sustainable Living by Nick Spencer and Robert White, published by SPCK.
- Caring for Creation - Biblical and Theological Perspectives ed Sarah Tillet published by Bible Reading Fellowship.
- L is for Lifestyle - Christian Living that doesn't cost the earth by Ruth Valerio. A practical book from the manager of the Living Lightly Initiative.
- For Creed and Creation - a simple guidebook for running a greener church, produced for the Diocese of London.
Talks and DVD's:
Renewing the Face of the Earth: Human responsibility and the environment - lecture by the Archbishop of Canterbury - March 2009.
The Blessing of Creation - Professor John Rodwell's address to Wakefield Diocesan Synod, October 2006.
In October 2006 Wakefield Diocesan Synod agreed the following statement unanimously: The Creation is more than a colourful backdrop to God's redemptive work in Jesus Christ. It is infused with God's desire for all that he has made. The Church has sometimes failed to proclaim this truth and should rediscover fresh ways of embracing environmental stewardship.
Resources from A Rocha with service, sermon material and Powerpoint presentations.
Climate Change and Christian Faith - a CD produced by York Courses by Sir John Houghton, Oxford physics professor.
Church Times Green Awards
The Church Times has launched a set of awards for churches and individuals who have worked to help promote environmental sustainability for more details -click here.