Churches across the country are engaging in environmental issues at a number of levels. People are changing the way they live to reduce their carbon footprint. Local community projects are being initiated to care for the Earth. Churches are installing the latest green technology to provide low carbon and energy efficient buildings. Campaign groups are calling on governments to take global action to slow climate change and ensure those hardest hit by the changing climate are supported.
What can I do?
Me and my family – How could you encourage the ecology of your garden and neighbourhood? Could you reduce the carbon footprint of your household? Did you know that the four biggest things that you can do to reduce your carbon footprint are:
1. Drive and fly less
2. Eat less meat
3. Switch to renewable energy
4. Don't waste energy in your home
My church and community – How does your church’s mission embody environment and climate change issues? How could you make your church buildings more energy efficient? Take a look at some of the initiatives below.
My world and global neighbours – How could you lobby your MP for global action on climate change? Or support a Christian Aid or Tearfund environmental campaign?
Eco Church is A Rocha UK's award scheme to encourage and recognise churches in England and Wales that demonstrate the gospel is good news for God's creation. It is supported by The Church of England, The Methodist Church, United Reformed Church,Tearfund and Christian Aid. Eco Church aims to equip congregations to care for creation and integrate environmental care throughout their church life.
Nearly 50 churches in the Diocese of Guildford have already either registered for or won an Eco church award. Could your church be an Eco Church too?
More information about Eco Church is here
Watch the video
Is Your Church Floodlit?
If your church is floodlit, you can save money and reduce your carbon footprint by switching to LED lights. This has a very short payback period because LED lights will save you 80% of the electricity that you currently spend, giving you money to spend in other areas of church life.
If you don’t have the finances or know-how to make this change, there are not-for-profit companies that will help you with the upfront expertise and capital, and you can pay them back using the savings you make. Contact Lesley for more information or advice.
Did you know that we have a season called Creationtide? It stretches from 1 September, which is the first day of the Orthodox calendar and the day of prayer for the care of creation, to the feast of St Francis on 4 October.
During these five weeks, Christians worldwide will be praying for creation and taking action to respond to the global environmental crisis.
A Creationtide Liturgy has been prepared by the Diocese of Guildford for churches to use during this season. For this and other resources, please click here
Incredible Edible is a food growing movement, started in Todmorden in West Yorkshire in 2007. People started growing food that was free for all to take and it transformed their community. There are now more than 120 Incredible Edible groups in the UK, more than 500 in France and others across the world - Hale is next! Farnham Town Council are going to provide three planters, one of which will be in the grounds of St Mark’s Church, Hale. Locals will grow vegetables and fruit in them that will be free for all.
Could you start something similar in your parish or community?
Shrinking the Footprint
This is the Church of England’s national environmental campaign. It aims to challenge, encourage and support the whole body of the Church to shrink our environmental footprint. The website includes a wide variety of information and resources for churches to use.
Cherishing Churchyards Week
Shrinking the Footprint also supports Cherishing Churchyards Week every June. As part of this nationwide initiative, which is supported by the Diocese of Guildford, an estimated 12,000 CofE churchyards improve their churchyards and run biodiversity projects, while remaining respectful to their users, particularly family and friends of those buried there. During Cherishing Churchyards Week churches are encouraged to run events to raise awareness and celebrate the treasures of their churchyard, and encourage churches to submit wildlife discoveries as part of a new central database that will list all the biodiversity churchyards are holding in store for the country.
Eco-Schools is a global programme engaging millions of children, empowering them to drive change and improve their environmental awareness through a pupil-led, seven-step self evaluation process.
Eco-Schools improves pupils’ skills, raises environmental awareness, improves the school environment and also creates financial savings for schools.
Over 18,000 schools are registered nationally and 1,200 schools currently hold the Eco-Schools Green Flag award.
Could your local Church of England school take part? Take a look at the Eco-Schools website for more information, or chat to Lesley.
If your school is already an Eco-School – tell us about it!
The Transition Network is a movement of towns and communities that support more sustainable, lower carbon living at a local level. They undertake a variety of green projects and events and are open to working with other organisations, including churches. Such joint projects are a great way for churches to engage with the wider community, making caring for creation a part of mission activity. There are several Transition Towns within the Diocese of Guildford including Farnham, Haslemere and Dorking. https://transitionnetwork.org/
Speakers, facilitators and courses
Does your church or group want to explore ways to engage with environmental issues? How could you include the environment in the life and mission of your church? We may be able to help you find speakers, facilitators and resources to help you think through the options. Contact Lesley Crawley for more information.
Keep in touch!
We love to share stories of hope from around the diocese, so once you have got underway, please send your stories and photos of what you are doing to make a difference.