On 12 February at HG Wells Conference Centre in Woking, the Bishop of Guildford, Andrew Watson, spoke at an event organised by Woking People of Faith to mark UN Interfaith Harmony Week – Can Faith Institutions Save our Planet?
Bishop Andrew joined Shaukat Warraich, CEO of Faith Associates, for a discussion about how we can tackle and raise awareness of environmental issues from a faith perspective.
Following a presentation from both faith perspectives the panel invited questions from the audience for a wider discussion on religion's ability to care for the planet.
Bishop Andrew said:
"As Christians we are called to be stewards of God's wonderful creation. The challenges facing this creation are numerous and well reported, but there are plenty of small steps that we can take to help care for our planet. Often this starts with ourselves, as individuals and churches.”
Shaukat Warraich, the Chief Executive Officer of Faith Associates said,
“Spiritual Sustainability is linked to environmental sustainability, and how Mosques and Islamic religious practices have historically conserved precious resources needs to be further enhanced in the 21st century. Learning from other faiths and through scientific discoveries, developing environmental consciousness should be at the heart of all faith institutions.”
The Diocese of Guildford prides itself on being a steward of God’s
wonderful creation, having been only the second diocese to receive an Eco Diocese award from A Rocha UK. This award is a demonstration of the
diocese’s commitment to caring for God’s earth in five key areas of
church life: worship and teaching, management of church buildings,
management of church land, community/global engagement and lifestyle.
Diocesan Environmental Adviser, Revd Dr Lesley Crawley, said,
"Through schemes like Eco Church and events like this it becomes clear that we, as faith institutions, can play an important role of caring for our planet.
"The positive impact that churches and faith insitutions can have on the environment is shown by our Eco Diocese award. To reach the next level award the diocese requires another 16 churches to register as Eco Churches and 11 more awards to achieve awards."
Could your church become an Eco Church? You can find out more here. Or would you like to learn more about making environmentally friendly lifestyle changes at home? A member of the congregation, Annabelle South, has written a series of bible studies for people at home to use, to understand that environmental stewardship is a vital part of our discipleship and worship as Christians.