Responding to the environmental crises facing our planet
Since Diocesan Synod declared a climate emergency in March 2020, our Environment Task Group (ETG) is overseeing an ambitious programme of change, with three key strategic aims:
1. To Equip our People
2. To Care for our Places
3. To Work in Partnership
As Christians, we're called to care for God's creation, and the climate issues facing our planet are hugely important to us. You can watch a series from Bishop Olivia on why we should care for creation at all levels in the Church, and read about our commitments to becoming an Eco Diocese.
Will you strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth?
With the help of God I will.
Equipping Our People
Our Eco Hub is a collection of resources to enable everyone to respond to the climate and ecological crisis. It is undergoing a review at the moment, so watch out for news of its relaunch in the coming months.
Greenshoots Network: Are you helping your church take environmental action? Would you like to connect with others doing the same, for mutual support and information sharing? Join our Greenshoots Network email group if so. Let us know you'd like to join by emailing us. We have monthly online get togethers and occasional in person gatherings.
At our latest gathering we focused on advocacy. We heard from Col. George Curtis on his advocacy work individually and with the Churn Churches Climate Action Group, Need Not Greed and Bioabundance. George recommended the Tortoise Media news service and their Net Zero Sensemaker emails. The Churn Churches Climate Action Group received helpful lobbying advice from Hope for the Future and George is in frequent contact with his MP.
George has assembled his ideas on how we might address the challenges of climate change and runs a page on the Bioabundance website focussing on three effective areas of personal action.
Phil pointed out that many MPs seats are now not as secure as they were, so they are listening to their constituents more, and now is a good time to invite MPs to activities and involve them in a conversation on environmental issues.
Other updates included one from St John's and St Stephen's in Reading: through Creationtide, they have been looking at the six shifts suggested by Take the Jump to protect the earth. They have also been promoting the Eco Church award scheme in an ecumenical group of local churches as many want to take action on climate but don’t know where to start and so find Eco Church a helpful framework.
Care for Creation newsletter
Our monthly newsletter contains resources, stories, information, updates, news and events on everything related to caring for creation in the Diocese of Oxford and beyond.
'Living Lightly' is run by Dr Revd. Charlotte-Bannister Parker through Hope4Creation. The next course will start on 12th November and is for anyone who wants to start the journey of ecological awareness and action. Sign-up here.
'Care for Creation' is a Diocesan-run course that grounds the science of climate change in a theoligical basis, equipping us for action through the Eco Church framework. The current course is coming to an end but to express an interest in the next course please contact us.
'CRES' stands for Christian Rural Environmental Studies and is a two year Certificate course that provides an opportunity to study rural and environmental issues from a Christian viewpoint. This is a wonderful opportunity to study deeper and go further
You will also find many self-taught courses and resources in our Eco Hub
Deanery Environmental Leads
Our Deanery Leads are here to support you on your creation care journey. They can offer advice and experience on Eco Church, speak to Deanery Synods on issues that matter to you, and represent your views and concerns to the Diocese.
We are looking for people with a passion and enthusiasm for environmental issues, and a heart for supporting others on this journey, to become local Deanery Environmental Leads. Full training and support is provided and expenses covered. Find out more about the role here.
Caring for Our Places
Over 20% of all our churches have registered with A Rocha UK’s Eco Church scheme and we hope to see even more register over the next year. It's a great way to engage your whole congregation in care for creation. It provides a framework, resources, and recognition for your achievements. This map shows registered churches in our diocese - Let us know when your church has registered or gains an Eco Church award and we can add it to the map.
The diocese can offer tailored advice on how to help your church reduce their environmental footprint and save money on energy bills through an 'energy audit'. This is particularly helpful during the current energy crisis. Plus you receive a grant to fund improvements once the audit has been completed and you are provided with a decarbonisation plan for long-term actions to reach net zero.
The Environment team also ran an 'Energy Saving in the Home' webinar on 26th September, with speakers from Low Carbon North Oxford and Low Carbon West Oxford. Watch the webinar back here.
Energy Footprint Tool
Thank you to all those that completed this year’s Parish Returns Energy Footprint Tool. The data gathered is used nationally to establish the Church’s carbon baseline and monitor progress, locally so that you can track the impact of the steps you are taking to reduce your emissions, and at a Diocesan level it also helps us to:
- Spot churches that have issues with their heating systems.
- Identify which churches would particularly benefit from an energy audit.
- Discover examples of good practice to share.
Collection of 2022 data will begin in January 2023, so will be available as soon as you have a complete set of 2022 bills to hand. Thank you in advance for your invaluable contribution.
This pack of resources aims to support churches from every tradition, location, and setting in the diocese to participate in the journey of care for creation and reduce
- Heating your church
- DIY lighting
- Churchyard nature hunt
- Active travel
- Sustainable catering
- Efficient appliances
- Eco-friendly supplies
Working in Partnership
Rural Churches and Environmental Wellbeing
Are you a rural church that is interested in creation care or would like support to embed environmental wellbeing within your wider mission? With support from the National Church, we are producing a suite of resources to enable more rural churches to take action. We have also run a webinar on how to beat the rising energy costs, with some no-cost and low-cost top-tips. You can view the checklist of actions here and find out about the wider work the Diocese is doing to support rural mission.
Church of England Environment Programme
The national church has a huge range of resources, webinars, case studies, and guidance on its website, which the Diocese of Oxford is contributing to and supporting. You can sign up to the newsletter and join in some of their environment briefings by contacting us.
Schools, Children, and Young People
We have a dedicated page of school resources alongside resources on the Eco Hub.
How the diocese is taking action
The diocese is aiming to reach 'net zero' - the point at which we are no longer contributing to climate change. We've got two goals: the national Church of England 2030 net-zero carbon goals, which cover buildings and transport, and our wider diocesan goal of reaching net zero in full by 2035.
We also have a goal to become a Silver Eco Diocese by 2026, which will mean embedding holistic creation care across all our activities.
The diocese has taken a lead on calling for divestment and disinvesting from fossil fuels.
Church House Oxford is powered by renewable electricity, and we have a Staff Green Group always looking at ways of minimising our office environmental footprint, minimising waste, providing more recycling opportunities, increasing veggie or vegan menu options in the café, inviting colleagues to join in with climate campaigns such as as Great Big Green Week. We encourage more sustainable transport options, and all of our bishops drive electric or hybrid vehicles.