Environmental action

Bishop Gavin talks happily to two farmers in a field of tall grass

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, and we’re investing over £200,000 over seven years on a carbon footprint reduction programme across our church buildings.

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 of videos from Bishop Olivia on why we should care for creation at all levels in the Church.

Stories

Why Eco Church? A story from Penny Brassell, St Michael's Blewbury

"Why should we act? Because it is a climate emergency. Some folks have been saying this for decades, but if I’m honest, I am only recently and gradually understanding this and that I have a part to play. It has been helpful for me to listen to other Church members  explaining things from a scientific perspective… but I also realise that it is the right thing to do as a Christian.

To date, for me, my faith has been about relationships with one another and our relationship with God. However, I am now realising it is also about our relationship with our planet, and now that I see this, I find it everywhere in scripture. God gifted us this world but tasked us to take care of it.

So, what do we do? A friend said something to me a couple of years ago that I found helpful: ‘Sometimes we feel like we can’t make a difference; we don’t know what to do. It is too big, too hard. But if we can show as a Church and as Christians that we care and we are trying, that can’t be a bad thing.’

This is why I support the Eco Church scheme. It gives us a structure to guide us, areas to work towards and focus on, and something that acknowledges and demonstrates our progress. The scheme is divided into five areas:

  • Worship and teaching
  • Lifestyle
  • Buildings
  • Land
  • Global and community engagement

Each area has up to 30 questions. Overall, the answers which we can currently give make us eligible for a Bronze Award, but we are already at Gold level in two areas. Therefore I am proposing to our PCC that we submit our application, and we get our certificate which we can display in Church to show our community that we care and that we are doing something about this important topic."

Find out more about Eco Church and how to take part

 

Getting Involved - For Churches

Churches Count on Nature: 4-12 June.

Churches Count on Nature is a wonderful opportunity to spend time in your churchyard, exploring nature and wildlife, while helping to create a national biodiversity record. This year, why not participate in a churchyard scavenger hunt? Anyone of any age can take part, and here are some resources to help.

Churchyard Scavenger Hunt activity sheet

Guidance on identifying different wildlife and species

Upload your findings through the iNaturalist app or send them in to the Environment team with some photos so that we can tell the story of wildlife across the Diocese. You can also register your activity on the Churches Count on Nature site. 

If you want to learn more about how to record species, bats, growing food, faith in trees and more, then sign up to these webinars by the Church of England

 

 

For individuals

Looking After the Earth Eco Conference: run by St Lawrence's Church on 18th June, hear from speakers such as Helen Stephens (Eco Church), Dr. Mike Morecroft (Natural England), Bishop Olivia, Rev. Margot Hodson and more about how churches and individuals can address the climate change. 

 

Taking the Next Step

Eco Church: We would like to encourage all churches to register with A Rocha UK’s Eco Church scheme. It's a great way to engage your whole congregation in care for creation. ​​​​​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.

Free green advice: the Diocese can offer tailored green advice on how to help your church reduce their environmental footprint and save money on energy bills through an 'energy audit'. Plus you receive a grant to fund improvements once the audit has been completed. It's the perfect way to get started.

 

Resources, Guidance and Information

EcoHub

The EcoHub is your one-stop shop for information, practical advice and theological reflection on how we can best care for God’s creation. Each zone walks you through a different stage of climate action - or you can browse all of the resources to find exactly what you're looking for.

Visit the EcoHub now.

Greenshoots Network - learn from like-minded Christians

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 usWe have monthly online get togethers and occasional in person gatherings. 

Read the latest newsletter issues

Subscribe to our Care for Creation newsletter

We join in on the @oxforddiocese Twitter feed with #GreenMonday tweets, and there's also a Care for Creation Facebook group. If you need advice or have questions, get in touch with our team.

 

How the Diocese is taking action

Our goals

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.

How you can help

The first step is to stand up and be counted! We need your church to help by completing the Energy Footprint Tool on the C of E Parish Returns website. If you can't access this, please use the Word form instead. If you can't answer all the questions, don't worry just do those you can. The most helpful for us are the energy bill details, the hours of use for the building/s and the travel expenses claims. Thank you!

What we're doing at Church House

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.

 


 

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Page last updated: 20th May 2022 4:09 PM