Make COP Count at St Edburg’s, Bicester

In November 2021, the UK will host COP26 – the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties. Taking place in Glasgow, the summit brings together parties with the aim of enabling the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

In the run up to this milestone event, many churches across the UK are committing to Make COP Count. We spoke to Colin Cockshaw, a licensed lay minister at St Edburg’s, Bicester, to see what they’re doing to make COP count.

Make COP26 Count

We began to explore how we, as a congregation, should engage with the challenge of climate change in September 2020, when we invited a speaker from A Rocha. He introduced us to Eco Church and alerted us to COP26 and the Make COP Count programme.

We quickly signed up to Eco Church and established a group to carry out the survey and progress towards an award. We are still engaged in this.

In November, a study group called Cherishing Creation was formed to briefly consider the major environmental issues affecting the future of our planet (including climate change) from a Christian perspective and help to focus our thinking.

In January, we signed up to the Make COP Count programme, and we recently completed an action plan for the next six months. The latter will not only provide for action within the church community, it will include opportunities for engaging with other churches, as well as the wider community of Bicester and local authorities. Make COP Count has become the main focus of the Eco Group’s work for the remainder of this year, although we continue to work towards completion of the Eco Church survey and aim to be seeking at least a bronze award by the end of the summer.

The PCC has given strong support to the Eco Group’s programme and has agreed 5 September shall be Climate Sunday at St Edburg’s.

Along the way, the group will be alerting the congregation to COP26 and to our plans and seeking to engage the congregation more deeply in prayer and action as we emerge from lockdown.

Colin Cockshaw

21 February 2021

Learn more about the Make COP Count programme.