Why the environment?
The Diocese of Oxford believes the church has a biblical basis for caring for the earth which God made for His glory and His people’s enjoyment. Climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing the earth and its people today, and will impact on every aspect of human life and the natural environment. The church must take this challenge seriously, and so we are working with groups, organisations and local authorities across the diocese, and encouraging and resourcing churches in the diocese to care for creation and respond locally to the global climate crisis.
“For the Church of the 21st Century, good ecology is not an optional extra but a matter of justice. It is therefore central to what it means to be a Christian.”
Former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams
What we do
Bishop Steven has called us to be a Christlike church: contemplative, compassionate and courageous.
Scripture tells us that Christ is the Word through Whom all things were made – and in Whom all things in heaven and on earth are reconciled. That ‘all things’ includes both people and the non-human creation. And it is part of our calling as Christians to seek to live out Christ’s reconciling mission both with respect to our fellow humans and with respect to the earth we all inhabit.
We therefore seek to see the integration of an active concern for the environment and climate change into the life and mission of the whole diocese and its churches, and, thereby, affirm our commitment to the Fifth Mark of Mission: ‘To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth’*.
There is no one-size fits all response, and so we want to provide a range of ideas, stories and resources that will spark and resource reflection and action.
We aim to help churches in the diocese to engage with climate change and environmental issues, and explore the environment as a key component of their mission.
We do this by resourcing groups and churches to develop their response to the climate crisis, and help connect them with others to share learning and understanding.
We are also working as an ‘organisation’ to do all we can as a diocese to reduce our impact on climate change, through, for example, work-styles and diocesan buildings.
The Earthing Faith network is a key way the diocese resources and encourages churches and individuals. The network has been established to help the sharing of ideas and experiences around the environment, and help us to be creative and collaborative in our engagement with the earth.
The network is resourced both online and through physical gatherings:
- Online via the Earthing Faith website and blog, where you can share ideas, case studies and resources, as well as connect with others in the network using Twitter and Facebook.
- Physical gatherings of the network take place three times a year and help people share experiences, reflect on environmental issues, explore spiritual practices and resources, and hear from guest speakers and environmental projects from across the diocese and beyond.
Anyone can join the network by simply signing up to the e-mailing list – you will then stay up to date with news, resources and events via email.
The network is open to anyone, but is aimed at individuals and churches in the Diocese of Oxford, which covers the counties of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire – and as a result content and events will be biased towards those areas.
Staff & Support
The term ‘environment’ covers a vast range of issues, and as a result includes many areas of the work and life of the diocese, which can be covered by a number of different people within the diocese, whose roles are not specifically ‘environmental’. At present, staff working on the environment include members of the Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC), Education Department, and Department of Mission.