Making a Bigger Difference

Making a bigger difference in the world

The need for social justice is as great as it has ever been. It is key to addressing the inequalities arising from austerity and the shrinking of the welfare state, and it is at the heart of tackling the environmental crisis.

God is already at work through more than a thousand churches and chaplaincies and schools in this diocese and also through each of us as individual disciples. From foodbanks to the Eco Church movement and our successful campaign for fossil fuel divestment, much is already being done to respond to the injustices of poverty and inequality.

This focus area is about better using our God-given talents and resources for the common good by engaging with our communities and challenging the unjust structures that exclude and keep people poor. We are seeking a step change in social action and social justice during the next five years, click a [+] icon below to find out more about just three of these areas, or scroll down the page for a video case study.

We are investing over £200,000 during the next seven years on a carbon footprint reduction programme across our church buildings. Find out how your church can get involved

  • We will work to see the 5th mark of mission (to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth) fully embodied in Christ’s Church.
  • We are in a strategic partnership with Citizens UK; investing £150,000 in community organising over the next five years to establish three civil society alliances
  • We want to support other forms of community engagement and social action through local initiatives led by churches elsewhere in the diocese. We will set up a training programme to share the methodology and tools of community organising to achieve this.
  • In 2018 a Diocese of Oxford motion at General Synod resulted in the Church Commissioners agreeing to disinvest by 2023 from fossil fuel companies not aligned with the Paris Agreement.
  • In 2020 we are exploring whether it is possible to use our land, buildings and other resources across the diocese more than we already do for social investment – using our resources better for the common good while seeking to maintain the value of our assets.

In 2020…

In January 2020 the Diocese launched a major new climate change task force under the leadership of Bishop Olivia. The task force includes specialists on climate change as well as key stakeholders from across the diocese. The group is embarking on an intensive programme of work that will help us arrive at what we can all do at a national, diocesan, parish and individual level to address the climate emergency. Look out for further information on this page following the March 2020 Diocesan Synod and updates throughout the year as this important stream of work progresses.

Local case study: parish energy audits

So how can this focus area inform mission and ministry at a local level? Energy efficiency can enable our churches to provide attractive places of sanctuary, fellowship and communion – with a comfortable level of warmth and illumination – at a lower cost to the planet, and sometimes with financial savings as well. One significant barrier for churches, however, is knowing what positive actions they can undertake. PCCs can now obtain and begin to act on expert advice in this area with energy audits carried out by professionals with experience of historic places of worship.

The energy audit looks at a range of energy uses in the church building, from lighting to heating, and recommends the energy and carbon reduction measures available. These can include simple changes that will cost nothing – such as setting adjustments and changing practices – as well as options for renewable technologies, better controls, or changes in equipment.

This short film tells the story of how one church in Wokingham has benefited from this approach.

What you can do