New Year’s resolutions to help the planet

At St Mary’s, Wendover in Buckinghamshire, churchgoers are setting planet saving New Year’s resolutions to help change lifestyle choices into everyday good habits.

St Mary’s Church, which has been part of the A Rocha Eco Church scheme since early 2020, is just about to achieve the Bronze Award. The environment leads at the church, Paul Moring and David Blackmore identified that St Mary’s was meeting many of the award requirements in the key areas of worship and teaching, buildings, land, and community and global engagement but needed to boost the congregational efforts in the lifestyle focus area so set out to do just this through New Year’s resolutions.

St Mary's Wendover churchyard with young girl carrying sticks across the grass

Members of the St Mary’s congregation are setting resolutions and pledges for 2022 to live more consciously and sustainably. Using the enthusiasm of the congregation for the environment in the run up to and during COP26, they are being encouraged to walk or cycle to church, commit to buying more locally sourced, organically produced and fairly traded produce, switching to renewable energy suppliers and switching their investments to more ethical sources.

David describes how climate action is part of the Christian faith:

“Care for the world around us and for the wider world too is very important, each of us has a responsibility to care for one another and the environment God has gifted to us. At St Mary’s we have a long history of caring for the world and supporting our neighbours far away who often experience some of the worst impacts of climate change.

“We hope that by setting individual lifestyle resolutions and pledges for 2022 and sharing these with one another to make us more accountable, the congregation and the church can continue to progress towards being more sustainable and act as positive example to our community.”

St Mary’s works closely with the local community on a range of environmental projects including many hosted in the churchyard. Paul Moring shares some of the activities they have been part of:

“We have made really great progress in terms of teaching and worship on the environment and creation care through the four eco themed services we held last year as well as the practical changes we have made to the church building including underfloor heating.

“We wanted to ensure that our environment action as a church was also very community focused not just church building focused. Working with local people and Climate Action Wendover we have planted over 500 tree saplings, installed bug hotels, owl and bat boxes in the churchyard, introduced wildflower and rewilded areas of the churchyard and hosted Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust nature walks.”

Paul Moring standing speaking to a group of visitors including the Bishop of Oxford at St Mary's Wendover

A key priority for the Diocese of Oxford 

Responding to the climate crisis is a key priority for the Diocese of Oxford and one of the five focus areas of our common vision for a more Christ-like Church. Diocesan Synod declared a climate emergency in March 2020, and we completed divestment from fossil fuels last year.

The Diocesan Environment Task Group, led by Bishop Olivia, is working to help churches plan action, prayer and advocacy at every level to play their part in tackling climate change. Read more about the diocesan commitment on the environmental action page.

This interactive map  shows all of the churches registered with the A Rocha Scheme in the diocese. If your church is part of the scheme but not marked on the map, please let us know: environment@oxford.anglican.org