We are living in times when there are significant challenges that society needs to negotiate in terms of caring for natural resources. The thriving of creation is both important for its own sake, and deeply interconnected with the physical and spiritual wellbeing of all people.
As a Diocese we have made a commitment to be carbon neutral by 2030, agreed by Diocesan synod in 2020 and in line with the national Church of England commitment. We are also working on broader environmental commitments through the EcoChurch Award scheme. We were awarded our Bronze Eco-Diocese award in February 2021 and are now working towards Silver.
The EcoChurch Award scheme
The EcoChurch Award scheme is a significant tool to keep us focussed, as we seek to live more sustainably as part of God’s creation, and work towards our goal to become carbon neutral by 2030.
We are committed to caring for the environment and supporting the work of local and national environmental organisations, and working in partnership with other organisations where our values and priorities coincide.
Get involved: Resources and downloads
A significant resource in our environmental work is the Eco-Church award scheme which we are supporting and promoting as an Eco Diocese. Through a straightforward online system churches can sign up to work towards a bronze, silver or gold award. An award is granted when a church meets certain requirements for demonstrating care for the environment, parish and community. To gain an award, a church will needing to be considering environmental matters under the following headings:
- worship and teaching
- community and global
Once registered, do check out the resources section of the website here: https://ecochurch.arocha.org.uk/resources/
It is important that the Environment is included in our worship and teaching so that Christians are supported to grow in understanding of this as a deeply biblical concern.
Many churches have a focus on the Environment during Creationtide which runs from the Orthodox New Year on 1st September until St Francis Day on Thursday 4 October. This includes Harvest festivals but can also be a full month of environment themed worship or special events that include the wider community.
Find out more about Creationtide
This link contains resources for Climate Sunday
Resources for the Agricultural Year – often contain environmental themes.
Worship outdoors – is growing in popularity, whether using the term Forest Church, or others similar (Muddy Church, Outdoor Church, Wild Church…) resources for churches wanting to explore outdoor worship.
Many churches are responsible for some land, often but not always a churchyard. Choices can be made about management of the land that encourage wildlife and biodiversity, balancing this with existing uses of the space.
Resources here will also be useful under the Community and Global heading of Ecochurch, for those churches working with the wider community on wildlife friendly management of community green spaces.
Do check out whether there are any churchyard regulations relating to changes you are planning: churchyard regulations
Caring for God’s Acres are a dedicated charity focussed on managing churchyards for wildlife:
Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust have some great resources for wildlife gardening, many of which are applicable to churchyards as much as gardens:
For those churchyards with ancient trees to manage, this is a good source of information:
Our Diocese has small grants of £250 available to churches for wildlife friendly management of churchyards and wildlife gardens:
Our buildings team are committed to supporting churches to make sustainable choices for their buildings. Keeping church buildings in good repair reduces energy consumption. The 2020 Environmental Policy is available on the DAC web page.DAC recommend:
Arthur Rank Centre: sustainability resources
National CofE: Energy Efficiency Guide
Faith in Maintenance calendar
For Creed and Creation – a booklet giving practical advice on how to make environmental improvements to the church building. From simple, small scale projects to major schemes, indicating the cost, time and people power required.
Webinars on carbon net zero – these are offered by the National CofE as a result of the General Synod aim to achieve carbon net zero by 2030. The energy footprint tool (EFT) is important for keeping track of progress towards carbon net zero. Green Energy deals – these are available to churches seeking good options with a green energy provider.
Our responsibility as Christians is wider than just the buildings and land we have direct responsibility for, but also extends to how we live with wider community, in the national and global context.
EcoChurch resources include engaging with local sustainability groups and writing to an MP.
Christian Climate Action
~ involved in political campaigning
Gloucestershire Churches Environmental Justice Network has posts relevant to many of the questions in this section
International Christian Charities also have helpful resources. Sadly the impact of climate change is felt most profoundly by the global poor.
Eco Church encourages us to challenge each other on sustainable choices in daily life as well as what we do together as the Church.
EcoChurch have a variety of resources covering concerns such as travel, food, energy and waste.
Local church environment policy action plan (Word doc)
Environment Policy 2021 (minor amendments to be ratified by Diocesan Synod) (updated annually)
Environment roundup – stories of working to protect our environment
Outdoor worship resource list
Operation Noah Lecture 2/3/13
Forest Church booklet
Green Christian (Cheltenham)
Environmental Engagement Officer – The Revd Cate Williams
Diocesan Environment Advisor – The Revd Arthur Champion
Parish environmental projects:
Young Christian Climate Network
A Rocha church eco scheme
‘Shrinking the Footprint’
Churchyards (making the most of and looking after)
Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust
Green Christian (National)
John Ray Initiative
Eco Church South West (Dioceses, CofE)
Our Vision seeks engagement to live out Christ’s love and hope by: “Being advocates for human flourishing, through initiatives which combat injustice, environmental destruction, exclusion and isolation.”