As Christians, we are called to be good stewards of the earth which God has entrusted to us. We are also called to love our neighbours; this includes our global neighbours who are feeling the effects of climate change first and worst; and our future neighbours, who will inherit this world from us.
These principles are summed up by the Anglican Church’s 5th ‘Mark of Mission‘- ‘To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth’.
As part of the national Church of England, the Diocese of Bath and Wells is committed to shrinking its own carbon footprint to Net Zero by 2030. In our Diocese we are working to encourage and equip churches and individual Christians to understand what this means and put it into practice in their worship, work and witness. We are doing this in various ways.
“Our care for the environment and for all that God has created is an obligation for us as Christians and part of our response to the gospel. What we now know about climate change and the impact we humans make on the world we live in, means that it is imperative that we take this responsibility seriously. The Earth is our home. It is beautiful beyond words. It is God’s gift to us and so we must take care of it.”
Bishop Peter Hancock, Bishop of Bath and Wells
Organising and promoting Eco Church conferences across the diocese – these day conferences include talks on science and theology of creation care, the science around what is happening, speakers from churches who have gained EcoChurch awards, and practical workshops on all aspects of becoming Eco Church – worship and teaching, buildings, land, community and global engagement, and lifestyle.
NB: While Covid restrictions remain, we will not be running any live Eco Church conferences in the Diocese. However, St Albans Diocese are holding their online Eco Church conference on Saturday 10th October to which all are invited – details and booking can be found at Eventbrite.
EcoChurch applications begin with a simple online survey found on the Arocha website– you’ll be encouraged by how much you can do quickly and simply to contribute to an award.
You can work out your church’s carbon footprint from energy using the Church of England’s Energy Footprinting Tool (part of the Parish Returns system). To calculate your church’s footprint in greater detail at 360 carbon.
You can see some great examples of churches working with Eco Church on the Church of England website, including our own Combe St Nicholas.
As the restrictions are gradually being lifted, many church congregations and local communities may be looking for opportunities to safely resume some activities. This might include making use, or more use, of your churchyard and outside areas in the parish. Find out more about how to organise outdoor worship.
Season of Creation
The Season of Creation is a time to renew our relationship with God and all creation by joining with our ecumenical family in prayer and action for our common home. It runs from 1st September to 4th October. This period, which includes the traditional Harvest season, is increasingly being used by churches around the world to focus on caring for creation, highlighting the environmental challenges we face and how the church can respond. There are many great online resources for celebration, prayer, reflection and action. These include:
• The Church of England – a wide range of resources themed around ‘Jubilee for the Earth’.
• Season of Creation webpage – excellent international, ecumenical resources plus information on how to sign up and participate
• Eco Church Southwest website. Eco Church Southwest sends daily emails during Creationtide you can sign up to receive them
• Climate Sunday is an ecumenical initiative encouraging churches to hold a ‘Climate Sunday’ service in the coming year, building momentum before the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow, now scheduled for November 2021.
• A new album of worship songs created by Resound Worship. Contemporary, congregational worship songs on themes of creation, ecology and Christian hope. You can download the words to the all the songs at the bottom of this page.
Promoting Creation Care
Our Sixth Form Climate Conference at Wells Cathedral is once such example. Find out more about the conference. The Winter 2020 issue of Manna is focused on caring for creation and contains lots of inspiring stories and useful information. Find a copy at your church or read it on line.
Leading by example
We are committed to becoming an Eco Diocese and are members of Eco Church South West.
Keeping you up to date
Providing updates on environmental initiatives across the diocese though our creation care mailing list, Facebook page and Twitter feed. We also have a dedicated Environmental Group on Facebook which you can join to keep up to date with all environmental matters in the diocese. You can also join our
Producing resources to support parishes in embedding creation care in their life and work, for example Living Well Lent, a series of biblical reflections, prayers, videos and challenges for adults, families and schools during Lent 2019.
If you would like to know more or sign up to our mailing list, contact one of the team.