We are called as Christians to thoughtfully and carefully manage (steward) the whole of God’s creation. As part of this call, we must protect nature and the natural resources we depend upon from damage and abuse and promote social equity by sharing of God’s loving provision for us both now, and for future generations.
Below are links to resources to help you respond to God’s call and help you deepen your connection to creation and Our Creator:
- The Church of England’s Environment Programme: discover the heart of all that we do for the environment and how God calls us to take greater care of our world.
- The 5th Mark of Mission
- A brief introduction to the call from Archbishop Justin Welby
What Can You Do?
Moving towards a sustainable and carbon-neutral building requires us to reframe their use and maintenance. For inspiration and encouragement in where to begin, browse through these case-studies from Eco Church South West.
Reordering and maintenance of churches whilst maintaining and preserving their fabric in line with heritage requirements and local planning can be a daunting task. Each church will face different challenges based upon age, listing status and individual circumstances. However, we have provided some guidance links below to help you, your PCC and your community to access relevant and up-to-date information on the permissions process and how to begin your sustainable project:
- Church of England Roof Guidance
- Church of England Faculty Guidance
- Bath & Wells Diocesan Advisory Committee
Improving, upgrading or repairing lighting can significantly reduce your churches carbon footprint and potentially save you money. It can require Faculty permission and must be carefully considered to be sensitive to the heritage of your building. The following links contain current advice on sustainable and practical lighting projects:
Green Journey provide energy audits and advice for churches on potential savings. Visit the Green Journey website or call 03330 067117.
Heating your building can be a complex task, especially when trying to keep your congregation warm in an old building! Below are links to current advice for consideration as you begin exploring sustainable heating:
*Forward thinking- new guidance is coming to reflect the new Net Zero 2030 target agreed by Synod in February 2020 so please bear in mind future recommendations will favour low carbon and renewable solutions wherever possible.
Switching to a renewable energy provider is an easy win for carbon footprint reduction and more and more churches are finding ways to install renewable energy technology on and in their buildings. Here are links to aid discussions around whether or not renewables are an option for your church and links to renewable suppliers and energy basket schemes:
Are there gaps in and around the windows and doors? Are there cracked or broken windows? Small gaps can be filled with black plasticine, under-door gaps can be fitted with a draft excluder.
- Are lights and appliances being left on? Can you provide some polite reminders above switches to encourage people to turn them off?
- Are you using a 100% renewable energy supplier?
- Are you maintaining your gutters?
- Are there any bulbs you can easily change to LED?
- Are your boiler pipes insulated?
- Do you have any dripping taps?
- Has the boiler been serviced lately?
Note, you must contact the DAC and a professional electrician/gas contractor before commencing work that may require permission or a registered technician.
Our churchyards (and even buildings!) are safe-havens for a wealth of species, sometimes rare and protected species. If you are lucky enough to have a church yard or glebe land, below are links to offer advice on how to encourage and protect biodiversity and how to discover what your acres are home to:
Sustainable Projects Advice
Becoming sustainable is a process over time. Incorporating sustainability in your projects from the start is an excellent foundation. Here’s where to look if you’re just beginning:
Eco Church/Eco Church South West
Is your church eco-friendly? Do you want to take practical steps to reduce your impact on Creation? If so, Eco Church is for you! By registering and taking their survey you can easily see how sustainable your church is now in 5 areas- worship, buildings, lifestyle, land and community engagement. You can then discover how to improve these areas and gain Eco Church accreditation, receiving an eye-catching plaque made from recycled church pews to celebrate your achievement!
As Christians, our life choices are direct responses to God’s call to us to steward the resources He has given us but becoming sustainable doesn’t happen over-night! Here are some simple steps that are ‘easy wins’ to reduce your carbon footprint and reduce waste and energy, alongside some which require a bit more dedication and prayer:
10 Pledges for Creation
Use this list as a simple, printable resource to get individuals/house groups/church communities to begin discussing their options and commitments to being carbon-neutral:
- I pledge to have at least one ‘meat free’ day per week.
- I pledge to switch to green energy.
- I pledge to switch off lights and appliances when not in use.
- I pledge to offset my carbon emissions.
- I pledge to reduce my car travel.
- I pledge to recycle more.
- I pledge to encourage my friends and family to reduce their carbon footprint too.
- I pledge to seek out and use local producers and suppliers to reduce my food miles.
- I pledge to write to my MP to encourage them to support climate change mitigation.
- I pledge to eat more seasonal foods.
Become an ‘Environmental Champion’
If you are interested in becoming an environmental champion for your church please complete the form below.
Events and training
Keep an eye on our events calendar for the latest environment related events and training. While we are limited by the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, some events and training have moved on line.
Prayer and Praise Creation Resources
Sharing God’s call with our neighbour and our congregation is an important step in sustainability and so is praise and prayer! There are specific times within the churches year that remind us to do this (Creationtide and Harvest) but we can give thanks for Gods provision and pray for those who already suffer the effects of climate change and injustice throughout our daily lives. Here are some links for both times: