Carry out a check-up for the church: how well are we doing already on environmental issues in the way that we run our church? It also provides ideas for what the church could be doing (download it from the website www.ecocongregation.org Module 1 from the Free resources section).
Develop an action plan, based on the outcome of the church check-up. Make sure you address these three main areas of church life
- Spiritual (worship, theology, children and young people’s work, house groups)
- Practical things (church buildings, land and management)
- Reaching out (to the local and/or global community)
Resources to help you are available from the website (visit www.ecocongregation.org and click on Free Resources) which are designed to fit in with the areas outlined above.
- Apply for the Award! This is given to churches which have made significant progress in weaving creation care into every aspect of their life, ministry and witness.
What could your church do?
Selly Oak Methodist Church…
- Changed the heating system to become more efficient
- Replaced lightbulbs to low energy, thus saving tonnes of carbon dioxide, and money!
- Installed a ‘Green Machine’ recycling facility in their foyer, and have regular ‘green tips’ in the church magazine to encourage individuals to make lifestyle choices which care for, rather than destroy, the planet
- Are getting back to clothes recycling by holding nearly new sales
- Are getting information about public transport out to local students
- Put in a cycle rack
- Have a parking space for their local car share club
- Get your church involved with Operation Noah (www.operationnoah.org): get to grips with climate change, and inform people how to become more energy efficient.
- Convert to green energy (electricity from renewables).
- Reduce the number of cars in the congregation by sharing them (www.carplus.co.uk).
- Set up a lunch club for those at home during the day, using local produce. This might provide employment, give a regular outlet for local/regional farmers, reduce food miles, give people access to healthy food for those who might not be able to afford it otherwise, and might build community as people get to know each other!
- How about setting up a co-operative giving people access to local fresh vegetables and fruit, and wholefood, rather than people having to rely on supermarkets and food miles.
- Invest in the planet, and change your lightbulbs to low energy ones – it will save you time and money, and you won’t have to replace those really awkward ones in the church for years and years!
- Get others using your church building!
- Could your church grounds be looked after in a way which encourages bio-diversity, and also provide a resource for local schools?
Why should we look after the planet?
Ideas to get you thinking…
We worship the Creator, who has given us the Creation. To abuse the Creation through our lifestyle has been described by some as blasphemy: Colossians 1 v16 “For in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible......... all things have been created through him and for him”. If all things were made FOR him, then, as Bishop James Jones points out, to assume that creation exists for us and so to put our own desires and lifestyle demands foremost is to blaspheme, to deny that Christ is, in fact, at the centre of creation.
We pray in the Lord’s Prayer for God’s will to be done on earth…. If God as Creator made a place bursting with biodiversity, with enough resources for everyone’s need, but not everyone’s greed, then to live in a way which reduces biodiversity, which destroys habitats and where poor people suffer disproportionately from environmental crises, then we are not living out the answer to our own prayer.
Limits to lifestyle were built into the framework for living that God set out for the people of God (see Leviticus). The land, and people and animals were not to be exploited limitlessly, but there was to be a voluntary choice to limit the demands made upon the creation. They called it the Sabbath, and the Jubilee. There were limits to consumption even in the Garden of Eden!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Contact the project co-ordinator for further details, or download the churches’ environmental check up (module 1) or the other resources (under Free Resources from the eco-congregations website: www.ecocongregation.org) and get going!
The Arthur Rank Centre
Warwickshire CV8 2LZ
Tel: 024 7669 2491
eco-congregation is a project of A Rocha UK