Environment News & Updates
February 2021 – Bronze Eco Church Awards
CONGRATULATIONS to St Mary Magdalene, Barkway (Michelle Marple, Churchwarden, pictured with Bronze Award Certificate) and St John’s, Harpenden (aeriel view photo courtesy of Henry Poppleton) on achieving their Bronze Eco church award this month, an important milestone on their journey to net zero as part of their Christian witness to God’s hope for the world.
Details of how parishes can enrol for this free scheme here: ECO CHURCH
Latest News – 19 February 2021
Environment News from Rachel – in full – HERE – items include:
- Lent Challenges – from The Green Anglican Network
- 40 Devotions on creation – ‘Planting seeds of hope‘
- Fairtrade Fortnight (22 Feb – 7 March 2021) – ‘Climate Fairtrade and You‘
- Survey (Tearfund and Youthscape) of teenagers on the climate crisis – ‘Burning down the house‘
- Archbishop Welby addresses international faith leaders on climate change
- Energy Footprint Tool – Parishes in St Albans Diocese can now enter their 2019 energy usage. Also Church Times article relates – see C of E’s Carbon Footprint
- Churches are encouraged to support the Climate Coalition Declaration – ‘The Time is Now‘
The attached list of videos (prepared January 2021), is offered here for your use.
- St Albans Cathedral Lent Course – ‘Treading Lightly on God’s Earth‘ . On-line course, exploring our relationship to the environment in the light of scripture, tradition, and the pressing needs of the climate crisis.
- Sarx (The Christian animal advocacy charity) Lent Course – ‘ 40 Days with God’s Creatures‘ – empowering Christians to champion the cause of animals and live peacefully with all God’s creatures.
- East and New Barnet Churches in partnership are organising a zoom Lent Study Course – ‘In the Beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth’ . It will be followed by a joint Sunday Service on 18 April 2021 on Creation Care. Contact Barnet Churches Admin for further details and zoom course link.
Latest News – January 2021
Latest Environment News from Rachel HERE – items include:
- St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Flitwick achieve their Bronze Eco Church Award
- Tree and hedge planting grants in central Bedfordshire. As a way of taking action on climate change, churches interested in planting trees and/or hedges can apply for a Community grant from Central Bedfordshire Council.
- ‘Show the Love’ Campaign 1 – 21 February 2021. Annual campaign to show love for the environment by speaking out for climate action – Show the Love 2021 Resources
- Climate Sunday 2020. Churches are encouraged to get involved in action on the environment in the months leading up to the climate conference in November, COP26 – Climate Sunday Resources
- First Steps for Churches towards Net Zero. A new checklist has been created to help churches work through the advice and guidance – ‘Practical Path to Net Zero‘, from the Church of England Environment team.
- Fairtrade Fortnight – 22 Feb – 7 March 2021 – ‘Choose the World You Want‘
- St Albans Cathedral Lent Course 2021 – ‘Treading Lightly on God’s Earth’ . On-line course, 24 Feb – 24 March, exploring our relationship to the environment in the light of scripture, tradition, and the pressing needs of the climate crisis. The Cathedral will publish further details of this course shortly.
Thinking Event – Tuesday 2 February 2021, 7.30pm
‘Hope in the Climate Crisis – A Revolution in Nuclear Energy’
Hosted by Marlborough Street Methodist Church, St Albans, this event is planned with Simon Johnson, a former nuclear physicist, who will be speaking on molten salt reactors, a new development using nuclear waste as fuel. Full details and link to attend in attached: A Revolution in Nuclear Energy 2-2-21
Update – December 2020
A packed Update from Rachel Johnston (our Diocesan Environment Officer) – in full HERE – items include:
- Church of England Webinars on getting to net zero carbon. A new programme of webinars which are intended to be ‘technical webinars for non-technical people’. You will see a couple of the webinar dates are past, but there are many opportunities in the first few months of next year.
- UK Soil – fighting biodiversity loss in our soil. The health of our soil is a serious concern. with dropping soil fertility and pollution affecting the incredible 25% of the world’s biodiversity that lives in soil. Taking action to protect soil will help to protect the quality of 95% of the world’s food supplies and contribute to action on climate change and biodiversity loss.
- Join the Make COP26 Count Programme. Be part of a cohort of UK churches supported to take action at a local and national level ahead of COP26, working with international partners.
- The Environment Bill & how churches can support this important legislation. The Environment Bill currently going through Parliament contains important regulations which will replace current EU protections for the environment from January 2021; summary prepared ‘Hope for the Future’. The lead Bishop on the environment, the Bishop of Salisbury, has approved a briefing for churches outlining the main arguments as they will be presented by the Bishops in the House of Lords.
- Churches working in partnership with Local Authorities. Churches hoping to develop partnerships with their local authorities may find the directory in the pdf useful when searching to find their local council’s climate plans.
- Green Homes Grant Scheme extended. The Government has announced that homeowners across England will have until the end of March 2022 to have energy efficiency upgrades to their homes completed through the Green Homes Grant Voucher Scheme, helping up to 600,000 households save up to £600 on their energy bills.
- Church of England Working Group supports Faiths Long Term Programme. Churches are encouraged to sign up for free webinars exploring an inter-faith approach to the ecological crisis and the impact of Covid-19, with the aim of inspiring a new wave of action involving over 70 of the world’s faith organisations. Link to find out more about this programme in the pdf.
- Volunteers sought to become Eco Church Champions. Our Diocese is hoping to support the growing number of churches registering for the Eco Church programme by forming a group of Eco Church champions. We need volunteers willing to help promote the Eco Church scheme throughout the Diocese next year. Training and input from A Rocha UK will be provided. Choose either Saturday morning 6th or 13th February 2021. More information will follow, but please reply to RACHEL, indicating your preferred dates.
October 2020 – St Albans becomes an Eco Diocese
Following important debate at Diocesan Synod on Saturday 17th October 2020, two key environment motions were passed overwhelmingly:
- Our Diocese will register to become an Eco Diocese and seek to achieve Bronze award level across its own operations by the end of 2022.
- A request will also be sent to General Synod to debate a motion requesting all dioceses to register as Eco Dioceses – an important step in working towards the Church of England’s target of achieving net zero by 2030.
Find out more here about the Eco Church and Eco Diocese programmes .
Also: Resources now available from the online Eco Church Conference, ‘Working Together to Net Zero’ (held Saturday 10 Oct 2020)
We were delighted at the response to the innovative online Eco Church Conference ‘Working Together to Net Zero’, hosted by our Diocese. Having sold out at 300 tickets, a further 7,447 participants joined the conference via the conference facebook page, from as far away as British Columbia, Uganda and Singapore. Although the event had originally been planned as a traditional conference based at All Saints’ Church, Leighton Buzzard, the move to an online-only format enabled us to reach a far wider audience. We also raised £2000 for A Rocha UK to support their environmental work, including the Eco church scheme.
We now have recordings of all the sessions and some inspiring videos forming a resource bank – you can access all this content either on the Eco Church webpage or on the conference facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ecochurchcon. We would like to keep the facebook page for as long as it is useful, as a means of exchanging ideas and encouragement for churches working on the Eco church programme. Please me send any photos, news or useful information that you would like to share: Email Rachel Johnston DEO
July 2020 – Resources for Outdoor Worship
A new website page has been launched by the Church of England to provide guidance and resources for developing Worship of all kinds Outdoors . Ranging from prayers, graces and meditations for individuals to resources for larger (socially distanced) gatherings, there is an impressive range of materials and examples from churches around the country to provide inspiration for worship (together with up-to-date information on the current situation regarding Covid19).
You can find:
- Resources for worship and prayer
- Forest church
- Resources linked to different times of year or special days
- Educational activities provided free on the websites of organisations connected with nature
- Resources for understanding the social and historical significance of churchyards and their memorials
‘If your church has resources or experience of worship outdoors to share, please email them to me – Rachel, Environment Officer – we may be able to include them on this website.’
Hope in Action – posted June 2020
Local Christians responding to the Climate Crisis. ‘Hope in Action’ exists to support the churches’ response to the climate and ecological crisis through networking and the provision of resources, news, useful information & suggestions for practical action.
Summer 2020 Environment Bulletin – Church of England Environment Programme
‘Whilst we are very conscious that dioceses, parishes and schools will have been focusing fully on the terrible impacts of the coronavirus crisis, we have seen environmental benefits. We have had the sharpest fall in carbon emissions and the most beautiful spring and early summer with much greater attention to birdsong, wildlife and the beauty of the earth. How will we hold on to those gains?’
Extract above from Summer Bulletin – available in full here: Summer 2020 Church of England Environment Programme
May 2020 – Eco Church
Eco Church is a new, web-based award scheme for churches in England and Wales who want to demonstrate that the gospel is good news for God’s earth. It is organised by A Rocha UK, a Christian charity working for the protection and restoration of the natural world, both as a response to the biblical mandate to care for the earth, and as a demonstration of the Christian hope for God’s world.
This scheme is designed to motivate and resource churches in establishing caring for God’s earth as an integral part of their everyday work and witness, working with their local communities to achieve a more sustainable future.
A webinar on Eco Church presented by A Rocha, was held on 7th May – presentation slides here: Eco Church Presentation
More information and resources can be found on the Eco Church website
May 2020 – Webinars from ‘Bats in Churches’
Every Wednesday this month
The last century saw a dramatic decline in bat populations, largely due to loss of habitat, and as a result bats are now protected by law. Churches are important roosting sites for bats and some have provided a safe haven from habitat loss for many generations.
A free on-line discussion series is offered by Bats in Churches :
- 6 May 1pm – ‘Britain’s Bat Story’
- 13 May 1pm – ‘England’s Church Buildings – Treasure Houses of History’
- 20 May 1pm – ‘Understanding Bats through their DNA’
- 27 May 1pm – ‘The Wonders of Church Wall Paintings’
Spring 2020 Environment Bulletin – Church of England Environment Programme
Following recent news of the Church of England’s ambitious target to achieve net zero by 2030, this Bulletin tells you more about action across the Church, as well as highlighting valuable resources.
Full Bulletin here: Spring 2020 Church of England Environment Programme
Count the cost of Carbons – Church Times March 2020:
This helpful article gives guidance on how churches can reduce their carbon footprint.
In introduction, the term ‘net zero’ is explained , as follows: ‘Our carbon footprint is the bundle of greenhouse gases — principally carbon dioxide — that we generate. For churches, this is mainly three things: (a) burning oil and gas for heating; (b) the fossil fuels burned in power stations to create our electricity; and (c) the petrol and diesel we use to travel around. These negatives need to be balanced out by positives, such as switching to renewable energy and planting trees’ – resulting in ‘net zero’.
Full article here: How to count the cost of Carbons
Lent Courses this year:
- #LiveLent: Care for God’s Creation is the Church of England’s Lent Campaign for 2020. With weekly themes shaped around the first Genesis account of creation, it offers 40 short reflections and explores the urgent need for humans to value and protect the abundance God has created.
- ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth’ is inspired by the opening chapter of Genesis, and focuses on theology, ecology and activism. This 5-week Lent Course is taking place in Barnet, with options of afternoon or evening sessions – full details in linked flyer.
February 2020: STOP PRESS e-newsletter from the Church of England Environment Programme
On 12 February 2020, General Synod passed a motion ‘recognising the climate emergency, calling on all parts of the Church to reduce their emissions year-on-year, aiming for a target of net zero by 2030 at the latest‘ – full newsletter here: Environment Bulletin Feb 2020
January 2020 – DEO News – 2020 Events & CofE target to ‘reach carbon neutral by 2045’
General Synod is to be asked to set a target date of 2045 for the Church of England to become carbon-neutral, at their meeting in February 2020. The motion will be moved by The Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, Bishop of Salisbury, when the Synod meets in London next month. Bishop Nicholas has pointed out that combating climate change is one of the five Anglican ‘marks of mission’. A new Energy Rating Tool will be launched for use by all parishes, anticipated in April, it is currently being trialed.
Church of England Environment Programme
– Winter 2019
The Bishop of Salisbury, The Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, Chair of the National Environment Working Group, writes:
“2020 is a critical year for gathering momentum on the climate and other ecological concerns, with a motion at General Synod, the Lent campaign, Lambeth2020, plus a strong faith voice at the COP26 international climate talks.”
Available here: Environment Programme Winter 2019 Newsletter