Church members and their national church organisations are seeking to protect God’s creation for future generations through both personal and political action. Two programmes, EcoChurch in England and Wales and the Big Church Switch have been established to provide help. Both schemes are celebrating their first anniversary in February.
One year ago EcoChurch in England and Wales was launched in St Paul’s Cathedral. Since then over 500 churches have registered on the EcoChurch website and many have completed the online survey to get an EcoChurch award http://ecochurch.arocha.org.uk/
Lyme Regis Baptist Church gained a Bronze Eco Church Award in February 2016. One of the things they did by way of working towards their Award was to switch to a renewable energy company to supply the electricity and gas used by the church. This has made a big difference to their carbon footprint! However, they also found that smaller things – like using eco-friendly cleaning products – really helped the church family to reflect on the importance of looking after the environment as an expression of their faith.
The Big Church Switch www.bigchurchswitch.org.uk enables churches to switch to a green electricity tariff. By combining purchasing power the Big Church Switch provides churches with an attractive rate and to date 700 churches have registered interest.
Among them is the oldest Methodist building in the world, The New Room in Bristol.
David Worthington, Manager of The New Room said: “We may be the oldest Methodist building in the world but that doesn’t mean we have to use the polluting energy of the past.
“We take seriously the impact we have on our neighbours, both locally and globally. Switching our energy provider to clean sources of power is a simple thing we can do to help the global transition to a low carbon world. If we in a building as old as ours can embrace the idea of renewable energy then anyone can.”
Ben Niblett of Tearfund explained “Switching is a great way for Christians to love our neighbours and show the government we want more action on climate change, like investment in clean, renewable energy.”
The UK Government acknowledges that there are currently insufficient policies in place to enable the UK to meet its existing carbon budgets. The Government plans make a major announcement on how we are to go about meeting our national carbon targets over the next 15 years. This will be outlined in the release of an emission reduction plan, expected in February or soon after. The Scottish Government has just released a plan to cut emissions by 66% by 2032. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-38666232.
- Join up with another member of your church to try out the online EcoChurch survey http://ecochurch.arocha.org.uk/ and see how you score!
- Bring the Big Church Switch to the attention of your minister/Church treasurer or other appropriate church members bigchurchswitch.org.uk. If you have not already done so consider switching your own domestic electricity supply obtaining quotes through the www.bigchurchswitch.org.ukwebsite.
Write to your MP to let them know of the actions that you or your church have taken and ask them to tell you how the forthcoming Government emissions reduction plan will achieve an urgent transition away from fossil fuels. For email/address details of your MP go to www.theyworkforyou.com