Issue 35 | January 2021
God's Green Fingers Environment E-news
Happy New Year, or should that be Happy New Lockdown! 2021 starts with significant challenges, however, there are beacons of hope ahead. On the environmental front there are the COP26 international climate change talks to be held in Glasgow in November and closer to home a Zero Carbon Diocese strategy to be considered by Synod in June.
One way or another it’s going to be a big year for the environment and every church can and should revaluate how we can make an impact to care for God’s creation. In this edition of God’s Green Fingers you will find a special section on the resources and training available to support you and your church in what has been described as “the single biggest Kingdom issue of our time”.

You will also find inspiring stories from churches in the area who despite the pandemic are faithfully being good news for people and planet. 

God bless

Jemima Parker,
Diocesan Environment Officer
New Grant Means Renewable Energy is Go
Renewable energy is go at some of our countryside churches, thanks to a new grant. The United Benefice of Bishop Thornton, Burnt Yates, Markington, Ripley, and South Stainley, in partnership with Markington CE Primary and Nursery School, has been awarded a grant of some £40,000 from the Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF). The project will provide useful learning points for churches across the diocese. 

After concerns from young people about the local environment, and with funds from Inner South Community Committee, a team form St Luke’s set about developing some community veg beds and flower gardens. Despite the restrictions of lockdown hampering their plans, they managed a beautiful display. 

Congratulation to St Mary the Virgin in Ingleton, at the heart of the Yorkshire Dales, who have picked up a Silver Eco Church Award. They have been caring for God’s creation over many years, achieving Eco-Congregation awards in 2011 and 2014, and after the scheme was transformed into Eco Church they attained a Bronze award 2017. “It’s all about getting people involved in taking the environment seriously” says Andy Ive, Parish Environment Officer.

Richard Taylor Primary School, Harrogate, have been acting on the children’s concerns about climate breakdown and loss of nature. Working with partner organisations in the community, they have taken a wide range of actions including developed a wildlife area in playground and recycling their school’s food waste. Watch the pupils tell their story in this Tedx Global Youth Countdown video (from 1.21) here.
Bishop Helen-Ann, Bishop of Ripon, has made a short video to mark this important event in the Church and agricultural year. In her address she quotes Wendell Berry, writer, farmer and environmentalist, speaking of how connecting with the land, God’s creation can help us in difficult times. 

Hosted on Facebook, this group has been created to offer a safe space to share tips, good news and ideas for you and your church to care for creation. With nearly 200 members this community is a vibrant group with posts about everything form Sunday Worship to wild flowers and local eco issues. Read more about all the diocesan Facebook communities here or watch a short video here
Leeds Church Institute is to host the launch of Rob Kelsey's new book, Praying for the Earth: Remembering the Environment in our Prayers of Intercession. The book is a welcome resource for all who wish to make praying for environmental concerns an integral part of our public and private worship. 

The Archbishop of Canterbury has launched a Lambeth Conference Prayer Journey, a weekly cycle of prayers led by the global Anglican Communion to pray for hope, justice and transformation in our world. The Environment is one of the weekly themes, Hope for the Planet – which features on Thursdays of each week. 

Hereford Cathedral is the recipient of its Eco Church scheme’s 1,000th award for creation care. The A Rocha UK scheme, which was launched in 2016, presented its first award – a Bronze level award to St Paul’s Cathedral in January 2016. Since then and even throughout the Covid pandemic, Eco Church has continued to receive award applications and offer practical guidance to an increasing number of churches opting to care for God’s earth. 

New Tools and Training for a Big Year of Climate Action
Clergy across the country will be receiving a letter from the C of Environmental Programme encouraging them to hold one climate-focused service before November, when the COP26 international climate change talks will take place in Glasgow. The significance of holding God’s creation in pray in this way is not to be underestimated. 

Developed by a group from Leeds Diocese in collaboration with Tearfund, this new resource will guide your church or Christian organisation through simple but powerful actions that have an impact far beyond your own walls or community. Details here.

You are invited to attend the Leeds launch of the Climate Emergency Toolkit on 5th February here
St Oswald’s Guiseley and St Matthias, Burley have signed up to the Make COP Count programme run jointly by USPG and Hope for the Future. The initiative supports churches to act for climate justice by having a climate service, taking practical action and engaging in political advocacy.

The climate crisis is being put at the heart of plans from St George’s Leeds for this year, with a new series of training events launching this month. The free programme of virtual sessions aims to help take individuals and churches on a journey of learning, prayer and action, preparing people to confront the climate crisis head on.  

The Creation Care scheme aims to lead households step by step to make changes to care for God’s earth. It covers seven areas of household activity from food and travel to gardening and possessions. As with the Eco Church Award Scheme you are lead through a questionnaire picking up points for eco actions and working towards a bronze, silver or gold award for your home. Could your congregation participate?   

Online Events

If you have questions and want support taking creation care forward in your church, these drop-in sessions are for you. Simply join the Zoom call. Starting 19th January.

9 February 7.15pm. A bi-monthly Environmental Book Club where we can read and explore eco fiction and works of environmental non-fiction and their relationship with Christianity in a world which recognises the interconnected nature of God and the world in which we live. 

This series of webinars is designed to support and equip you to reach the Church’s ambitious "net zero carbon" emissions target. Forming your Team, Action Planning, A positive vision of a zero carbon church, Defining and measuring net zero - choose as many topics as you need to help you on this decade-long journey.


Offers liturgies for all times and occasions when there is a focus on creation - in daily prayer, services of the word, school assemblies, eucharistic celebrations and seasonal services to mark the agricultural year.

New worship songs bringing creation care theology into our contemporary sung worship. Plus study guide and service plans.

A Theological Response to the Ecological Crisis: Reflections, Liturgy, Reviews, Comment. Weekly sermon ideas are perfect for preaching through the Lectionary.

Funding Sources
Need funding for an environmental/renewables project?

Read more on the Environment Funding page of the diocesan website here including a list of possible grant funding sources.
Magazine Magic
Ready to Print Magazine Article

Zero Carbon Church: You Must be Joking!
Jemima Parker, Environment Officer for the Diocese of Leeds discusses how some of our churches could be carbon neutral this year.  

Download the article here
Eco Top Tips

Find a weekly top tip here for your parish newsletter:

Or watch the 10 Pledges carbon reduction video here
Parish Environment Reps

Are you the environmental enthusiast in your church or do you know the person who is? We are seeking a Rep in each parish to receive information and take up training opportunities.

Area Environment Champions

Seeking enthusiastic volunteers for Huddersfield and Wakefield Areas to support local churches in their care for creation. 

Comedy Corner
If we don’t laugh we’ll cry: helping you through the grief of ecocide...

Q: What do call it when your child teaches you something about the environment?

A: Instant Greta-fication.
Please join our discussion group on Facebook by following the below link!