Issue 38 | July 2021
God's Green Fingers Environment E-news
Hello,

Welcome to the summer edition of God’s Green Fingers. As Western Canada and the USA suffer searing heat that would not have been possible without human induced climate change things are hotting up as the COP26 international climate change talks in November draw closer.
 
Check out the ready to print parish magazine article about why as people of faith we should care about COP. Join in with the Young Christian Climate Network on their momentous relay to COP as it comes through our Diocese and send a summer post card to Boris to ask for a fairer COP.
 
With Creationtide (1st Sept-4th Oct) in the run up to COP it’s the perfect time to hold a Climate Sunday with plenty of resources on our website and in the Resources section below. 

God bless

Jemima Parker,
Diocesan Environment Officer
News
St John's Menston, alongside Climate Action Menston (CAM), are asking all the businesses in the village to make pledges about the practical actions they will take in the coming year to become more carbon neutral or environmentally friendly.

A Wetherby church has won a grant to help discover how to achieve carbon net zero for the community within ten years. St James’ will be using the Rural community Energy Fund grant of nearly £40k to research how the church and surrounding properties can generate renewable heat and electricity. It is hoped that the findings will help other churches across the diocese on their journey to carbon net zero too. 

Diocesan Environmental Training to Be Run Again This Autumn
Some 15 Parish Environment Officers are going into their parishes prepared to help make their churches environmental leaders in their local area, after completing the Diocese of Leeds’s Creation Salvation course. The course will be running twice more this autumn: on Tuesday mornings in September, and on Thursday evenings in November. 

How will you join the Climate Relay?
The Young Christian Climate Relay will be passing though the diocese from 17th – 29th September. Anyone can join a section of the Relay, which started in May in Cornwall at the G7 talks and will end in Glasgow at COP26. Sing up as a walker, supporter, or to host an event on or near the route. View the route map and find out what volunteer gaps there are on the YCCN Relay web pages.  

Navigating Climate Grief
In response to the growing anxiety and feelings of helplessness around climate change the Diocese invited Hannah Malcolm, 2019 Theology Slam Winner, and Rev Grace Thomas Pastoral Care Tutor to speak at a Saturday morning seminar on Navigating Climate Greif. We were treated to a masterclass over zoom from two of the leading lights in this field of emerging pastoral care.

Holy Trinity Church, Huddersfield have given their churchyard a new look in lockdown. Once a place of concern for anti-social behaviour, it has provided a safe place to meet and worship during the pandemic and is now a thriving community space for “wild church” and more. 

Make COP Count are asking the UK government to champion additional money for the most climate vulnerable countries, to help deal with the climate crisis. Send PM Boris Johnson a postcard that represents where you live to show the breadth of support for action on climate justice. 

The Diocesan Environment Group (DEG) said a fond farewell and thank you to some of its long standing members with a blessing from Bishop Paul at an online Farwell party. The DEG membership is now a team of skilled practitioners who can come alongside parishes to assist with their eco mission and carbon net zero ambition. 

Salisbury has become the first cathedral to gain a Gold Eco Church Award for its efforts to address the climate and nature-loss crises. The Cathedral’s award was the result of work done by the Cathedral’s eco-army of bat and bird box builders, peregrine champions, moth and wildlife surveyors and plant recorders – staff and volunteers alike. 

Over 500 Churches took part in the successful pilot project, called ‘Churches Count on Nature’ earlier this month (June 5-13), to explore the contribution churches could make to monitoring wildlife species and help restore their numbers in the UK. St John’s Sharow near Ripon was one of them. Read more on Judith Allison’s blog post Day 5 and 9.

The Church Times, in collaboration with members of both the Church of England and Roman Catholic environmental working groups, is looking for inspiring church initiatives which protect the planet. Has your church, church school or Christian group done something amazing to combat climate change or to protect nature? The selected projects will feature in a specially commissioned video - the ‘showreel’ - to be launched during the COP26 climate talks. Closing date 21st July. 

Urging for faster action on phasing out fossil fuels and establishing so called “loss and damage” fund to support those most affected by the impacts of climate change, faith leaders wrote to Prime Minster Boris Johnson ahead of the G7 summit.  

Events and Webinars - Local
A bi-monthly Environmental Book Club where you can explore eco fiction and environmental non-fiction and their relationship with Christianity in a context which recognises the interconnected nature of God and the world in which we live. Book of the month The Way Under Our Feet: A Spirituality of Walking Graham B Usher. 

Wakefield Cathedral will be hosting Luke Jerram's Gaia as part of Wakefield's Festival of the Earth.

Part of the Climate Change – Theology, Ministry and Action mini-series. Designed for Clergy and Readers, but open to anyone in church leadership. 

Assistant Professor of Catholic Theology at Durham University, Carmody Gray focuses on theological ethics within science, nature and environment. Leeds Church Institute.

Events and Webinars- National
This series of webinars is designed to support and equip you to reach the Church’s ambitious "net zero carbon" emissions target and with churchyard biodiversity. Church Heating, Electric Charge points, 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.

From getting started to working towards carbon net zero this webinar series takes you through everything you need to know about how to achieve an Eco Church Award. 

Climate Emergence - Emotional & Ecological Wellbeing Strategies. 

A Rocha webinar. Explore how serious climate change is for UK nature, whether nature-based solutions actually work for climate and nature and learn more about what the risks and opportunities of the government's view on nature-based solutions are.

A global network of people whose prayers are as real and urgent as the climate crisis.

With Deborah Tomkins. Green Christian.

With Annabel Barber. Green Christian.

A day of inspiration, encouragement and challenge through online talks and workshops focussed on creation care. Keynote speaker Ruth Valerio. York Diocese. 

Resources
Make COP Count: Resources Advocating for Climate Justice at COP26
The Make COP Count Coalition have released a series of briefing documents for faith groups outlining key demands for the international decision makers at COP 26 in November. These papers can be used to upskill your congregation, to equip you with letter writing or conversations with your MP and more.


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

Every church in the country is being encouraged to hold a climate-focused service before November when the COP26 international climate change talks will take place in Glasgow. There will be a special national focus on Sunday 5th September, but your Climate Sunday can be at any time. 

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. 

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. Could your congregation participate?   

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.
New! Diocese Church Buildings Fund

This fund, which offers grants of up to £5,000 per parish is to support churches with maintaining and improving their church buildings as vital centres of worship, community and mission. It has been designed to particularly to reduce the environmental impact of churches. Details.
Must See: C of E webinars Part Two How to Start Fundraising

Thursday 9th September, 12pm-1.30pm
Magazine Magic
Ready to Print Magazine Articles


Summer Sabbath Rest

Jan Goodair ponders how we can apply ancient Biblical principles to our holiday getaways.

Quick Action Stations! There’s A COP coming!

Why as Christians should we care about international climate change talks? 

Eco Top Tips

Find a weekly top tip here for your parish newsletter:


Or watch the 10 Pledges carbon reduction video here
Opportunities

The creative creation worship Resound worship team are looking for churches, or other venues, to host concerts. Please contact them via their website for more details.

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 Bradford and Ripon Areas to support local churches in their care for creation.

Wanted
Are you preaching on the environment or creative at writing liturgy, or songs for worship?

The Diocesan Environmental Group has a Worship Subgroup who would welcome new members to help create new liturgical, hymnal and preaching resources. Contact Jemima here.
Comedy Corner
If we don’t laugh we’ll cry: helping you through the grief of ecocide...

My friend is so environmentally concerned - 

she's started recycling throwaway comments.
Please join our discussion group on Facebook by following the below link!