Issue 44 | July 2022
God's Green Fingers Environment E-news
Good news!

The Church of England General Synod have approved the “Routemap” which gives the principles and practice to help us journey to net zero over the next eight years. To meet this ambitious target we will all need to upskill and learn more about what it means to live and preach the gospel in the current context of climate and ecological emergencies.

I am, therefore, delighted to tell you that in the Diocese of Leeds we now have in place a programme of environmental discipleship, enabling and mission training that follows a similar pattern to other Ministry Pathways offered by the diocese. It has three levels – Saving Creation Bronze (enabling for all), Silver (equipping for Parish Environment Officers) and Gold (provision for pilot Eco Missioner roles).

Who in your parish could benefit from this training? Saving Creation Bronze is available online now here. The Silver and Gold courses will be starting in September. Details can be found here.

Note: Some of the articles below link to the Church Times. You can read up to four Church Times articles each month free of charge by registering on their website. 

God bless

Jemima Parker,
Diocesan Environment Officer
On Friday, General Synod debated and overwhelming approved the action plan that will help all parts of the C of E on a pathway to net zero carbon. The Routemap was developed by the national Environmental Working Group and was comprehensively consulted on earlier this year. It contains both the principles and the practical actions needed to meet the C of E’s ambition to be net zero by 2030. 

A new environmental discipleship, enabling and mission pathway has been launched by the Diocese of Leeds. This pioneering training programme envisages three categories of engagement: Eco Discipleship for All (Saving Creation Bronze); Parish Environment Officer (Saving Creation Silver); and the pilot role of Eco Missioner (Saving Creation Gold). Enrolment for courses is now open. 

How St Mark’s Harrogate are cutting their own energy use and engaging with the town is the subject of a new case study from the Church of England. St Mark’s has featured as part of the Church of England’s ‘Towards Net Zero Carbon’ series, showcasing what churches across the country are doing to help reach the target of carbon net zero by 2030. 

Green ideas and good food are being shared at an eco-hub at St Mary’s Riddlesden, made possible by a grant from Bradford Council. A £3000 grant from the Council’s Climate Action Fund has helped to pay for work to turn the church’s meeting room into a community eco-hub and monthly café.

With just a few weeks to go, all churches in the diocese are being encouraged to fill in the Energy Footprint Tool, which is part of the Online Parish Returns. The Archdeacon of Halifax, the Venerable Bill Braviner, said “Locally, it will help our churches with information about how they are doing, so that options can be explored to save both carbon and money!” 

A church project is helping families across Pudsey save money and the environment by recycling clothes for children. ‘Reduce Reuse Kids’ Clothes’ is part of the Pudsey Community project, launched by Pudsey Parish Church at the start of the first lockdown in 2020. 

Reducing food waste and poverty, the Harrogate Clothes Bank, solar panels, Car Free Sundays, renewable power sources and a redevelopment of the church garden are just part of St Mark’s Harrogate’s journey towards achieving their Silver Eco Church award this month. At a special Eco Service, Andrew Jones MP visited the church to officially present the award.

A suite of resources have been created for this year’s Creationtide or Season of Creation as it is sometimes known. Many voices are muted in public discourse around climate change and the ethics of Earth-keeping. A C of E webinar series and other materials explore this theme. 

The Church of England should see climate activism as an aspect of mission and stand in solidarity with protesters, a recent open letter argues. Twenty clergy are among the 79 signatories to the letter, which was sent to the Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham Usher, in his capacity as the C of E’s lead bishop on the environment. The letter, notes that the C of E’s fifth “mark of mission” is “to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth”. 

Events and Webinars - Local
How can my church get to net zero? A webinar introducing the Saving Creation church toolkit to enable your church to start the journey to carbon neutrality.

This Book Club chooses both fiction and non-fiction books, both accounts and personal stories, and touches on themes of wide concern: air pollution, over-population, deforestation, sustainable green cities, organic farming, rural life and isolation and coastal erosion; our programmes gradually offer a fuller picture, problems fall into place and a sense of fellowship emerges.

Starts 7-9pm online. 10 month/22 session training. For those wishing to be equipped to undertake Eco Missioner role (trial role). 

Starts 7-9pm online. 8 week course. For those wishing to be better equipped to fulfil a Parish Environment Officer or similar role.

Events and Webinars - National
Conference hosted by Hazelnut Farm Community, Bristol. 

with Churches Together in Settle. Led by botanist Judith Allinson. 

Celebrate the season of creation in your church over six weeks. This year’s theme is Listen to the voice of Creation.

C of E Resources available here
12pm. The first in a series of Season of Creation webinars, linking environment with theology and worship. Speaker, Revd Margot R Hodson, is Director of Theology and Education at the John Ray Initiative, an educational charity with a vision to bring together scientific and Christian understandings of the environment.

Green Christian's eight-session journey navigating climate grief and eco-anxiety. Online course. 

4pm. The second in a series of Season of Creation webinars, linking environment with theology and worship. Speaker: Revd Steve Hollinghurst works for Lichfield diocese as Evangelism Enabler with an Environmental focus.

4pm. The third in a series of Season of Creation webinars, linking environment with theology and worship. Speaker: Maria Andrade, Theology and Network Engagement Global Lead for Tearfund.

The first Big Green Week took place in September 21 with over 5000 events celebrating how communities are taking action to tackle climate change and protect green spaces, and encouraging others to get involved too. Can your church join in this year? 

12pm. The fourth in a series of Season of Creation webinars, linking environment with theology and worship. Speaker: Dr Cherryl Hunt, Honorary Senior Research Fellow, Department of Theology and Religion, University of Exeter and Tutor on the South West Ministry Training Course.

CofE practical webinar to hear about the range of direct electric heating solutions which exist. 

Building back greener? Christian perspectives on the future of our economy, money and work. Inspired by the Joy in Enough project. It will offer thought-provoking talks on creating a sustainable economy with opportunities for bringing questions and concerns.

Join in the carbon net zero church journey using this new toolkit for churches and read about churches who are already working to be carbon net zero. 

The Diocesan Environment Group are a team of volunteer and staff advisors who can offer assistance on matters such as community engagement, funding, biodiversity and buildings. The group are keen to lend their expertise to signpost and support parishes as they get started in this area of mission. 

There are a range of study resources to help you and your small groups at church explore the Christian response to ecological matters.

Download a list of resources to choose from here
Imagine a society where every person can flourish and everyone has enough. Where local communities thrive. Where the climate is stabilising and animals and plants have a home. New six-week study course from Green Christian. 

Energy advice and more. The Green Journey is a package of energy saving services for churches provided by Green Energy Consulting. Currently 245 churches in the diocese use the service.

Read the newsletter here

A new guide from the Church of England entitled ‘Climate resilient church’, provides resources, advice and support to help churches adapted to changing and more extreme weather conditions brought on by climate change.

St Mark's Church Harrogate are producing six 'Pray for the Climate' videos in 2022 for anyone to use for private prayer or during a service. The first three prayer videos focusing on Climate Justice, Oceans and Forests and Transition to a Zero Carbon World are available to view now. 

A new action sheet to give diocesan schools pointers for how to reduce the carbon footprint of their catering has been released as part of the Saving Creation Toolkit for Schools. The Diocesan Education team are also offering training to support school governors and parents as they seek to implement carbon reduction in their schools. 

Need funding for an environmental/renewables project? Visit the Diocese of Leeds Environment Funding webpage to find a list of potential grant funders, hear about the Diocese Church Buildings Fund and link to the C of E webinars on environmental fundraising. 

A wide range of topics are covered by the Net Zero Carbon webinars, the Biodiversity webinars, Funding Eco Projects and the Eco Church webinars. Great advice for your church from a range of experts for your church. 

Magazine Magic
A ready to print magazine article for your Parish Magazine!
Sue Young tries her hand at passing on her second hand clothing.
More magazine articles?

All our eco magazine articles are archived on the Diocese of Leeds Environment Magazine Magic webpage.
Eco Top Tips

Find a weekly top tip here for your parish newsletter:

Or watch the 10 Pledges carbon reduction video here

Why not include a review from our Eco Book Club in your parish magazine? Eight reviews are waiting for you, just click on Book Reviews half way down the page 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 Bradford, Ripon South and West and Wakefield Areas to support local churches in their care for creation.

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.
Clergy or Clergy Family Members

To join the Clergy Property Carbon Net Zero Working Group. A group a clergy/spouses/family members is meeting to start to support the transition of clergy homes to carbon net zero. If you have any comments, suggestions or are interested in joining the group, please get in touch.

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

“Just opened my water bill and my electricity bill at the same time…

I was shocked.”
Please join our discussion group on Facebook by following the below link!