Issue 36 | March 2021
God's Green Fingers Environment E-news

The climate and ecological crises have not been standing still during the pandemic and it’s great to hear of churches who haven’t been either. Congratulations to Bardsey Parish and their two churches who have both gained Eco Church awards. Read on to find out how you can share your stories to help others too.

There’s news of training coming soon to upskill you to enable you to make an impact with environmental action in your church.

This year it is going to be hard to get away from the forthcoming COP26 international climate change talks taking place in Glasgow in November. We have resources with something every church can do whether it’s holding a Climate Sunday, praying for progress or making your own net zero carbon plan and recognising the climate emergency.

And don’t forget to pass on Magazine Magic (near the bottom of this letter) to your parish magazine editor.

If you want to stay up to date with events and resources join us on Facebook here

God bless

Jemima Parker,
Diocesan Environment Officer
Not deterred by the pandemic All Hallows Bardsey and St Mary Magdalene, East Keswick set out on their Eco Church Journeys last year. In less than a year they have both achieved a Bronze Eco church Award. Their environmental action has been more of a whole village affair as the church has embraced and complemented other local environmental action. Elizabeth Otty, Parish Environment Officer tells the story for All Hallows and inspires others to have a go.

The seven session Creation Salvation Course has been designed especially to equip Parish Environment Officers and others in parish ministry to embed creation care in the life of their church. This new training course will be facilitated online by Rev Ruth Newton and Jemima Parker with contributions from other experts. 

New grants to boost mission in our communities by improving our church buildings have been announced. Cutting the environmental impact of our buildings is a key goal of the fund, as the diocese aims to meet the Church of England’s 2030 carbon net-zero target. 

A major theological training college based at Mirfield, in the Huddersfield area, is looking to better protect God’s creation by formally recognising the climate emergency. Mark Powley, Principal of St Hild, said: “Far from being an empty gesture, I believe our recognising will not only cut the carbon footprint of the college but will also help the St Hild community, and the churches and organisations we are connected with, to be beacons of hope. 

Pablo and Geoffrey, have join the grass cutting team at St Wilfred’s, Calverley, which also includes two goats. The two alpacas who were gifted to the church have become a community attraction during lockdown, providing nearby residents with a connection to nature, beneficial to mental and spiritual heath. 

What's your church eco story? Has your church undertaken a low carbon lighting or heating project, improved the biodiversity of your churchyard or been proactive in eco matters in your community? Our care for creation is too urgent for every church to start from scratch. We want to hear from you so that others can learn from your experience. 

Asking 14-19 year olds about their thoughts on the climate, the church and their faith Tearfund found that 9 out of 10 are concerned about the climate crisis. However only 1 in 10 think their churches are doing enough about it. The significance of the report was picked up by the BBC, watch their coverage featuring a vicar form the Ripon Area here

Churchyards are often treasure troves of biodiversity. As part of Caring for God’s Acre’s “Love Your Burial Ground week” 5th June to 13th June, the C of E is asking churches to use the week as a springboard to start recording the wildlife within their churchyards. Could you or someone in your community organise a wildlife spotting event? Covid-safe, inclusive to the wider community and great for mental health! 

Parish churches use about 185,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases each year. The data has been gathered by the Energy Footprint Tool (EFT), an online calculator built by the statistics team at Church House, Westminster, which allows parishes to input their energy usage and discover how much carbon-dioxide equivalent they are using. 

Launched in January 2016, as a successor to Eco Congregation, the Eco Church Award Scheme has gone from strength to strength, supporting over 1000 churches with awards and with more than 3,000 churches registered nationally. Celebrate with other churches of all denominations at a special online service on Friday 26th March. 

The Church of England’s next lead bishop for the environment has promised to encourage “courageous decision-making” on a parish and national level, and to listen to the “prophetic voice” of young people, to combat climate change. 

Speaking at a meeting between global faith leaders in preparation for the COP26 climate-change conference in Glasgow in November, Archbishop Justin referred to the recent examples of tropical storms in Mozambique, desertification in Nigeria, and devastated crops in Melanesia, as causes of poverty and food insecurity. The pandemic is giving countries in the West a taste of the insecurity experienced for decades by developing countries because of climate change, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said.

Online Events - Local
A bi-monthly Environmental Book Club where you can explore eco fiction, 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. The book of the month is David Attenborough’s A Life On Our Planet: My witness statement and a vision for the future. 

Celebrate with other churches of all denominations at a special online service on Friday 26th March. 

Online launch of the new resources designed by Tearfund in collaboration with the Diocese of Leeds to equip your church to make an impact on with Climate Action both within your church and wider community. 1-2pm and repeated at 8-9pm.

Revd Dr Frances Ward, theologian, researcher and writer, preacher, speaker and teacher, is the author of Like There’s No Tomorrow: Climate Crisis, Eco-Anxiety and God.

This is a free event but booking is essential
A webinar in the DAC Maintenance Training Series. Practical suggestions and advice on how to respond to the national C of E’s call to be net zero carbon by 2030. To book a place contact Janet Edmond here 
Seven session course offers you the opportunity to be equipped to deliver an effective creation care ministry in your parish. It will enable you to make a positive impact on the environment and in your local community, draw up a zero carbon action plan and progress towards an Eco Church award. Starting 5th May.

A mini-series to resource Clergy, Readers and others who are interested in theological thinking, worship and preaching, and in church climate action. Attend the whole series or just one event. Starting 13th May.

A series of events for 2021 to continue the journey of equipping each other to act on the climate emergency, by learning and praying together. The sessions are in three main strands; climate thinking, carbon detox and climate advocacy, and run from January to July this year. 

Online Events - National
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.

A Rocha. ‘Nature-based solutions to climate change’ is a UK government priority on the agenda of COP26 - but what does this actually mean? 

An overview of how Churches in the Anglican Communion can act for climate justice ahead of COP26 through divestment and investment. 

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

The climate crisis affects us all and there are those in society, particularly in the younger generation, experiencing real grief for the climate and the loss of nature. This webinar is for churches wishing to support their congregation.


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.

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

Remembering the Environment in our Prayers of Intercession by Rob Kelsey. 

The book is intended to be used as a supplement to the prayers of intercession in church on Sunday, and by individuals in their private prayers, so that praying for the earth becomes an “ordinary” part of our spiritual and daily life, rather than something that happens on a special occasion. 

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. 

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 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.
Magazine Magic
Ready to Print Magazine Articles

My Lent Challenge: A Plant Based Diet

Jemima Parker, Environment Officer for the Diocese of Leeds, talks about her faith and food.

Download the article here
The MAP - A story

A little tale to illustrate a big point. Download 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.

Assistant Area Environment Champions

Seeking enthusiastic volunteers to assist our team on Area Environment Champions to support parishes locally in their environmental ministry and mission.

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...
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