Issue 42 | March 2022
God's Green Fingers Environment E-news
Welcome to God’s Green Fingers, a resource for you and your church - packed with news, events, training opportunities and resources.

It’s encouraging to hear great stories of eco mission from around the diocese in both our churches and church schools. There are opportunities for you to get involved – just check out the “Wanted” section below. 

Note: Some of the articles below link to the Church Times. If you do not have a Church Times subscription you can read up to four articles each month free of charge by registering on their website. 

God bless

Jemima Parker,
Diocesan Environment Officer
News - Local
Parish Environment Officers were recently commissioned, by the Revd Sandra Bentham, Area Dean, at a well-attended meeting of the Aire and Worth Deanery Synod. The five PEOs have recently completed the Creation Salvation course and the commissioning highlighted the important role they have to play in helping our churches reach their net zero targets.

St Lucius’ is a small church with big environmental ambitions which stands in the rural village of Farnley Tyas, four miles from Huddersfield. Earlier this year they were very pleased to announce that they had achieved a Bronze Award under the A Rocha Eco Church Award scheme. 

Energy Footprinting Tool Open for 2021 Data
The Energy Footprinting Tool for Church Buildings, which is part of the Parish Online Returns, is now open for 2021 data collection. The tool allows churches to work out their CO2 emissions and provides a short report for annual church reporting. It is an important tool to help churches track their progress towards becoming carbon net zero by 2030. In previous years our diocese has been one of the top dioceses in data collection, with over 50% of our churches filling in the EFT.

Young and old helped with the planting of a community orchard at St Mary Magdalene Church, East Keswick earlier this month, which was attended by the local Councillor for Harewood Ward, Matthew Robinson. The trees are locally sourced, Yorkshire trees. The project has been managed by the church and co-ordinated by their Environment expert, Liz Parr.  

Rev Debby Plummer, Huddersfield Area Environment Champion, joined representatives from the Green Building Store, Friends of the Earth and Huddersfield University for the first in a series of ‘Lent Life: Conversations for our Town’. The Panel was chaired by the Rt Revd Jonathan Gibbs, Bishop of Huddersfield. 

Holy Trinity, Barnsley, a co-educational Roman Catholic and C of E school for children aged 3 to 16, is helping pupils to contribute to the conservation and protection of the British honey-bee. For the last seven years, pupils at the school have been keeping bees, with three hives currently in the school’s apiary, and up to six during the summer months. 

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 two prayer videos focusing on Climate Justice and Oceans and Forests are available to view now. 

Five very different churches in rural Yorkshire (Towards Carbon Neutral Churches Craven) have been researching how to achieve the Church of England's target to be net carbon zero by 2030. To share their findings they have created a video and held a webinar which was attended by over 100 people from across the country  

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. 

New changes to church legislation designed to help churches reach carbon net zero were approved by General Synod in February. Most of the changes will make it easier for churches to make adaptations such as insulating pipes, draft-proofing doors and windows, fitting new non fossil fuel boilers, electric pew heaters, electric car charging points and soft furnishings to help worshippers feel warm and comfortable. 

The UK needs to think less about preventing refugees’ entering the country and more about what causes them to flee their homes, the Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Revd Nick Baines, has told the House of Lords. Citing extreme weather, caused by climate change, as one of the major push factors, the Bishop called for a better understanding of the reasons behind migration. 

More than 200 church leaders in the UK have urged the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, to impose a windfall tax on oil and gas companies in his Spring Statement this week. The money should be used to help people who are struggling to pay their food and heating bills as energy prices rise significantly, the letter says. 

The study published earlier this month concluded that half the world’s population, between 3.3 billion and 3.6 billion people, now live in areas that are highly vulnerable to climate change and that no inhabited region is free from its impact. Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham Usher, C of E lead bishop on the environment, said: “We are accelerating towards a devastating global tipping-point. We need concerted and urgent action to halt the climate emergency so as to protect the poorest and most vulnerable and the future of life on God’s created planet.” 

Events and Webinars - Local
Webinar 5pm Practical suggestions on how your church can have a good UN World Environment Day. 

How can my church get to net zero? A webinar from the Diocese of Leeds Environment Team introducing the Saving Creation church toolkit to enable your church to start the journey to carbon neutrality. 

7-9pm. An opportunity to be equipped to deliver an effective creation care ministry in your parish. Seven session online course run by the diocesan Environment Team. Register your interest now. 

Don't worry about climate change. Come and pray instead! 7.30 - 8.30pm on Zoom. Join others from across the diocese in this engaging prayer meeting hosted by ReCreation, a group at St Mark's Church, Harrogate.  

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. The book of the month is Remarkable Creatures by Tracey Chevalier. 

9.30am-3pm Online Learning. Explore the many ways schools can positively contribute to fighting climate change. This course is being run for free for schools as part of the diocesan action for climate change programme of events. It is suitable for school leaders, including governors.  

Events and Webinars - National
Join the global action and switch off for an hour. How can your church take part? Find resources and how you can take part in this annual event. 

Webinar from the Church of England Environment Programme. 

Webinar from the Church of England Environment Programme. 

Online webinar hosted by the Church of England and open to all.

Webinar from the Church of England Environment Programme. 

Online webinar hosted by the Church of England and open to all.

Learnings from school energy audits and net zero carbon action plans. Webinar from the Church of England Environment Programme. 

Webinar from the Church of England Environment Programme. This session will cover the recent changes to the faculty rules, in the light of the commitment to achieve Net Zero Carbon by 2030  

How will your church celebrate this annual United Nation Day? 

Find out more about how your church can get involves in this church land biodiversity week. C of E webinars coming soon. 

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
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? 

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. 

Small Group Bible Study Guides for Lent and New Resource from Green Christian
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
The Diocese of Leeds Diocesan Advisory Committee has adopted environmental policies to help PCCs improve the sustainability of church buildings and churchyards, as part of this commitment. The guidance aims to support churches in finding ways to address these and covers a wide range of topics including building materials, heating, lighting, renewable energy generation and biodiversity. 

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.

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!

Following Jesus’ example of taking care not to waste food, Rev Dr Jan Goodair gives us her top tips on food waste. 

The Diary of a Prodigal Parishioner 1: A Journey Towards Environmental Concern and Climate Change.
Sue Young talks us through her recent environmental journey awakening.

The Diary of a Prodigal Parishioner 2: Decluttering 
Sue Young muses over the challenges of recycling and upcycling.

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 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...

“A wind turbine saw a solar panel at an energy convention. He leaned in and shouted, “Hey, I’m a big fan!”
Please join our discussion group on Facebook by following the below link!