Issue 43 | May 2022
God's Green Fingers Environment E-news
Welcome to God’s Green Fingers, a resources for you and your church - packed with news, events, and resources. 

The Church of England has recently announced £30 million to support its carbon net zero by 2030 ambition. Our churches and schools across the diocese are already getting underway on the carbon net zero journey. For example in this issue you can read about how Bishop Young Academy has planted an amazing 5,000 trees in the school grounds, or the success some churches are having with renewable energy tariffs, or St Mary Magdalene's recent Eco Church Award achievement. 

Don’t forget to look at the resources section to find out what help is at hand for your eco ministry and make use of the ready to print magazine articles in the Magazine Magic section. 

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
News - Local
Over 5,000 trees have been planted recently at Bishop Young Academy in the Seacroft area. In conjunction with the Plant a Tree Today Foundation, the Green Task Force, the White Rose Forest and the school, the Leeds Centre for Mission helped plant the trees as part of plans for a forest in the grounds of the school. 

Bev Playle is our new joint Huddersfield area Environment Champion, working to help our churches become greener and better care for God’s creation. Volunteering alongside Rev Debby Plummer, Bev has a background in the NHS. “It’s only been in the last few years that I’ve joined the dots between the issues of inequality and climate change,” she says. “It was the Black Lives Matter movement that made the penny drop for me.”

St Mary Magdalene in East Keswick has been awarded a Silver Eco Church Award, signalling another step forward in their journey to look after the environment. Amongst other things, St Mary’s has developed a ‘wilded’ area in the churchyard, and planted locally sourced apple trees as part of a Community Churchyard project. 

Members of Kairos Network Church featured in this year’s Harrogate Flower Show, talking about Forest Church and the benefits of worshipping outdoors. Revd Jen Bradley, curate at Kairos Network Church, and Catherine Burrage, youth leader at Kairos Church, were interviewed on the Human Gardener stage on the final day of the flower show. 

Wilderness found at the back of Eldwick vicarage garden has been converted into space for the whole community to share. The Eldwick Church’s ‘Church in the Garden’ project started early in 2021 and thanks to a number of grants, donations, and much hard work by a team of volunteers, the garden is now open for all to enjoy. 

Churches Benefit from Green Energy Scheme
Green Journey is ready to help our churches make the switch to renewable energy, which may also offer some financial benefits as well. In the Green Journey summer newsletter their team advise any churches with contracts coming up for renewal in the next 12 months to review their options this month as prices look set continue to escalate.

The Church of England recently announced plans for a significant increase in funding for the next three years to support God’s mission and ministry across the country. This included £30 million to support diocesan, parish and cathedral plans for the Church to become carbon net zero by 2030. It is anticipated that over the next nine years a total £190m support will be awarded to this programme. 

As part of ‘Churches Count on Nature’ week (4-12 June) churches across the country will be recording nature in their churchyards, green spaces and burial grounds. The Church of England is running a complementary series of webinars for anyone interested in different aspects of nature, ecology, churchyard management, and outdoor worship. The webinars include everything you need from “Finding Faith in Trees” to “Knowing your Ant From your Elder”. Find the webinars in the Events section below.

Energy Footprinting Tool Open until 31st July
The Energy Footprinting Tool (EFT) for Church Buildings, which is part of the Parish Online Returns, is open until 31st July for 2021 data collection. All C of E churches wanting to calculate their carbon footprint and receive a short report for annual church reporting should use this tool. Find out who undertakes your Online Parish Returns and ensure they are aware of the EFT. 

Welcome to our New Eco Church Northern Regional Officer!
A Rocha UK has recently welcomed two new staff members to the Churches team, Lucy Foster and Delyth Higgins. Their newly created regional roles are thanks to funding from the Benefact Trust, formerly All Churches Trust. Lucy, Eco Church Officer for Northern England, based in Cumbria, will be helping to encourage churches onto the Eco Church Award Scheme.  
The Great Big Green Week Community Fund supports community groups to organise local events, activities and festivals during the Great Big Green Week, 24th Sept- 2nd October (during Creationtide). Churches engaging the local community and celebrating action and progress being made on climate change can apply. 

With investments in green energy nearly 12 times those in fossil fuels, the Church of England Pensions Board is currently ten years ahead of its target to become net zero by 2050. In its second annual stewardship report, Investing for a Just and Sustainable World, the board reports that the carbon intensity of its investment portfolio reduced by 21 per cent from 2020 to 2021, placing the board ahead of its 7% yearly trajectory, and closer to its net-zero aligned target for 2032. 

The Church of Wales Governing Body has voted unanimously to endorse the set of measures and approaches set out in its Framework Document on the climate emergency, and to urge its adoption at all levels of the Church. The document is a response to the Net Zero Carbon challenge, which the Church in Wales aspires to meet by 2030. 

Anglican clergy, and other Christians are among protesters who have recently blocked oil facilities in the UK, in response to the urgent recommendations of the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The Revd Helen Burnett, from Southwark diocese, said: “Compared to the horrific bloodshed in Ukraine, the fight for 1.5C may seem abstract, but it is, in reality, all too real.” 

Events and Webinars - Local
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.  

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.

7.30pm. In the garden at St Mark’s Church Harrogate. Join others from across the diocese in this engaging prayer meeting hosted by ReCreation, a group at St Mark's Church, Harrogate. 

Events and Webinars - National
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  

7pm Online. Soil depletion in the UK and Kenya, how to keep the minerals in your veg, planting out and pests, plus a reflection on Richard Bauckham’s Bible and Ecology. All welcome! 

Why and How to Record During Churches Count On Nature 4pm Online. This practical session will tell you why biological recording in churchyards and burial grounds is so important, and how to do it, pitched at the interested beginner.

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 below.

12pm. This webinar explores the challenges and opportunities in finding ways that churches can deepen and enrich their congregations’ understanding of blue issues as well as green issues, and the relationship between ocean, science and faith. 

4pm. As part of the Bats in Churches Project, we are carrying out surveys to understand more about bats' use of churches. Everyone can take part. This webinar will cover what we’ve learnt so far and how you can get involved in the final and, hopefully, busiest year of surveys.

12pm. This webinar will look at the 'Land' section of the Eco Church framework. Land is a key category of Eco Church and whether a church has a significant amount of land, a thin border of land around the main building, or even a paved over area, there is plenty that can be done to manage the land for nature and people. 

4pm. This webinar will talk about what the wood has to tell us: Christian symbolism of trees/Counting the rings - trees in our history/Wood, foliage, fruit - using and delighting in trees/Who belongs in the wood - native trees and incomers/Joining in the story - planting trees and wilding. 

12pm. With a significant rural portfolio the Church Commissioners for England are seeking to lead the way in managing their land to address the climate and biodiversity crises. This webinar will provide an overview of the Commissioners’ farm holdings and the recent work undertaken on carbon and natural capital baselining.

4pm. Since 1945, 97% of flower rich grassland – once widespread in the countryside – has vanished. Many churchyards act as havens for this and the associated animals. This webinar will explore how to manage churchyard grassland in a way that encourages wildflowers whilst being sensitive to visitors’ needs. 

12pm. The NRN will be a single network of joined up, wildlife rich sites, helping us to reverse species declines across England by improving and creating habitat. Speaker Tony Juniper. 

4pm. Come along to be inspired by models of community food growing and outdoor worship, as part of Christian communities that are engaging with creation and climate emergency.

12pm. This webinar will take a creative look at how to make best use of small areas at a time when the pressure on nature and on our own health is greater than ever. Join us for an exploration of the incredible actions we can all take to make small spaces work for people and nature. 

4pm. In this webinar will get an overview of the twin crises we face (climate change and biodiversity loss) and the linked solutions that exist, which can come from becoming "nature positive". It will touch on this year's two international COPs, on bio-diversity and climate, and how they link to national and local responses.

10am-1pm Online. Six cathedrals in the east of England are jointly host an online conference to help churches to play their part in achieving the Church of England’s goal of ‘net carbon zero by 2030’. 

Day conference London, £150. This conference will provide a unique opportunity to learn about solutions to the challenges of heating historic buildings now and in the future. Learn from case studies, hear about relevant research, network, and discuss the issues. 

7:30-8:30pm, 22 September 12-1pm online. Details to follow on the Eco Church Events page here.  
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? 

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!
Green and Platinum Jubilee Celebrations?

Christine Jack explores the Royal's environmental leadership over many decades.
The Diary of a Prodigal Parishioner 3: The Dreaded Wardrobe Audit
Sue Young talks us through her attempts to reduce the environmental impact of her 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...

“Some of our congregation took a train to church, but the vicar asked them not to in future as it was blocking the aisle."
Please join our discussion group on Facebook by following the below link!