Issue 39 | September 2021
God's Green Fingers Environment E-news

Welcome to the Creationtide edition of God’s Green Fingers. 

As we start to emerge from the pandemic we are living in a new context. This summer of climate change catastrophes has highlighted where we are now: heatwaves in Western Canada and the USA; fires in Greece; flooding in New York; and the IPCC report that stated unequivocally that humanity is changing the climate. This is the reality into which we are called to live and preach the good news of the gospel. This edition of God’s Green Fingers brings you plenty of resources and training opportunities to help be that good news. 

The diocese has developed its own pathway to carbon net zero - Saving Creation: Strategic Action to Combat Climate Change which will be discussed at the October Diocesan Synod. Find out how every church is invited to join the journey using the Saving Creation Six Steps to Carbon Net Zero Church Toolkit in the article below. 

As we head towards the COP26 international climate change talks in November there are multiple local and national actions for our churches to engage with. Read our COP26 guide so that you and your church don’t COP out!

God bless

Jemima Parker,
Diocesan Environment Officer
Parishes across the diocese are invited to explore the newly published toolkit for churches for starting the journey to be carbon net zero. Alongside this step by step guide are case studies from churches that are underway with the six steps to zero. A webinar to take you through the Six Steps to Carbon Net Zero is also being provided.  

Over the next few months we will be hearing more and more in about the COP26 international climate change talks in the media. There are multiple opportunities for you and your church to pray and act for a good outcome from COP. To help choose the right actions for you, see our Timeline to COP guide and read about what a “good COP” might look like. 

The Young Christian Climate Relay will be passing though the diocese from 17th – 29th September. They are walking to raise awareness of the systemic injustice of climate change. 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, to show your support and make a personal pilgrimage. 

The collective effort of the Climate Sunday campaign will be presented at COP26. Churches across the diocese have been holding services through this year bringing the climate crisis to God in prayer. You can hold and register your service anytime before COP26 starts on 1 November. Resources and registration on the Climate Sunday website. 

Leeds churches, youth groups, schools and individuals are being encouraged to make origami ‘prayer’ boats to become part of a special installation Christian Aid will be creating a at COP 26, made by thousands of people from across the UK. The boats will be ‘launched’ at an event on 8th October at Gateway Church with Bishop Paul Slater and Alex Sobel MP and other special guests. To make your own boat use the 'How to Guide' 

On the middle Sunday during the COP26 summit, Tearfund will host a COP26 church service, along with churches throughout the UK. This international climate-themed service is a simple but effective way for your church to join in with prayer and worship for climate justice at a crucial moment. 

The Climate Emergency has prompted the publication of 26 prayers dedicated to the environment by Leeds-based priest Revd Jon Swales, Associate Priest at Leeds St George. In advance of the COP26 climate conference in November, he has produced a dedicated collection of prayers and videos, which are endorsed by the Bishop of Kirkstall, the Rt Revd Paul Slater and many others. 

‘Learn, Love, Save – a greener Future for Wakefield Cathedral’ was published in August to coincide with the Gaia Festival at the Cathedral. Seeking to be “an example of best practice and mission in the field of environmental care” the Cathedral Chapter have committed to taking a range of steps, including reducing the Cathedral’s carbon measurement annually in keeping with their commitment to be carbon neutral by 2030. 

Events and Webinars - Local
Leeds City Square 4.30pm An opportunity for people from across Leeds to gather publicly in City Square to pray into the climate emergency. 

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 Saying Yes to Life by Ruth Valerio (Chapters 1-3). 

26 September - Ripon Cathedral Welcome the YCCN Relay
10.30am Harvest Service with prayer for COP26 as the YCCN Relay passes through Ripon. 
LCI book club discussion on Hannah Malcolm’s book Words for a dying world, led by Revd Dr George Otieno and Revd Tom Lusty. 

This webinar, which is part of generosity week, will offer an introduction to the Six Steps to Net Zero Church Toolkit, looking at how and why churches can start the journey to carbon neutrality.

4.30pm Gateway Church Leeds with Bishop Paul Slater and Alex Sobel MP and other special guests. To make your own boat use the 'How to Guide'. 

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

For Calderdale and Inter Faith groups in the North. Halifax Minster 

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

An opportunity to be equipped to deliver an effective creation care ministry in your parish. Seven session course starting 4th November.

Discussing challenges that Yorkshire faces and discuss the best way forward to achieve our shared goals. 

A webinar (which repeats) introducing the Saving Creation church toolkit to enable your church to start the journey to carbon neutrality. 

Events and Webinars - National
Hope for the Future webinar on building confidence and learning skills to communicate the urgency of climate change to politicians and decision-makers. 

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

Cloud and Fire: Travelling by day and by night. The retreat will also Introducing Green Christian’s Borrowed Time programme. With the Very Rev Dr Frances Ward. 

China. Follow the action from this international convention. 

Find out more and get involved in this world changing conference. 

An international climate-themed service organised by Tearfund. A way for your church to join in with prayer and worship for climate justice at a crucial moment.

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.

Two sessions giving details of how eco fundraise and what funds are available for eco projects. 

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. 

Resources for Celebrating Creationtide: 1st September - 4th October
The Season of Creation or Creationtide is a relatively new addition to the church year, dedicated to God as Creator and Sustainer of all life. A wide range of off the shelf worship material are available on the Church of England website here and Diocesan website here.
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. 

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. 

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

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. 

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.
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.
Magazine Magic
Ready to Print Magazine Articles

Code Red for Humanity

Jan Goodair reflects on the IPCC report on climate change and offers three actions we can all take.

Download the article here.
Good COP, bad COP - What is COP26 and why is it so important?

Jemima Parker, Diocesan Environment Officer, explains what COP is and why the outcome of COP26 matters to all of us.

Download the article 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.

Area Environment Champions

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

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

Have a laugh and get informed with this new fast moving enviro-comedy from BBC Radio 4 with comedian Jon Long and biologist Gillian Burke.  
Please join our discussion group on Facebook by following the below link!