Former Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams is helping UK churches to become green – starting with St Paul’s Cathedral. Dr Williams launches A Rocha UK’s Eco Church award scheme there today (26th January).
The former head of the global Anglican Communion will present the cathedral with the first ever Eco Church award. Managed by environment charity A Rocha UK, Eco Church equips congregations to become more eco-friendly. An online survey and resources help churches respond to environmental issues across congregational life.
‘After recent climate change talks in Paris, Eco Church helps churches integrate environmental care through worship, management of buildings and land, community and global engagement, and personal lifestyle of church members’, said A Rocha UK Churches And Theology Director Dr Ruth Valerio. Partners in the scheme are Christian Aid, Tearfund, the Church of England and the Methodist Church.
President of the Methodist Conference Rev Steve Wild said, ‘We’ve been delighted to support the development of Eco Church, as the project shares our values regarding sustainable stewardship of our planet. Eco Church does more than help individual churches achieve their environmental goals. It demonstrates how we all have a part to play in protecting the planet and making better choices in how we live our lives. I hope many more Methodist churches will be inspired to join the new scheme’.
Tearfund CEO Nigel Harris said, ‘Eco Church is a great way to equip and inspire churches to make a difference by thinking, praying and acting out change. Like Tearfund’s “Ordinary Heroes” campaign, this initiative is calling the Church to be part of a passionate movement of people making changes to their lifestyles and asking the Government to take environmental action’.
Bishop of Salisbury and Church of England lead on the environment Rt Rev Nicholas Holtam said, ‘Christian witness includes our safeguarding the integrity of creation, sustaining and renewing the life of the earth. This is not just about stewardship – it is evangelism and mission. We learn to care for creation at home and in our local communities. Eco Church is a great way of engaging the local church in thought, prayer and action. It’s a way of sharing good news and of living with thanksgiving and hope in caring for God’s earth’.
Christian Aid Campaigns Manager Clare Fussell said, ‘The Church has a vital role to play in inspiring the country with a vision of creation care. Climate change is a moral issue – possibly one of the greatest challenges of our time – and Christians have a duty and an opportunity to express that and encourage others to take action. All the great social justice breakthroughs – whether ending the transatlantic slave trade or toppling South African apartheid – have involved the Church. Christian Aid encourages churches to lead by example, starting by switching to clean energy and making the simple yet worthwhile changes to become an Eco Church’.
A Rocha UK is a Christian charity working for the protection and restoration of the natural world. International development charity Christian Aid works in some of the world’s poorest countries, regardless of religion, providing urgent, practical and effective assistance to tackle the root causes of poverty, as well as its effects. Tearfund is a Christian relief and development agency building a global network of local churches to help eradicate poverty. To register with Eco Church, visit here. (Pictured is Dr Rowan Williams, addressing a past event at St Paul’s. Photo: Graham Lacdao, St Paul’s Cathedral)