It was a breakfast of champions for the environment – as more than 50 Anglican bishops joined Christian conservationists to launch Eco Diocese.
Part of A Rocha UK’s popular Eco Church award scheme, Eco Diocese acts as an incentive at diocesan level and encourages parish-level engagement. Through its bishop, a diocese can work towards Eco Diocese status by meeting set criteria.
Conservation charity A Rocha UK and Anglican environmental initiative Shrinking The Footprint launched Eco Diocese at a special breakfast on 14th September. Key speakers were Bishop of Salisbury Rt Rev Nicholas Holtam – the Church of England’s lead on environmental issues – Bishop of Dover Rt Rev Trevor Willmott and Bishop of Dudley Rt Rev Graham Usher.
A Rocha UK Churches And Theology Director Dr Ruth Valerio introduced Eco Diocese. Bishop Trevor talked about environmental work in the diocese of Canterbury. Bishop Graham explained the role of the environment in mission and evangelism.
Bishops Martin Warner from Chichester, David Urquhart from Birmingham and Trevor Willmott from Canterbury signed letters of registration for Eco Diocese (pictured). Many other dioceses also expressed interest – with other denominations lining up. A Rocha UK is working with the Methodist Church and United Reformed Church on similar schemes.
‘I’m delighted we’re one of the first to sign up,’ said Bishop Trevor. ‘Many of our churches have already begun their Eco Church journey. Now as a diocese, we can do the same. With the support of this simple system, we’ll be able to make sure our duty to care for the environment is part of all we do.’
More than 350 congregations have registered with Eco Church, since its launch earlier this year. ‘Green shoots of environmental care are springing up across the Church of England,’ said Dr Valerio. ‘Eco Diocese encourages those shoots to grow strongly and bear fruit.’