environment - archive
creation in crisis
These Action Ideas are part of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland's programme of resources to encourage and assist churches to observe a Time for Creation between 1 September and 4 October each year.
Our theme for 2009, Creation in Crisis - a time for prayer and action, specifically aims to help churches, groups and individuals to focus on issues relating to decisions that will need to be taken at the UN Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen in December 2009, described by some as the "last chance for the planet". In this context, Christians are called more than ever to demonstrate their commitment to care for creation by living simply and sustainably themselves, as well as by pressing politicians to take the measures necessary at national and international level. All of this involves the need for action.
Below you will find:
- Action suggestions
Suggestions at the personal, community/church and political levels as a response to the biblical reflections from the 2009 theme based sermons.
- Action Links
Resources containing ideas for action, from help in leading a simpler, greener lifestyle, to making your own church more 'green', from ideas for local projects or events, to signing up to support political campaigns.
Week 1: Creation in Crisis
Linking together the ecological, economic and social crises, and seeking God's alternative priorities.
- Personal: Print out a copy of Matthew 6 from ‘The Message' or another modern translation and spend an hour outdoors in a garden, park or wilder place reflecting on it, allowing God to speak through the birds and the plants.
- Church & Community: Plan towards a Harvest lunch or supper, using local produce as far as possible and perhaps inviting people from beyond your regular members - deepening your relationships with other people and with God's creation locally.
- Political: Seek out the most recent manifesto of the party you last voted for. How do its priorities compare with Jesus' values in the Sermon on the Mount? What would be different in practical policies if relationships between people and planet were put before economic success?
Week 2: Global Poverty
How Climate Change affects the poor hardest and why and how Christians are called to act.
- Personal: Join CAFOD's Live Simply or A Rocha's Living Lightly initiatives
- Church & Community: Research what local organisations are doing on Climate Change and see if your church can join in (e.g. Transition Towns, Friends of the Earth etc)
- Political: Plan to take part in the Stop Climate Chaos (now The Climate Coalition) march on December 5th
Week 3: What about Wildlife?
Why a healthy biodiverse environment is vital for human flourishing, and matters to God.
- Personal: Visit a local nature reserve or park and reflect on God's care for creation and the interdependence of God's creation
- Church & Community: Could your Church be involved in a local conservation project (churchyard, school, in partnership with local group)? A Rocha UK can help churches with this.
- Political: Deforestation is devastating for biodiversity and a major cause of Climate Change. Ask your MP what their party is doing to tackle deforestation - especially regarding Palm Oil and biofuel production.
Week 4: For Generations to Come
Our responsibility to ‘our children's children' and our grounds for hope beyond the crisis.
- Personal: Make a list, or look at pictures of your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, or children within your church. Pray for each of them, imagining the world they are growing up in, and recommitting yourself to acting for a vision of a better world.
- Church & Community: Martin Luther is reputed to have said "If I knew Christ was to return tomorrow, I would still plant a tree today." Planting trees can be a sign of hope for future generations - an investment that will produce fruit in decades to come. Could your church help coordinate either a local tree-planting project, or support reforestation in parts of the world that have suffered recent catastrophic deforestation. Climate Stewards is a Christian organisation that can help with this, or you may be able to use your church's existing Mission links.
- Political: If you haven't already, why not plan to take part in the Stop Climate Chaos (now The Climate Coalition) march on December 5th? It might be that local churches could coordinate transport.
Week 5: A Harvest of Hopeful Action
Harvest theme looking at Joseph - an ordinary hero who listened to God and acted hopefully.
- Personal: Aim to grow something for next year's Harvest - whether in a window box, a cottage garden or an urban allotment. Use the experience of clearing, sowing, weeding, watering and nurturing as a spiritual journey too.
- Church & Community: Have a Church Harvest meal: ethically sourced, using local or Fairtrade produce. If possible include people from the local community - maybe inviting those who are working or campaigning for the environment. Strike a balance between celebrating God's generosity overflowing in creation, and remembering and sharing with those who have no Harvest this year.
- Political: Invite local political leaders to your Harvest Festival service or Harvest supper and include a presentation of your concerns about Climate Change, poverty and the environment? It would be excellent if children's pictures / letters / poems / short dramas could be included in this presentation.
Get going with the church check-up from Eco-congregation
Eco-congregation resources for action:
• Module 7 looks at what you can do to green the building
• Module 8 looks at greening the purse strings - how to make your church purchases and use of money more environmentally friendly
• Module 9 looks at conservation in the church yard
• Module 10 looks at personal lifestyles
• Module 11 looks at how to reach out to the local community with a green message
• Module 12 makes the global links on environmental issues
Operation Noah: The Christian climate change campaign
Operation Noah's Take Action pages include sections for Campaign Actions,
Community Actions and Personal Actions, as well as Past Actions.
A Rocha UK
Living Lightly - ideas to help you towards a simpler, greener lifestyle
Conservation in action - Get involved with A Rocha UK's practical projects
Live Simply - A Catholic campaign on lifestyle change.
What you can do in the Countdown to Copenhagen
Simple lifestyle changes you can make
Shrinking the Footprint
The Church of England's national environment campaign. Now contains new toolkits and resources with energy saving tips and guidance for churches, cathedrals, schools and clergy homes. These include downloadable action plans and checklists, along with advice on considering the appropriate use of renewable energy in church buildings.
Online community committed to lifestyle change, with lots of ideas for action.
Get ideas from what Church communities have done in action locally
Church Times Green Church Awards
St Luke's Crosby, Liverpool has worked hard to create a breathing space for its community.
Read the story of the restoration of SS Mary & John's churchyard, Oxford
Hilfield Project - Franciscan environmental project in Dorset