Starting out can be the most daunting part of any project. We can help you get underway on your journey to becoming a more environmentally sustainable church.
Before you get started, take some time to find out more about the facts regarding climate change and why this is an important issue to us as Christians. Consider how you could share this information with others: how about incorporating it into one of your church services, or holding an event for the local community? Using films or creative events (e.g. tree planting with prayers, or a big community lunch) are great ways of getting others interested.
Next, work out what change you want to see in your church. A good first step would be to put together an environmental working group. This should include a wide range of stakeholders, and ideally those with responsibilities for the building and worship. Then you can use the Eco Church survey to help you work out ways to improve your church’s environmental status. Find out more about Eco Church and how other churches have embarked on their own eco-journeys here.
Think about how you will achieve the goals you set in your Environmental Working Group. An action plan can help you to keep track of your environmental aims and encourage accountability for the aspects each member says they will do. You might find this environmental policy from St James, Audlem to be a useful guide.
Sometimes, the issue of climate justice can feel overwhelming and make you feel that there is no point making changes. But even small adjustments can make a difference. The options available to each church will vary depending on their size, location, and governance structure but there will be things that every congregation can do to become a greener church. Take a look at the case studies on Eco Church page for examples of how different types of churches have responded to the call to become more environmentally-friendly.
If you’re thinking about improving the use of your church land, this can be a great way to involve your local community. Remember that there are all kinds of way that you can reach out to people locally:
Written communication: could you write to people? Create some leaflets? Put up posters outside your church?
Mailing list: tools like MailChimp are useful for running email campaigns. Make sure any mailing lists you create are GDPR compliant.
Digital media: if your church has a website or social media channels, be sure to feature your environmental work. This is also helpful content to put on your A Church Near You page.
Once you’ve started making improvements to your church, don’t forget to tell people about it! Perhaps you’ve created a new wildlife garden: why not invite your local MP to a special opening event? Maybe you could hold your own Speak Up event.
Faith communities are places where those small groups of thoughtful and committed citizens are found. We are not perfect. We are not uniform. But we are communities of hope whose values lead us to work for change …to bring about a more sustainable world.Steven Croft, Bishop of Oxford