Our Environment: Green Advocate Revd. Bruce Waldron is a minister of the URC, currently in post to Sawston Free Church, Little Abington and Castle Camps. Bruce has also served as Superintendent Minister of the United Bungay Circuit (now Waveney Valley Ecumenical Partnership). Bruce is previously from the Uniting Church in Australia. Bruce was appointed as Green Advocate at the March 2016 Synod.
What would I like to achieve? Vision 2020 contains these words:
Statement 10: The Integrity of Creation:
We will be a church that has taken significant steps to safeguard the integrity of creation, to sustain and renew the life of the earth. The changing climate and its consequences for all life on planet earth cannot be over emphasised as the most significant underlying issue of our time. Being an intergenerational community of faith that trust in the God of creation past, present and to come, it is vital that the church recognizes the reality and fear present in environmental debates and lives hopefully in the present climate. Too often the ‘prophets’ who see the truth and challenge for change are outside the church. Our churches, reflecting faith in God the creator and sustainer of life in all its fullness, must discover the radical voice of care for the earth that is supported by the way we live.
The link below shows the indicators of how successfully we are achieving that aim as part of our mission strategy. My aim is to link up churches and synods who are trying to achieve these aims, and to raise the profile of this aim in our Synod, and in the churches who make up this synod.
Download: Ten Statements of Mission
If your church is taking action to tackle the "Integrity of Creation", please let me know
National Assembly Agrees Environmental Policy
October Synod gave space to a presentation of the United Reformed Church's new Environment Policy agreed at the July 2016 Assembly. The Policy recommends that each Synod consider an Environmental Charter, like that of the North Western Synod.
Our Synod has not yet considered a charter but I will be advocating that it might adopt something like this in the future. This Charter, initiated by the Westbury Gardens church, reads:
We believe that creation reveals the glory of God. That we are called to be stewards of God’s creation working with all people of good will to make sure that His earth remains a beautiful place full of wonder, worship, love, justice and peace by respecting the environment and all creatures.
We challenge ourselves to live simply and in solidarity with the poor not taking unfair amounts of the world’s resources or creating waste and pollution.
We commit ourselves to safeguarding life and living sustainably by taking our environmental impact fully into account.
Website: Environmental Policy
Environmental Stewardship: A United Reformed Church Perspective
The United Reformed Church (URC) believes that 'the changing climate and its consequences for all life on planet earth cannot be over emphasised as the most significant underlying issue of our time'. (Vision 20/20).
These words were agreed just a few weeks ago, on 10th July at the URC 2016 National Assembly, as part of the URC's new Environment Policy. The preamble in the document presented to Assembly assets that 'it is the cornerstone of our intent as a body of people committed to caring for God's Creation': this includes reducing our carbon footprint, improving recycling, minimising waste and improving efficiencies on finite natural resources in all of our operations.
Download: Environmental Stewardship Flyer
User-friendly Eco Church - Scheme Passes 500 Mark
Over 500 churches, including 50 United Reformed Church congregations, are now registered with the Eco Church scheme launched last year by Christian environmental charity, A Rocha UK.
The 500th local church to register was Great Chishill United Reformed Church, south Cambridgeshire.
As the successor to Eco Congregations in England and Wales (Eco Congregations continues in Scotland), Eco Church is based on a simple online survey. Users register for free and can revisit the questionnaire as often as they wish to report on their eco efforts in areas of church life including worship, building management and community engagement. The website keeps note of their progress scores and indicates when they qualify for an award.
Download: Eco Church News Article
Good stewardship of the resources God has given us must be dear to all our hearts
How can we manage this in our churches?
- Start by raising awareness within the congregation.
- Within the property and without any expenditure; consider switching off some lights and the correct level of heating; reuse, reduce and recycle whenever possible; reduce waste and consumption.
- With minimal expenditure; carry out regular maintenance; install low energy lights;
- When planning building improvements; improve the insulation; change the type of heating; look for greener energy suppliers; consider solar power (already planned for two churches in the Synod.
- Ask the congregation to consider their personal life styles.
- Walking to Church saves fuel and is better for you.
- Switching off when not in use (includes your car engine).
- Sharing lifts, driving more fuel efficient cars and flying less will make a very positive impact.
- Use the phone and consider conference calls rather than having meetings. Consider food miles.
Download: Cut Your Carbon - 50 Ways To Take Action
Website : Eco Congregation
Website: Operation Noah
Website: Campaign to Protect Rural England
Rayleigh United Reformed Church
On the 2nd October 2016, Christ Church United Reformed Church Rayleigh unveiled a plaque commemorating its having received the Eco Congregation award in recognition of their work to care for the environment and protect the world around us. The church has been working hard to think about and promote these areas in their worship, in the way they look after their buildings, how they work with their local community and through their support for global issues and projects.
Becoming an Eco-Church is a process, and the fist step is not huge, but it is a first step. If you are interested, have a look at the Rayleigh Christ Church website, and see how easy it is to get started.
Emmanuel Church Bungay Going Green Environmental Project Awards
With the aim of trying to encourage others to follow our lead, we have entered ourselves for a few awards and the heating engineers, R A Browns, have done likewise as we were their first Community based project.
An award-winning Suffolk congregation has just added Eco Church to its growing list of accolades. Emmanuel Church, Bungay, has snatched the first ever Silver Award in A Rocha UK’s environmental scheme. On Tuesday 3rd May, the award was presented to Revd Jacquie Evans by Mr Alex Verwater, a long standing member and friend from our Dutch Exchange. This was closely followed by another award, The East of England Energy Efficiency & Retrofit Award in the category of ‘Regional Small Scale Project Of The Year’. R A Brown’s Heating Services earned this award for its innovative work on our project. This second award was presented to Revd Jacquie by Mrs Margaret Shepherd, a founder member of Sustainable Bungay.
Other Environmental Project Awards
With the aim of trying to encourage others to follow our lead:-
- March 24th 2011 Came second in the Suffolk Greenest County Awards
- March 21st 2012 Came second in the Suffolk Greenest County Awards
- March 28th 2014 Won the Suffolk Greenest County Award - Greenest building category
- November 6th 2014 Second in the EDP Business Awards 2015 H&V National News Awards – RA Browns Won the Retrofit Project of the Year – judges comment was "This project has set the greenest possible standard for others to follow"
- However, this year we entered the Eco-church Award and not only have we received a Silver but we are the first Church to achieve this level
The Season of Creation
The Season of Creation offers worshipers an opportunity to turn their full attention toward God the creator and toward their relationship with the whole creation.
See below for history and description of the Season of Creation.
When is the Season of Creation celebrated? Multiple resources for celebrating a Season of Creation Scripture Readings, Lectionary lessons for the three years of the Season of Creation. See lessons for Season C (2016). Sermons and Commentaries on the Season of Creation Themes Liturgies for Series C (2016) are available to download and to adapt to your worship Contributions from Congregations and Denominations. Liturgical elements and sermons from those who have celebrated the Season of Creation.
Here is a link to a feature article published in the August 2014 volume of The Lutheran magazine by David Rhoads, A Season of Creation: Focusing Worship on God as Creator. ????
What is the Season of Creation?
The Season of Creation is an optional season for the church year. For the most part, the seasons of the church year follow the life of Jesus: Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, and Easter. The remainder of the church year encompasses Pentecost Season, which celebrates life in the Holy Spirit. Of course, there are many special days and occasional services throughout the calendar of the church year, such as Christ the King Sunday and Rogation Day. God is celebrated throughout the entire church year. And God the creator, Christ the redeemer of creation, and the Holy Spirit as sustainer of life are integral to worship throughout the church year. We hope that caring for creation is a vital dimension of every worship service.
Website: Season of Creation