Go green for the sake of God's world

This article is from 2020 - some information may be out of date.

Schools, churches, parishioners and families will have to work together if we are to achieve net zero.

With £400,000 already invested in a carbon footprint reduction programme, creation care was already a top priority for the Diocese at the start of the year. But we needed to do much more. So, when a motion to declare a climate emergency came to Diocesan Synod in March, there was overwhelming support.

We’ve set an ambitious goal of achieving net zero on carbon emissions by 2035. It’s tough, but if schools, churches, parishioners and families all work together, it’s achievable. In fact, we hope to do even better – to reach net zero by 2030 if we possibly can. It’s a giant leap forward, and an Environment Task Group, led by Bishop Olivia, is working to help churches plan action, prayer and advocacy at every level.

“It is our calling and our responsibility”

Averting the climate emergency

“It will be costly, but we must play our part in this,” says Bishop Olivia. “It is our calling and our responsibility. We face the facts and reality with gritty determination and stubborn optimism. We can do this if we choose to.”

Already, more than 10 per cent of our churches have completed energy audits, giving them the chance to become more energy efficient while saving money. Changing to a green energy supplier, like Parish Buying’s renewable tariff, is one way to do this. Installing a more efficient heating system if you need to replace your current one is another.

These are simple, effective things that every church should already be planning for. Overleaf you’ll find further steps you and your church can take to play a part in our effort to avert the climate crisis.

An electric vehicle charging point, and a switch to a renewable energy tariff, have been just two climate-friendly actions at Church House Oxford.

An energy audit in December 2018 resulted in immediate improvements to energy consumption. All of the Church House teams are reviewing their activities, and coming up with ideas for how we can be greener in our day-to-day work. 

Climate champions

We are developing a network of experts and champions with a passion for specific areas in the programme. These areas include:

  • Environment focused liturgy;
  • Teaching and learning;
  • Church and community outreach;
  • Advocacy and campaigning;
  • Technical carbon zero know-how and advice.

Any individual or group will be able to join our environmental champions network. An online EcoHub will be a one-stop-shop for information, with a wealth of Christian reflection, pastoral, liturgical and practical resources and connections. This will include a ‘helpdesk’ function that’ll be a font of eco-knowledge. Individuals and groups will be able to ask questions about small changes and major projects. These could be anything from changing to more eco-friendly cups and plates to projects involving major building work.

The EcoHub will advise you on how to save water, recycle food waste, be more energy-efficient and choose environmentally friendly travel and food options. There’ll be advice on community and church tree planting, litter-picking, eco-fairs, engaging with Eco Church and much more. Advice on campaigning on a national and international level, guidance on lobbying MPs, and supporting groups like A Rocha, Operation Noah, Climate Outreach and Hope for the Future will all be included.

There will also be opportunities for you to gather with others to think through what you can do, individually and with your church, to help with creation care. We’ll be piloting a brand-new teaching and action initiative which will provide participants with high-quality information on climate science, theology and ways to inspire action.

To find out more about how you and/or your church can help avert the climate crisis visit oxford.anglican.org/environment.


10 ways to go green

Offer sustainable refreshments – and serve them sustainably. Perhaps try Traidcraft or Kingdom Coffee products.

Choose re-usable cutlery and crockery – or you could ask people to bring their own cup, plate, spoon, knife and fork.

Embrace the bulk buying power of the Church as you switch to renewable energy: parishbuying.org.uk/energy-basket

Make the most of your land - make your churchyard wildlife friendly, plant trees, maybe even find space to ‘grow your own’ together.

Take the Eco Church survey – it lets you see what you’re doing well and think about ideas for improvements: ecochurch.arocha.org.uk

Hold a film night – or read a book together – possibly using videochat.

Get inspired by reading how one urban parish became an Eco Church. oxford.anglican.org/an-urban-eco-church

Find out how to save energy. Your church can have a subsidised energy audit. Individuals can measure their own carbon footprint. oxford.anglican.org/energy-audits

Contact your MP – visit the Hope for the Future website for hints and tips on how and why you should get your local politicians involved: hftf.org.uk

Bring creation into church – consider possibilities for hymns, prayers, sermons and activities. The national church has collated some here.


This article is taken from the summer 2020 edition of Pathways.

Page last updated: Monday 19th December 2022 9:43 AM

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