Environmental action

The Gaia art installation at the University Church, Oxford. A giant glowing globe is suspended within the church building

Responding to the environmental crises facing our planet

Since Diocesan Synod declared a climate emergency in March 2020, our Environment Task Group (ETG) is overseeing an ambitious programme of change.

As Christians, we're called to care for God's creation, and the climate issues facing our planet are hugely important to us. You can watch a series from Bishop Olivia on why we should care for creation at all levels in the Church, and read about our commitments to becoming an Eco Diocese.

You can also read about the recent announcement (June 2022) to invest £10m in our clergy housing as part of net zero plans, and Bishop Steven's new question within confirmation services: 

Will you strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth?

With the help of God I will.

Quick links

Read our environmental policy | Book an energy audit | Find net zero resources | Contact the team


 

Stories from our Parishes

Why Eco Church? By Rosemary Croft, St John's and St Stephen's Church

“For many of us in parishes, whether we are members of the congregation or church leaders, we know that acting on climate change is so important. However, we struggle to find the time and the information we need to make a start. Eco Church gives a really good framework, firstly to get us thinking, and then to see what things we could do that work for our church and our congregation.

Eco Church recognizes that taking action is going to look different for every church, so it provides lots of options, with the resources we need to get started. The research and hard work has all been done for us! And most importantly, it doesn’t feel like a tick box exercise, but a way of making a real impact and helping us think through the different issues.”

Rosemary Croft is a member of the congregation at St John’s and St Stephen’s, Reading, which is a Silver Eco Church. Rosemary would be more than happy to share her experiences with anyone who would find this helpful, so contact the Environment team to be put in touch.

Find out more about Eco Church and how to take part.


 

Upcoming events and activities for churches

Great Big Green Week

The Great Big Green Week is a nationwide celebration of action on climate change, taking place across the UK from the 24th September - 2nd October 2022, and which falls during the Church's Season of Creation, giving Christian groups the perfect opportunity to join in.

In 2021, over 5000 events took place and over 200,000 people took part. If you want some ideas, there are lots of resources on the 'GBGW' website and even an opportunity to receive some funding if you apply by the end of June. 

Energy Footprint Tool: open until 31 July

This tool helps measure our collective carbon footprint and inform targetting of help to reduce it. We would be grateful if you would please complete the 2021 Energy Footprint Tool (EFT) for your church, this is part of your Parish Return. You'll need your church energy bills from 2021. The C of E website has details but if you have any trouble with the Parish Returns system we have a short 2021 Word form version which you can complete and send to us to enter for you. See May's Care for Creation Net Zero special for more information on why and how.

Growing in Grace - Rural Churches and Environmental Wellbeing

Are you a rural church that is interested in creation care or would like support to embed environmental wellbeing within your wider mission? With support from the National Church, we are producing a suite of resources to enable a DIY lighting audit, a churchyard scavenger hunt, a transport audit, procurement and catering points to consider guides. We have also run a webinar on how to beat the rising energy costs, with some no-cost and low-cost top-tips. You can view the checklist of actions here and find out about the wider work the Diocese is doing to support rural mission. 

Starting your Creation Care Journey 

Eco Church: We would like to encourage all churches to register with A Rocha UK’s Eco Church scheme. It's a great way to engage your whole congregation in care for creation. ‹‹‹‹‹This map shows registered churches in our diocese - Let us know when your church has registered or gains an Eco Church award and we can add it to the map.

Free green advice: the Diocese can offer tailored green advice on how to help your church reduce their environmental footprint and save money on energy bills through an 'energy audit'. Plus you receive a grant to fund improvements once the audit has been completed. It's the perfect way to get started.


 

Resources, guidance and information

EcoHub

The EcoHub is your one-stop shop for information, practical advice and theological reflection on how we can best care for God’s creation. Each zone walks you through a different stage of climate action - or you can browse all of the resources to find exactly what you're looking for.

Visit the EcoHub now.

Greenshoots Network - learn from like-minded Christians

Greenshoots Network: Are you helping your church take environmental action? Would you like to connect with others doing the same, for mutual support and information sharing? Join our Greenshoots Network email group if so. Let us know you'd like to join by emailing usWe have monthly online get togethers and occasional in person gatherings. 

Highlight from July's Greenshoots Gathering: We heard how St Mary’s North Leigh are planning steps towards their gold Eco Church award, and St James the Greater Eastbury are looking for a nearby church to pair with for an energy audit. We heard how St Mary’s Shaw declared a climate emergency using the Climate Emergency Toolkit resources and St Peter’s Aylesbury are continuing working hard in their community garden project (particularly in keeping up with the watering in this hot weather!) St Michael’s, Tilehurst told us they are working with others locally on some tips for reducing plastic which will be shared in due course and University Church Oxford had about 500 visitors a day come to marvel at the globe when the Gaia artwork was with them! 

Care for Creation newsletter

Our monthly newsletter contains resources, stories, information, updates, news and events on everything related to caring for creation in the Diocese of Oxford and beyond.

Subscribe to our Care for Creation newsletter

We join in on the @oxforddiocese Twitter feed with #GreenMonday tweets, and there's also a Care for Creation Facebook group. If you need advice or have questions, get in touch with our team.


 

How the Diocese is taking action
 

Our goals

The diocese is aiming to reach 'net zero' - the point at which we are no longer contributing to climate change. We've got two goals: the national Church of England 2030 net-zero carbon goals, which cover buildings and transport, and our wider diocesan goal of reaching net zero in full by 2035.

We also have a goal to become a Silver Eco Diocese by 2026, which will mean embedding holistic creation care across all our activities. 

How you can help

The first step is to stand up and be counted! We need your church to help by completing the Energy Footprint Tool on the C of E Parish Returns website. If you can't answer all the questions, don't worry just do those you can. The most helpful for us are the energy bill details, the hours of use for the building/s and the travel expenses claims. If you can't access this, please use our very short Word form instead. Thank you! 

What we're doing at Church House

The diocese has taken a lead on calling for divestment and disinvesting from fossil fuels.

Church House Oxford is powered by renewable electricity, and we have a Staff Green Group always looking at ways of minimising our office environmental footprint, minimising waste, providing more recycling opportunities, increasing veggie or vegan menu options in the café, inviting colleagues to join in with climate campaigns such as as Great Big Green Week. We encourage more sustainable transport options, and all of our bishops drive electric or hybrid vehicles.

 


 

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