Thursday, May 13, 2021

Registering the Climate Emergency

Six months on from our first Climate Sunday service on 6 September 2020, we held another one in Lent - 7 March 2021 - and this time we read together a statement recognising the Climate Emergency and commiting ourselves to act accordingly. We included three reflections in the service - the first inviting people to think about why the climate and ecological emergency matters to them; the second outlining recent actions we've done as a church, including investing in Reading Hydro and donations to the World Land Trust as well as practical carbon reductions and parliamentary lobbying. The third was a call to action by the congregation - it's in the new page "Climate Sunday reflection" on this blog.

Following encouragement at a seminar from the Climate Emergency Toolkit, I've just registered that acknowledgement for inclusion on their map. We've also signed up more locally with the Reading CAN pledge. to join with the town's commitment to reach net zero by 2030.

What are we doing about it ourselves? Most recently - we're trying to make it as easy as possible for everyone in the congregation and parish to change to a green electricity tariff, using the resources of the Fair Energy Campaign.; we've checked on the environmental credentials of all our investments and ensured they're as green as can be; and we've applied for a faculty for the cavity wall insulation.

On the church's behalf, Rosemary has been attending monthly meetings with Make COP26 Count, reporting back on the heartbreaking news of climate impact around the world.  Our top campaigning priority at the moment is the CEE Bill - Christian Climate Action are running seminars to help churches understand and support this, starting this Saturday.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Energy Audit


We have now received the report back from the Diocesan Energy Audit that was carried out on 12 October. It is hugely useful and positive. It includes 17 practical suggestions for actions with details of the estimated costs, carbon savings and eventual financial savings as well as whether they would require a faculty.

The next step is for the PCC to work out which they want to prioritise and how to take this forward.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Climate Sunday

 Last Sunday's service was our Climate Sunday - for the first Sunday in Creationtide. This is part of an initiative organised by CTBI's Environmental Issues Network supported by Operation Noah, Green Christian, Christian Aid, A Rocha, Tearfund and many others. The idea is to explore the theological and scientific basis for action on climate change; to commit to action and to join in campaigning on this ahead of COP-26.  The commitments will be shared as part of an event in a year's time in Glasgow to add pressure for meaningful action from the UK government. The Climate Sunday website has lots of resources and these are being updated throughout the year. We actually put our own together, in part so that it would fit with the structure of our Zoom services.

Our service was quite brief on the science/theology since we have covered it so often before and instead we focussed more on connecting with God through Creation. Our readings were Isiah 58: 6-8 and John 1 and we used Romans 1:20 to inspire discussion in breakout rooms. We're already committed as a church to achieving whatever energy reductions we can as part of our EcoChurch journey so we focussed on ways to ensure every congregation member could find a way to take part - we offered a choice of four suggestions and someone to contact to follow these up and used a Zoom poll to see which was the most popular choice. The service concluded with Rosemary reporting back on joining Christian Climate Action's prayer vigil at the September Rebellion.

Climate Emergency

This blog has been silent since the Lockdown began but there's been quite a bit going on in our electronically connected world. Just days before the order came to stay at home, four of us from St John's were on the team leading worship for the Diocesan Synod ahead of their debate on a motion to declare a climate emergency and commit to becoming carbon neutral by 2035. Along with scripture readings we included Gerard Manley Hopkins' poem "God's Grandeur" and a quote widely attributed to Gus Speth (in fact slightly paraphrased from a report by someone who attended his talk at a retreat), and the songs "God of the Poor" and "I the Lord of Sea and Sky". The motion passed and you can read more here.

In May Rosemary spent a long time working on the Climate Stewards' 360 degree carbon calculator. Because much of our heating and electricity is from Ecotricity this significantly reduces our total, although we are aware that cutting our energy use is still needed. Our annual total came in at 16.32 tonnes.

We've also managed to find two churches to partner with us for the diocese's energy audit, as soon as it is practical to carry that out - this should help us find ways of directly cutting our energy use.

Many of us lobbied our MPs by Zoom on 30 June as part of the Climate Coalition's: The Time is Now campaign. 14,000 others across the country joined us.

Very recently several of the congregation have supported Christian Climate Action at the Extinction Rebellion September Uprising with Dr Rowan Williams, Bishop Olivia and others