Bishop Auckland Methodist Church

Action for Hope – Climate Change

A Presentation to our Darlington District Synod

You can access a pdf of the presentation slides here, or read the information below…

The Methodist Church encourages us
“to commit to Eco Church, Eco Circuit, Eco District or Eco Congregation movements to help the Methodist Church reduce carbon footprints”.

At the 2021 Methodist Conference a target of becoming a net zero emissions Church by 2030 was agreed

How will we achieve this?

Through forging key partnerships at every level of the Church we can together make progress towards net zero.

These partnerships include:

  • A Rocha UK which offers pathways through Eco Church.
  • Action for Hope. Three categories have been selected
    • Faith-consistent use of assets – including investments, purchasing power, buildings and land.
    • Wisdom – including theology, liturgies and prayer.
    • Lifestyles – including traditions of simple living.

In autumn 2021, a task group of Connexional Team members was appointed to take the work forward.

Faith-Consistent use of Assets

We have committed that by 2030 all travel, electricity and gas directly funded by the Church will have net zero emissions. We are actively working on the detail around these aims, along with guidance and resources.
We are working on resources to support members and church leaders to reduce carbon emissions related to Methodist properties and activities as well as guidance on listed buildings, new property projects and use of other fuel sources.
Much has already been achieved in recent years, notably in our investment policies.

Wisdom

The main resource available for our church members is Hope in God’s Future – a report that offers not just a statement on our approach to climate change but resources including for small group reflection and whole-church conversation. The resource highlights the goodness and interconnectedness of all God has made and this together with the theology and practice of good stewardship informs much of the work of the Connexion.

Lifestyles

We are developing resources to encourage Methodist members and adherents to reduce their carbon footprints, particularly via the three key areas of energy, travel and diet (the biggest contributors to individual emissions).
The Joint Public Issues team have over the last few years worked in this area with a focus on ethical shopping and a set of commitments for ethical living during Lent.

Launch of Action for Hope

A full launch of Action for Hope is planned for our annual Conference in June.

The key things which the District will focus upon are:

  • Encouraging and supporting local circuit/church action groups in the move to net zero and other environment related issues and opportunities (e.g. encouraging bio-diversity, community gardens, forest church etc).
  • Offering resources and expertise (district and external) to support concrete change locally.
  • Ensuring that areas of life over which the district does have control (e.g. Synod) move consciously towards net zero.

Following Action for Hope, District activity will be focused initially, as with Connexion, on:

  • Faith-consistent use of assets – including investments, purchasing power, buildings and land.
  • Wisdom – including theology, liturgies and prayer.
  • Lifestyles – including traditions of simple living.

We note the particular opportunities linked to the Methodist Way of Life, Eco Church Awards and work with children and young people.

Churches register for EcoChurch and then complete the unique online Eco Survey about how they are caring for God’s earth in different areas of their life and work. The answers a church provides will collect points towards an Eco Church Award – the more your church does, the more points you get!

If your score doesn’t gain you an Eco Church Award straight away don’t worry – the idea is to complete further actions in order to gain the points necessary for an Award. For example, you can switch to a green energy company or start using Fairtrade tea and coffee supplies to gain Eco Church Award points.

The survey takes you through five key areas of church life: •

  1. Worship and teaching
  2. Management of church buildings
  3. Management of church land
  4. Community and global engagement
  5. Lifestyle

It takes into account whether or not your church has buildings or land, and you can save your survey responses at any point anyone who is registered with a login for your church’s EcoChurch account can return to update them as your church completes additional actions.

Following the above presentation we entered into a discussion based on the questions below with each small group – I came across the energy chain and its three step strategy during an online course recently

The energy chain and the three step strategy 

The first step of the strategy is about reducing the energy demand. 

The second step refers to the primary energy use – use renewable energy as much as possible.

The last step is about using an energy conversion process into heat that is as efficient as possible when non-renewable resources are used. 

The three step strategy therefore introduce a prioritization of measures.

Prayer

We then prayed the prayer below while watching the video of the blackbird in the Manse garden:

Wake us From Our Slumber 
Father of Creation, 
God of Compassion, 
You created a world of wonder, 
Of possibility and potential. 
You declared it to be good. 
For this we give thanks. 
To you be praise, honour and glory. 

Father of Creation, 
God of Compassion, 
This world is no longer as you intended it to be. 
Humanity has betrayed its calling  
To tend and keep. 
Creation groans. 
For this we weep, 
Lord have mercy. 
For this we mourn, 
Christ have mercy. 

On our watch, 
We reap what we have sown, 
On our watch, 
Sea levels rise. 
For this we weep,  
Lord have mercy. 
For this we mourn, 
Christ have mercy. 

On our watch, 
Forests destroyed, 
On our watch, 
Locusts Swarm. 
For this we weep, 
Lord have mercy. 
For this we mourn,
Christ have mercy. 

And so now with tears in our eyes we look to you, 
With regret, 
With repentance, 
Knowing the difficult decades that we face, 
As temperatures rise,
As extinctions increase, 
As we come to terms with our existential plight.  
For our children, 
Lord have mercy. 
For our Grandchildren, 
Christ have mercy. 
For the world’s most vulnerable, 
Christ have mercy. 

Father of Creation, 
God of Compassion,  
Wake us from our slumber,
Equip us afresh to be the justice-shaped people of God. 

Father of Creation, 
God of Compassion 
You created a world of wonder, 
Of possibility and potential. 
You declared it to be good. 
For this we give thanks. 
To you be praise, honour and glory.  
Amen

From ’26 Prayers for the Climate Emergency’ by Rev Jon Swales, St George’s, Leeds  

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