Bishop Auckland Methodist Church

On the Road

Green Christian

Ordinary Christians, extraordinary times

On the Road us the Green Christian roadshow that is coming to Emmanuel Church in Saltburn. It will consist of worship, two workshops led by Rev John and Vanessa from the wider Green Christian movement and a delicious vegetarian lunch. We will begin at 10 am and aim to finish by 4.30pm.

Imagine a world in which every person can flourish and everybody has enough, in which local communities thrive and in which the climate is stabilizing and animals and plants have a home.

from the Green Christian website

Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness… and everything else will be given to you as well

Matthew 6:33

Our job is to live today what others only dream of

George Bernard Shaw

In these two workshops we will be seeking God’s kingdom together. The situation is dire but it is not too late to act. We will begin to imagine together what needs to change, if a kinder, gentler world is to emerge from the climate crisis.

We will be looking at how we can find the inner strength to be effective and fruitful agents of this change in our own community.

On the Road is FREE. But to aid planning and avoid disappointment go to and book in advance. Donations toward expenses will be gladly received.

Green Christian has been praying and working toether for a kinder, gentler more sustainable world since the 1980s. GC provides resources and encouragement for prayer, study, sustainable living and political engagement and supports a network of local groups of which Saltburn Emmanuel Church is one.

If you would like to join Rev John and Vanessa on our trip to Saltburn and share in this workshop, please book on the link above and do let them know you are travelling – join them on the train!

Combat climate change with John

By Bishop Press -May 19, 2022

The scientific basis of climate change is inarguable. So much so that many in power, nationally, internationally and locally, including Durham County Council, have officially declared climate change to be a Climate Emergency.  

Whilst corporations, the main drivers of climate change, should be leading in the reduction of global emissions, every one of us has the ability to make an impact. Bishop Auckland Methodist Church minister, Rev. John Purdy, who is a leading figure in the Bishop  Auckland Climate Action Group, also believes we can all help reduce our carbon footprint.

Rev. John Purdy gives some handy tips to deal with climate change.
Rev. John Purdy gives some handy tips to deal with climate change

Over the next few weeks, John will be explaining what we can do locally to lower the effects of climate change.

He begins by explaining his own rationale for getting involved in the battle to save the planet:

The Bible begins with God creating the world and seeing that it was very good, and increasingly I have discovered God’s desire as recorded in the Bible for us to keep it in its beautiful, life-enhancing, state.

From lockdown reading and online academic study, I have increasingly heard the scientific evidence of change and the consensus to act now to ‘decarbonise’ i.e., ‘stop burning stuff’.

Finally, late in the day, I have spent more time in the garden, in nature, observing and learning how to care, and this has been rewarding.

So where to start?

The first task is to discover and feed your own motivation and driver to engage with this topic. That might be science, family, nature, faith, community, or even financial prudence. It doesn’t particularly matter which, but something needs to move and inspire us for the changes in lifestyle we will face.

This is easier with likeminded people. Locally, Bishop Auckland Climate Action is a friendly place to start.

The main goal is to reduce our carbon footprint, and get to ‘net zero’ where we emit no more carbon dioxide than we can remove from the atmosphere.

We are already doing this, without really realising it, in the move from coal to natural gas, (natural gas when burned emits about half the amount of CO2 as burning coal) in more efficient washing machines and fridges, and in a change to LED bulbs.

But this is not fast enough or far enough to stop biodiversity loss, global warming, sea-level rise etc. So, what more can we do?

Next time, we will begin to examine options that will allow us to make an immediate impact on sustainable living.

Meanwhile, if you would like to connect with others already actively engaged in caring for the climate, why not join the Bishop Auckland Climate Action group on Facebook.

The article above appeared in the edition of Bishop Press distributed on 21st May 2022

Hope in the hurting

By Jennifer Plummer

The article below appeared in A Rocha’s Root and Branch Magazine. A Rocha is the awarding body for Eco Church. Bishop Auckland Methodist Church received the Bronze Award in 2020.

The twin crises of biodiversity loss and climate change can often seem overwhelming. What can give us endurance and help us to respond with joy and hope?

credit: Andy Lester

The nature and climate emergencies are having an impact on our mental health. ‘Eco-anxiety’ and ‘climate grief’ are not just commonplace phrases, but a lived experience for many.

In the storm

With no outlet or quick-fix solutions in sight, eco-anxiety will become debilitating for an increasing number of us. You may have experienced firsthand the feeling of loss or grief for our planet, or supported a family or friend in coping with feeling disempowered, stressed or overwhelmed.

In 2021, Bath University led research among 16-25 year olds, questioning 10,000 young people across ten countries on their feelings about climate change. Over half (59%) of those surveyed thought that humanity was doomed; two thirds reported feelings of grief, sadness, fear, anger, powerlessness and despair.

The research concludes that taking action – even small steps – can help to defuse anxiety and bring a sense of hope. But making a difference (on any issue of justice) can be a slow burn. Sustaining ourselves is key to acting and campaigning for nature and climate. How can we do that healthily and avoid burning out?


Clearly much more could be said than we have space for here, but here are some pointers to help us address climate (and, in fact, any crisis) fatigue, and to act and speak with loving persistence over the long haul.


It’s important to stay informed, but also to take a break from information overload and distressing images. Set boundaries and limit your social media and news exposure when you’re feeling particularly overwhelmed.

Reconnect with God’s gift of nature

Creation itself is a great antidote to all the words, issues, politics and thinking involved in climate action. Spending time in nature, perhaps with a book or app on bird or plant identification, are ‘earthing’ activities that you can enjoy individually, as a family or with friends.


Returning to our heavenly Father time and time again will give us the energy, capacity and courage to bear what we know. It will ‘irrigate our souls’ and show us what to do next.

Practise hope

The stories we tell, the habits we form, the repetitions we make and the prayers we say matter. Focus your attention and efforts on collective positive actions and seeing change in your community.

Topics of grief, lament and hope in relation to the loss of nature and the climate crisis are explored further in our ‘Climate Grief and Pastoral Care’ webinar. Watch it in full on A Rocha UK’s YouTube channel:


Langdale Fells – credit: Andy Lester


Journeying together

Connecting with other like-minded people is key to coping with eco-anxiety, providing opportunities to share thoughts and feelings and take action. A Rocha UK’s  Eco Church, Partners in Action and Wild Christian communities are safe spaces to learn, share and connect; they offer tools and support to address the nature and climate crises in tangible and empowering ways together. If you are concerned for, and passionate about, God’s good earth (and need a reminder to rest and enjoy creation now and then!), join us in cultivating and practising hope for a hurting world.


Jennifer Plummer is Communications Officer and Wild Christian Coordinator for A Rocha UK. This article first appeared in the spring 2022 edition of A Rocha UK’s magazine, Root & Branch, and is reproduced here with their permission.

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.


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.


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.


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.  

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

Far infrared heaters – in the Manse…

Far infrared heating technology heats surfaces (such as people) before it heats the air, just like the sun. Therefore you can sit underneath a ceiling far infrared panel and feel warm even before the air has warmed up… That has saved us money as well as helped us be more eco-friendly this past winter in the Manse.

We have a suspended ceiling panel in our upstairs sitting room and two ceiling panels in the kitchen. We also have a wall panel that is a picture in the study and a wall panel in the bathroom that is also a towel rail.

Church garden

The Church garden is looking well after a Spring clean. Thanks to those who dug, planted, watered, weeded and picked up rubbish.

Earth Hour – Saturday at 20:30 (Tomorrow)

See below links to WWF’s website about Earth Hour


Earth Hour reminds us that even small actions can make a big difference. When we make changes in our own lives to reduce our footprint, we inspire those around us to do the same. And together, we are a powerful global movement that governments and businesses can’t ignore.  

We all need nature. And nature needs us to stand up for it every day. By 2030, nature and wildlife could be recovering all around us. Our leaders have promised to put nature at the heart of climate action, to secure a safer future for all of us. Now we must make sure they deliver on their promise. 

Everyone has a part to play – and it starts with a single switch. Will you join us? 10 FACTS ABOUT EARTH HOUR


Download the WWF My Footprint app and take on a challenge. 

Listen to Call of the Wild, WWF-UK’s podcast hosted by Cel Spellman. 

Encourage friends and family to take part in Earth Hour by spreading the word to your networks. #EarthHourUK 


Switch off your lights and take an hour to reflect on what nature means to you. 

Enjoy a meat-free meal by candlelight with your friends and family. 

Put your phone on do not disturb, press play on our Earth Hour Spotify playlist and enjoy some down time to yourself.  

Share how you’re spending the hour with us on social media using #EarthHourUK


Countdown – Creative works…

COUNTDOWN‘ Image painted by church member Paul Brown – see it for yourself in the church’s prayer room

Rev John wrote a poem to go with it – see below…

Countdown – a poetic response

It is a few minutes to midnight, and all is dark.

How the day started so differently,
by the time we woke up in this world
dawn has painted the sky in vibrant colours
alive with potential and hope
waiting for us to join creation.

The morning is peaceful,
our footprint so delicate as the dew dissipates
and yet the growing light exposes the first conflict,
man against man, man against nature,
the battle for control and dominance grows.

The day is, we feel, about us, for us,
no one, no-thing less.
Interrupted for a moment in time
when a man loved (and died 😢) for the world.
But now gaining pace as the day presses on.

The evening rest, when a stroll in the garden
is recommended by the gardener supreme,
is instead transformed by 24/7 productivity
work continuing in dark shadowy places
by people as caged as hens.

The night sky has lost its colour
apart from the flickering glow of neon lights
and a space station watches on with neighbouring stars.
Down below the dark earth has been plundered
raped of its resources for black gold.

It is a few minutes to midnight, and all is dark.

(c) Rev John Purdy, March 2022

A Poem about Slugs…

Here’s a silly poem I wrote a few years ago when I was struggling to build a balanced relationship with the slugs in my allotment. It’s called ‘If Slugs looked like Polar Bears’.

If Robert Burns can write a poem addressed to a mouse, then maybe it’s ok for me (another Scot) to write an ode to a slug. May at least raise a smile.

George Dow – Green Christian

If slugs looked like polar bears

How would we feel?

Would it make us less willing to squash them with our welly boot heel?

If slugs looked like kittens

Would we keep them as pets?

Cuddle and stroke them and spend small fortunes at vets?

If slugs looked like puppies

Would we take them for walks?

On leads in the park (or more realistically) carry them in a box?

If slugs looked like snails

Would that would be OK?

With their beautiful shells and their swagger and sway

But slugs look like other slugs

I can’t see improvement

Except to say how effective they are as a dangerous, radical underground movement

So let’s hear it for slugs

Let’s embrace wildlife’s diversity

And keep a place in the ecosystem

For horrible, slimy creatures as well as those which are cuddly or pretty

Having said that, I don’t believe a word and will continue to rail

Against these ugly wee rascals who eat my veg and leave a silvery trail

Let’s fill them with nematodes, colonise their inners

So that I can continue to eat my dinners

In peace without bothering whether

Tomorrow’s beans and kale has been decimated all the gither

But if we truly believe that we need to take care

Of all of God’s creatures who only take their fair share

Then let’s stand up for the slug

Let’s give it some glory

And leave it to live as part of life’s wondrous story.

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