Church should go organic says Archbishop of Canterbury
The Archbishop of Canterbury is calling upon the Church of England to undertake an ecological audit saying that good ecology is not an optional extra but a matter of justice.
His comments come in a new report to be debated by the General Synod of the Church of England which recommends that the church adopt 'creation care prayers', organic bread and other natural materials in worship as well as an education programme, car pooling and recycling.
In his foreword to the new report "Sharing Godís Planet: A Christian Vision for a Sustainable Planet" which accompanies the debate, the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams urges Christians to recognise their duty to celebrate and care for every part of Godís creation.
ìReceive the world that God has givenî, he writes of the importance of celebration. ìGo for a walk. Get wet. Dig the earth.î
In terms of the Christianís duty to the planet, Dr Williams stresses that for the Church of the 21st century, good ecology is not an optional extra but a matter of justice. It is therefore central to what it means to be a Christian.
The report has practical ideas for the local church to adopt at ground level, from recycling to car-pooling, and an education programme to promote this to churches is in place with government backing.
'Sharing God's Planet' also suggests that there's a green spiritual dimension to be brought into Christian worship.
'Creation Care Prayers' and the use of natural materials in worship such as organic bread and wine are just some of the ideas suggested in the chapter "a practical Christian responseî; ideas which the Archbishop commends in his foreword: "I have called upon our Church to undertake an ecological audit...such local, internal responses are vital" he writes.
The report follows criticism that some of the churches practices in worship are far from environmentally friendly. It was pointed out last year that many of the palms used on Palm Sunday up and down the country were unsustainably harvested.
International church leaders recently said that the Asian Tsunami disaster made climate change action vital.
The Synod debate coincides with the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol around the world.
A unique new coalition was also launched last year to fight climate change. Including several Christian agencies, it was endorsed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and aimed to mobilise millions of Christians around the world.
If Synod approves the new measures they will be passed to dioceses for approval and action across the Church of England.
The Synod will look at a Christian vision of a greener world in London on Thursday 17th February.
Sharing Godís Planet (ISBN 0 7151 4068 X) is being published by Church House Publishing, priced £5.99, and available from all Christian bookshops and Church House Bookshop, 31 Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3BN, tel. 020-7898 1300, email:firstname.lastname@example.org