New guide to 'green' London's churches

By staff writers
March 15, 2007
Nathan Oxley, the Bishop of London, the Archbishop of Westminster and Dr Gillian Straine

Church leaders including the Catholic Archbishop of Westminster and the Anglican Bishop of London, have given their backing to a new environmental guide to help London’s churches become greener.

Launched on Wednesday 14th March 2007, at City Hall, London, the guide, ‘For Creed and Creation: A simple guidebook for running a greener church’ will advise every Christian church across London how to go about contributing to the fight against climate change.

“I welcome the publication of ‘For Creed and Creation’ which provides advice on how churches across London can cut their use of energy. It is God's creation and we must all take care of it" the Archbishop of Westminster said.

"This ecumenical venture, led by the London Churches, makes clear that as followers of Jesus we all have a part to play in increasing awareness of the damaging effects of climate change on creation and human life. In the coming months, I hope that parishes in the Diocese of Westminster will study this booklet and take forward its practical suggestions.”

The book has been authored by Dr Gillian Straine, who has a doctorate in climate science, and Nathan Oxley from the consultancy, Futerra.

Dr Straine has already been involved in running sustainability audits at a number of London's churches and the guide is designed to help all parishes understand and act on cutting their energy use.

The Bishop of London, Dr Richard Chartres, Chair of London's Church Leaders Group who met at City Hall with the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, to launch the guide, said: “Working together, London's churches have a pivotal role to play in tackling the stark reality of climate change. London's churches reach out to hundreds of thousands of people every week and, according to the last census, 58% of the capital's population is Christian. We should be making our presence felt on the crucial issue of the environment.

“A whole host of scientific studies have made clear that it is no longer possible to find excuses for doing nothing. Equally, it is not enough to point the finger of blame at others and to demand that somebody else should do something. Now is the time for individual and collective action in adapting to climate change and the unsustainable way in which we are exploiting the earth's resources.”

Mayor of London Ken Livingstone said: “The Bishop of London and the London churches are showing that they are at the forefront of efforts to tackle climate change. This green guide is a valuable tool for churches and their congregations to use to reduce their energy use. As a major world city what happens here can be an example that others follow. The science about climate change is clear, we have to cut our carbon emissions to levels that avert catastrophic climate change.”

Environment Secretary, David Miliband MP, said: “For the sake of future generations we all need to take action now to reduce our consumption and move to a low carbon economy. Churches have a valuable role to play in leading the way, first by greening themselves and then by greening their communities. This booklet is an important step towards this and I praise the hard work and vision of all those involved.”

The guide provides advice on everything from basic ways of reducing heating bills, such as fitting insulation and installing energy efficient lighting, through to introducing car sharing schemes for church services, setting up recycling programmes and encouraging local children to learn about the environment and take an active role in protecting it.

The guide will be distributed free to over 4000 churches in London. It is hoped that the guide will ultimately be adapted to encompass other religions and faiths and supported by a telephone advice-line.

Funding for the guide has been provided by The City Bridge Trust as the first part of a three-year grant to The Conservation Foundation to develop and manage an environmental programme for London's faith groups.

The publication For Creed and Creation is available online here

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