THE ENVIRONMENTAL CHARITY GREEN CHRISTIAN is asking Christians to “read the signs of the times” as the UK witnesses extreme temperatures this week.  It congratulates churches which have opened ‘cool sanctuaries’ for rough sleepers and vulnerable people during the heatwave, and is calling on churches to prepare for wider pastoral impacts as the climate emergency unfolds.

The charity is offering resources including a Climate Cafe, on Sunday 24 July, and a workshop on Thursday 28 July.

Pudsey Parish Church, West Yorkshire, is among the congregations which responded to the heat emergency this week, advertising the church as a ‘cool sanctuary’ in response to a call to action from Leeds Public Health.  Churches in Nottinghamshire were among those asked to open for rough sleepers, who are among the most vulnerable to extreme weather. Green Christian has published an advice note on ‘cool churches’.

Paul Bodenham, who co-ordinates the charity’s Borrowed Time project, said: “We know that heatwaves are set to get more intense, not to mention the wider impacts of food insecurity, migration, political instability and ill-health. We mustn’t delay getting off fossil fuels. But vulnerable communities are already being hit hard, especially in the Global South. In the UK, eco-anxiety is a daily reality for the majority of young people. In the coming years, mission is going to have to look a whole lot different. Our churches need to be ready to help society navigate the future, and that work must start now”.

As well as backing the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill, which calls for more urgent action, the charity has published Deep Waters, an eight-session series to help people understand and respond to the growing emotional and spiritual impacts of climate change.  The materials are available online for church groups to use. A forthcoming programme, Cloud and Fire, will map out the implications of climate de-stabilisation for pastoral care and training.

In the meantime, a Climate Cafe on 24 July will offer space to meet with others and to take turns expressing how we feel about climate and ecological breakdown. On Thursday 28 July, a workshop will explore how the reality of climate change challenges pastoral care, ministry and mission, and how churches should respond. Both are online events.

* More information and booking for the Climate Cafe and workshop here.

* Advice note on Cool Churches here.

* Access the Deep Waters Programme here.

* More information on the Borrowed Time project here.

* Source: Green Christian