Greener churches to preach climate gospel

London's faithful were called upon to join in the fight against climate change as church leaders launched a guide to greening churches and congregations this week.

The booklet, “For Creed and Creation: A simple guidebook for running a greener church,” has a strong climate change theme, offering priests and pastors practical tips on energy efficiency and advising them on preaching the green message.

“Working together, London’s churches have a pivotal role to play in tackling the stark reality of climate change,” said the Bishop of London, Dr Richard Chartres, as he launched the guide on Wednesday.

“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,” he said.

Apart from valuable energy efficiency advice that should help cut the bills for heating spacious and often draughty churches interiors and reduce electricity use with energy efficient equipment, the guide also proposes car-sharing schemes for the Sunday service and recycling programmes.

The guide will be distributed free to over 4000 of the capital’s churches, including Church of England, Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Evangelical, Methodist and Baptist churches among others. Christian church leaders hope to expand its scope to other religions and set up a green church telephone advice line to support the faithful in their green endeavours.

Launching the guide together with the Bishop, 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 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.”

The guide was put together by Dr Gillian Straine, a climate specialist who has been involved in efforts to green individual churches, and Nathan Oxley from environmental consultancy Futerra. Funding for the project came from the City Bridge Trust as part of a grant dedicated to creating an environmental programme for London’s faith groups.

Goska Romanowicz

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