St Martins Church Ashton Upon Mersey

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Dear friends,


A few weeks ago my energy supplier fitted the rectory with a smart meter, so that I can measure my energy usage. Many of you will also have had these little devices fitted in recent months. I’ve been finding it interesting how much electricity is used whilst I’m sleeping – it’s obviously powering things like the fridge and mobile phones on charge overnight and the half-dozen other devices that are plugged in all the time (digital clocks, land-line phones, electric oven etc). Claims, however, that the meter will save me money by helping me save power are a little over-optimistic: I try not to be profligate with my energy usage and can’t really see where I could cut back. But it has been focussing my mind to ensure that I definitely don’t waste energy.


The Parochial Church Council of St Martin’s has been doing some thinking recently about our energy usage at church and wider issues about green issues. We are considering changing our energy to a green energy supplier when our current contract comes to an end next year and at the most recent meeting we discussed the possibility of trying to become an accredited ‘eco-church’. Under a scheme run by the Christian charity A Rocha, which works for the protection and restoration of the natural world, churches can look at five key areas of their life (such as management of church land and buildings, and worship/teaching) and consider their activities and attitudes in each of the five. Lots of advice and support is available to encourage churches to develop their life in ways which are environmentally friendly and which seek to care for and protect the integrity of God’s creation. If you are interested you can find all the information on the A Rocha website.


I have to admit that part of the reason we are beginning to look at all this more carefully at St Martin’s is because I was recently asked to be the chair of the Chester Diocesan Environmental Forum. I’ve always been interested in green issues and the way in which we human beings treat creation and I am thrilled to be able to take a role in developing the approach and attitude of the diocese and all its churches in this aspect of our life. We are aiming to have at least one new church in every deanery accredited as an eco-church by world environment day next year (5th June) – some are already accredited!


In the wider church there are also some significant moves in the area of environmental concerns. At the Church of England’s General Synod meeting in July members voted overwhelmingly to ditch investments in oil and gas firms that fail to develop Paris Agreement compatible strategy. (The Paris Agreement's long-term goal is to keep the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels; and to limit the increase to 1.5 °C, since this would substantially reduce the risks and effects of climate change.) The Church of England said the vote made it clear that "the church must play a leading role on the urgent issue of climate change". If in the next five years companies in which the C of E invest don’t strive to comply with the Paris Agreement then the church will disinvest. The new plan applies to the Church Commissioners' £8.3bn investment fund and £2.3bn retirement fund, as well as a further £2bn of church funds. It could reportedly impact up to £123m of assets which the church currently holds in oil and gas firms.


It’s not just the Church of England that has been talking about this issue recently. At a two-day meeting at the Vatican with oil company executives, Pope Francis  said climate change is a challenge of "epochal proportions" and that the world must convert to clean fuel.  He commented: "Civilisation requires energy, but energy use must not destroy civilisation."


Such major decisions and declarations need to be backed up and bolstered by action within individual dioceses and churches. There are already around 2,000 churches which buy their energy from green suppliers and over 880 churches which have eco-status from A Rocha. We will be looking at St Martin’s becoming part of these statistics in coming months.


In the meantime, do consider whether you have any questions or hopes around this important issue for us as a Christian community – I’ll be interested to hear your views and opinions. I’ve already begun to chat to other people in our local community who might help us in moving forward, including a local RSPCA officer, who tells me he keeps records in a notebook of birds he’s seen in the churchyard – incredibly the list runs to over forty different species!


May you have an enjoyable summer, and rejoice in the wonders of God’s creation!





The Methodist Covenant Prayer


I am no longer my own but yours.

Put me to what you will,

rank me with whom you will;

put me to doing, put me to suffering;

let me be employed for you or laid aside for you,

exalted for you or brought low for you.

Let me be full, let me be empty,

let me have all things, let me have nothing.

I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things

 to your pleasure and disposal.

And now, glorious and blessed God,

Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

you are mine and I am yours.

So be it.

And the covenant made on earth,

let it be ratified in heaven.



"BE PREPARED"  Our Lord tells us that he will come again... but he doesn't say when!  For over 2000 years people have been waiting but it could be tomorrow!



St Martin's Church, Church Lane,  Ashton-upon-Mersey,  Sale,  Cheshire ,    M33 5QQ  

0161 976 4086 
0161 973 4204