This page will keep you up to date with information from the current
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
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
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;
to doing, put me to suffering;
let me be employed for you or laid aside for you,
exalted for you or brought low
Let me be full, let me be empty,
let me have all things, let me have nothing.
and wholeheartedly yield all things
to your pleasure and disposal.
glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
you are mine and I am yours.
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!