God’s Planet – Creation care and Church

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I’m one of those people who has an ever-growing list of programmes saved for later viewing. Having stayed over at a friend’s house over a bank holiday and being the first to wake the following morning, I decided to quietly make myself a tea and begin watching the Netflix documentary Our Planet (released on 5 April) whilst patiently waiting for everyone to emerge from their sleep.

I love a good documentary and I was curious to see how this latest Attenborough-esque series would turn out. It did not disappoint. The series beautifully depicts the awe and wonder of the planet we inhabit and the intricacies of creation, which are truly astonishing. The documentary also brilliantly and emotively presents the connectedness of habitats across the globe and the frailty of those connections that exist in a delicate, now strained balance to sustain life on Earth. Climate change, plastic pollution in our oceans and seas, air pollution, unsustainable fishing and farming, disappearing forests and habitats: there are so many ways we are destroying God’s creation.

As I prepared myself for the return to work, images of walrus plummeting to their deaths entrenched in my brain (seriously heart-breaking stuff) and head spinning with the latest news stories that suggest Christians care more about buildings and heritage than our planet and its inhabitants, I couldn’t help but think not only of how I could respond, but also how responding to the changes to our planet, climate and inhabitants are an essential part of the Church’s mandate.

With so many intertwining and complex issues surrounding the environment and sustainability it’s all too easy to feel overwhelmed and unsure where to start.

The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers. Psalm 24

As Christians we worship the God who is creator and sustainer of the universe. His planet needs the Church to lead the way on these issues as stewards of what God has made, loves and cares for. As his children, we are called to value what he values and mobilise ourselves in prayer and action on the unfolding environmental catastrophe.

Here are some ideas and resources you and your church can get involved with regarding environmental issues:

  1. Pray for our country’s leaders – that they would listen and willing to act. Pray for unity across the globe around key environmental issues.
  2. Start a small group to champion environmental issues, discuss how to act and pray. Be accountable together.
  3. Make environmental issues a regular part of your church communications, eg parish newsletters, website blogs and emails featuring concerns, green lifestyle tips and campaign actions and events from charities helping act and speak out about these issues. We have created a new range for you to use relating to God’s creation and encouraging people to care for it. 
  4. Be a Fairtrade Church and sustainably source food and snacks for the church, committing to change what you buy from companies and products that help the environment.
  5. Encourage people to walk or cycle to church. Start a car sharing scheme.
  6. Celebrate Harvest as a church and community (October). Say thank you to God for the creation he has given us and include prayers for the environment in your services. Have a look at our Harvest resources here.
  7. Ask about your church energy supplier. See if they know about sustainable energy options that your church might be able to switch to.
  8. Use washable plates, cups and cutlery instead of throw-away/single-use plastic ones. You can browse a range of Scripture based mugs here.
  9. View resources from A Rocha’s EcoChurch – A free online survey and supporting resources designed to equip your church to express your care for God’s world in your worship and teaching. EcoChurch covers everything from how you look after your buildings and land, to how you engage in individual lifestyle changes, with your local community and in global campaigns.
  10. Off-set your carbon emissions by planting trees through Climate Stewards.

Does your church engage with climate and environmental issues? Let us know your ideas – what has worked well for you and your church?

Written by Head of Design at CPO, Piero Regnante


Other links:

https://www.churchofengland.org/environment

http://operationnoah.org

https://www.tearfund.org/en/about_you/action/lifestyle/

https://ctbi.org.uk/environment-links

Links correct at time of publishing.

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