I attend a small Methodist Church in a remotish part of the Yorkshire Dales. You may attend a Roman Catholic Church in London, or a Free Church in Scotland, or an Orthodox Church in Romania, or a …………….. in ……….. (fill in gaps as appropriate) How are our churches connected?We probably, as individuals, are both concerned about looking after the environment. What are our churches doing to care for the environment?This Webpage attempts to answer these questions. Comments and suggestions are welcomeDifferent Denominations
There are many different denominations in Britain. The larger denominations usually have paid officers who specialise in different jobs. Responsibility for environment issues is often just one of several other jobs that that have to be done by an officer who has responsibility for “Church and Society” or for “International Issues”.
By 2003, Each Diocese In the Church of England had a Diocesan Environment Officer . (Sometimes referred to as DEO). This is sometimes an an unpaid post and the person doing it may be a clergy-person and or a lay-person with a strong interest in the environment. Their job, in part, is when asked, to advise their Bishop on environmental matters. In 2013 contact David Shreeve. There is a list of Environmental Officers in 2013 (and email addresses) so you can find your DEO. They may welcome support.
In some mainland European Countries there are Church Environment Officers whose sole responsibility it is to deal with environmental issues. In 2000 this was not not the case in the UK, but by 2007 most UK churches now had such a national officer, doing this job at least part-time..
You could try and find out who has responsibility for environmental issues in your denomination in the UK by asking someone high up in your denomination. Go to the Christian Resources Directory to find contacts for your denomination.
The Creation Challenge website (Methodist, Baptist and URC website) was set up in in April 2006 with about 5 newsletters a year, but does not seem to have had additions since February 2013.
Bodies have been set up to facilitate links and joint ventures between denominations at all levels, from the world level, down to the level of small towns.
The World Council of Churches
The World Council of Churches (WCC) has its Offices in Geneva, and caters for Protestant and Orthodox Churches. It has a Poverty, Wealth and Ecology Project
The Justice, Peace and Creation Unit used to produce a twice yearly magazine called Echoes which sometimes focuses on environment issues and can be read online but stopped in 2004
Europe: CEC and CCEE
The Conference of European Churches (CEC) is a fellowship of Orthodox, Protestant, and Old Catholic European Churches along with some associated organisations. Its office is at Geneva. It has good relations with the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences (CCEE) which is for Roman Catholics. CEC and CCEE had an Assembly in Graz in Austria in 1997 (at which CEL had a stall): it was the Second European Ecumenical Assembly. The Assembly made several environmental recommendations – see points 5.1 to 5.4 in their document CCEE had a Meeting about the environment held in Celje, Slovenia in May 1999.
In September 2007 the Third European Ecumenical Assembly took place, in Sibiu, Romania. 2500 delgates attended.
Partly as a result of the Meeting at Graz, The European Christian Environmental Network (ECEN) was set up for church environment officers, and others, throughout Europe. ECEN meets about every 18 months. Individual ECEN members tend to belong to one or several coalitions, and communicate mostly with members of that coalition ..e.g Tourism Coalition, The Climate Change Coalition etc. Judith Allinson on behalf of CEL attended the latest ECEN Assembly in 2012 in Elspleet, There were 8 people from UK and Ireland. See her account
Coming down to the British level:
Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI)
What is CTBI? The following is extracted from their website:
CTBI is Churches Together in Britain and Ireland. It is one of the instruments the Churches have created to enable them to work together, and to co-ordinate the work they do separately. Its particular remit covers things it makes sense to do in common across more than one of the nations which make up Britain and Ireland. By “Britain and Ireland” it means England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. Why is it Britain and Ireland, not just the United Kingdom? Because the Irish Churches all cover the whole of Ireland, not just north or south. So they can only be partners in a body which does the same.
What does CTBI do?
Twice a year it brings together senior representatives of the Churches, and every two years a much larger Assembly is held. Between those times, it nurtures a host of different networks helping the Churches co-ordinate and share their work in ten key areas: one of which is: Church and Society: (Responding together to social, political and economic concerns where the Churches want to have a voice.) One of the responsibilities of Church and Society is the environment, and this is dealt with in the Environmental Issues Network:
The Environmental Issues Network (EIN)
EIN is a forum for representatives of churches in membership of CTBI and other Christian organisations to consider environmental and ecological issues, both national and global It has three day meetings a year, usually in London. The meetings are attended by officers/representatives of the different church denominations. These officers have responsibility for the environmental issues as part of their work (as mentioned in the denomination part of this section). For example Donald Bruce on behalf of the Society, Religion & Technology Project of the Church of Scotland. CEL sends a representative. In September 2007 Rev David Bookless took over as Moderator (Prof ‘Sam’ Berry had been moderator.) In 2012 Steve Hughes (of A Rocha) took over as moderator. Adrian Shaw (Climate change officer for the Church of Scotland) is the secretary. The officers share whatever news and issues their churches are involved with. (As far as I know) the Network has a total lack of finance, other than that the officers are usually paid by their churches as part of their job to attend, and one organisation pays for the secretarial expenditure.
CEL sends representatives to EIN Meetings – Currently (2013) Judith Allinson and George Dow
For a page on this website about EIN click here
At National Level there are Churches Together in England (CTE), Churches Together in Wales (CYTUN), Action of Churches Together in Scotland (ACTS) and the Irish Council of Churches (ICC)… (In 2000 their web sites seemed to have much about the environment, but it is changing now).
At Intermediate Level there are Regional Churches Together Organisations, e.g.Churches together in Lincolnshire. Some of these may produce an annual newspaper, or have a website, but the regions differ. The Churches Together in Cumbria have a website on climate Change called Live Lightly
At Local Level there are Churches Together in “Your local town”. Sometimes these can be quite active, organising joint services for special occasions, such as Remembrance Sunday or One World Week. In Settle we had a special Easter Pilgrimage for the Millennium, whihc has since developed into a passion play/Easter Street Drama . CEL would encourage its members to offer CEL leaflets to other Churches in their local Churches Together area.
Independent, mostly ecumenical, Christian Environment Organisations and Projects
e.g. Christian Ecology Link, A Rocha, JRI, SRT, CRUC, Justice and Peace Groups, Eco-Congregation, Tearfund, CAFOD, and others. Much of the information about these can be found in the Weblinks Page and Resources Page and (Oct 2009) – EIN October 2009 report
There are also – thankfully – individual Christians working to look after the environment, both within their churches and separate from their churches. May be like you!
Keep it up!