For Creed and Creation Book

For Creed and Creation: A simple guide to greening your church is a great new little book of practical suggestions for making your church more energy efficient.

With simple ideas and advice from the way the building is run, to how rubbish is recycled and the light switches used, the guide will help to reduce bills and put your church on the right track to tackling your carbon footprint. Published by the Diocese of Oxford and co-written by local curate, Revd. Dr. Gillian Straine, the book includes details of local organisations and where to go for help.
“…churches aren’t just places of wonder, encounter and community; they’re also real buildings which make an impact on the natural world, and it’s our responsibility to make sure that their carbon footprint is as small as possible. We have over 800 church buildings in our diocese, and with all the people who pass through them in a year, we can influence literally hundreds of thousands more buildings.”
Bishop of Oxford
Copies of the booklet are available for:
  • £2.50 each – £3.28 including postage and packaging
  • £10 for five copies – £11.33 including postage and packaging
  • £15 for ten copies – £18.41 including postage and packaging

Order by Post: Send a cheque for the total amount (including postage and packaging), made payable to ‘Oxford Diocesan Board of Finance, to: For Creed and Creation Book, Environment Desk, Dept of Mission, Diocese of Oxford, North Hinksey, Oxford, OX2 0NB.

View online: You can view the contents of the book in the viewer below.

Greener cars

Photo by yuuka1

With darker evenings and the colder weather we are all likely to be picking up the car keys more often, so this week we are highlighting a few car-based ideas to help you explore making your car use greener.

Smarter driving

How fuel-efficient is your driving? Some simple changes to the way you drive could cut the fuel you use and save money. Known as smarter driving this involves using your gears, acceleration and powers of anticipation to adopt a more fuel-efficient driving style. The Energy Saving Trust has produced a top ten of smarter driving tips and they also provide businesses with training courses for their employees.

Share a lift

Why not lift share? Find someone else going your way, make new friends, cut your carbon emissions, and save money. Car-sharing can be used for any type of journey at any time. It can make boring solo journeys sociable and fun, and you don’t even need a car to sign up.

There are plenty of schemes that will match you safely up with potential people to share with – either as drivers or passengers, and resources that help calculate the costs, making it easier than ever to share lifts:

Liftshare.org – national website – just sign up for free, add your journeys and find someone to car-share with.

Carplus – national charity promoting responsible car use, with information on car sharing and links to local schemes

For those people in the Diocese of Oxford there are the following council area schemes: Oxfordshire Car Share | Bucks Car Share | Reading Car Share

Car clubs

We’ve mentioned car clubs before, where members get access to a fleet of cars parked in designated bays in local streets without any of the hassle or cost of ownership. There are car club schemes springing up all over the place – and if there isn’t one in your area yet, why not explore starting a community car club in your area, or offer a parking space to an existing club?

Once a member, you can book a car, online or over the phone, for periods upwards of half an hour, and you’re charged according to the length of booking and distance travelled. Members each get a smart card to open the car when they have a booking, so there’s none of the hassle of collecting a conventional hire car.

Commonwheels – a national car club operator that runs community car clubs, and has a  ‘member car scheme’, where members convert their cars into car club cars, and Commonwheels then take on the costs and hassle of maintaining the car and in return, the member gets free use of the car. In the Diocese of Oxford Commonwheels currently operate clubs in Oxford (in association with a local community Car club, Oxcar: www.oxcar.org.uk), High Wycombe and Reading.

StreetCar – a national car club operating in Brighton, Cambridge, Guildford, London, Maidstone, Oxford and Southampton.

Connect by Hertz – is a national car club, which runs the University of Reading Car Club.

For general information about car clubs, and a searchable map of clubs in your area, visit the CarPlus website.

Ever wanted to drive a neighbour’s car? Now you can.

WhipCar is a neighbour-to-neighbour car rental service, that enables you to rent the cars that are sitting idle on your street. It’s like a car club, but makes use of the cars already on your street. Useful for car owners wanting to make the most of your car when it is not being used, or would-be car users looking for a car to use.

WhipCar takes care of all the details (like insurance, screening of drivers, breakdown cover and payment) – to find out more take a look at whipcar.com.

Thinking of buying a new car?

The Greener Car Guide from Start, helps you look for the best driving option for your lifestyle. It goes through all the key options, from hire cars to hybrids, drawing on the wisdom of climate experts, and giving you advice on what would be the best option for your pocket and the environment. The Energy Saving Trust also have a Car Buying Guide, from looking at buying a new or used car, with expert tips on how to buy cars that are better for the environment and why that matters.

top ten smarter driving tipstop ten smarter driving tips

Car clubs – a way to reduce carbon emissions and congestion

If you can’t cover your travelling entirely by public transport, cycle or on foot, you still don’t need to own a car: join a car club instead! Members get access to a fleet of cars parked in designated bays in local streets without any of the hassle or cost of ownership. Once a member, you can book a car, online or over the phone, for periods upwards of half an hour, and you’re charged according to the length of booking and distance travelled. Members each get a smart card to open the car when they have a booking, so there’s none of the hassle of collecting a conventional hire car.

Oxcar's first birthday celebration - Photo: Oxford Mail

One such car club was set up in East Oxford just over a year ago when a local residents’ group, Oxcar, joined forces with a national not-for-profit car club, Commonwheels. An innovative move was to lease suitable cars from residents, which has made a mix of cars available – small runabouts (including new fuel-efficient Polos), medium-sized hatchbacks and a 7-seater MPV – as well as allowing lower than conventional booking rates. Any car that is leased to the club is fitted with the necessary electronics and becomes part of the fleet, available for use by all members. In return the Club takes on the costs of the car (tax, insurance, service, cleaning etc) and gives the owner free driving hours per month (mileage fees still apply). This can offer the owner significant savings. (For anyone living in East Oxford, Oxcar / Commonwheels are looking for more cars to adopt!).

But crucially, this is not just about saving money – it is about reducing carbon emissions. An independent survey of the first year of the East Oxford scheme, conducted by Carplus, showed that with growth to over 200 members and 8 cars (more on the way) each Commonwheels car had reduced by 10 the number of cars on the roads of Oxford. There’s no doubt that more thought is given as to whether a car journey is really necessary. Congestion and dangerous overparking are reduced too! This is encouraging the County and City Councils to offer more parking bays to the car club which, provided there are more offers of cars to lease (or loans to buy new cars – with the promise of a small return on the investment) will attract more members, in turn providing the resources for more cars, attracting more members ….. . A growing success story!

So why not explore starting a community car club in your area? Perhaps, if needed, you could offer a parking place on your church’s property? Join the discussion about Car Clubs in the comments below.

If you want to hear more, you are welcome to Oxcar’s first AGM: Tuesday, 9 March, 7.30pm at the Gladiator Club, 263 Iffley Road (corner of Percy Street) 0X4 1SJ. There will be an opening address by Monawar Hussain, Deputy Lord Lieutenant for Oxfordshire, followed by reports of activities to date and discussion of possible directions in the future. For further details, email: oxcar2@yahoo.co.uk

Or you could go to websites: for information about the Commonwheels Car Club (which has cars in Reading, High Wycombe, and Headington as well as East Oxford): www.commonwheels.org.uk

For Oxcar details: www.oxcar.org.uk (currently being rebuilt and updated) – for details of the car adoption scheme, write to oxcar2@yahoo.co.uk

For general information about car clubs: www.carclubs.org.uk and www.carplus.org.uk