Deanery Calls For Disinvestment From Fossil Fuel Companies

Revd. Dr. Darrell Hannah Rector of All Saints’, Ascot Heath explains about a move in Bracknell Deanery to call for the Church of England to disinvest from fossil fuel companies and how you can help…

In Febraury 2014 General Synod of the Church of England voted overwhelmingly in support of the Church strengthening its work on the environment, and made clear Synod’s desire to see this include the Church’s ethical investment activities and ensure the investment policies are ‘aligned with the theological, moral and social priorities’ of the Church on climate change.

Building on this support in February 2014 Bracknell Deanery passed a motion urging the National Investment Bodies of the Church of England to disinvest from Fossil Fuel companies. The motion was an amended version of a motion which originated in the PCC of All Saints’, Ascot Heath.

When the motion was first introduced to the Deanery Synod, in December 2013, there was much uncertainty over the issue of disinvestment. So a special meeting of the Deanery Synod, but one open to non-members, was organised to explore the issue. Speakers on various sides of the issue were invited: Bishop David Atkinson and Mark Letcher, both of Operation Noah, and Dr James Corah, of CCLA. This proved to be a very informative evening.

Before the Deanery Synod met again, in February, I wrote the following paper – Download the proposal for Bracknell Deanery Synod here – and after some debate the motion was passed. In the House of Clergy there were five votes in favour, one against and five abstentions. In the House of Laity there were thirteen in favour, three against and four abstentions.

The motion will now be considered by Oxford Diocesan Synod at its November meeting – and we are calling for other deaneries to pass similar motions in the run-up to diocesan synod. If you would like to explore doing that please do be in touch with me using the contact form below.

This is part of a wider movement and the Bright Now campaign is calling for people to sign a petition and write directly to the Church Commissioners in the Church of England.

Contact Revd. Dr. Darrell Hannah Rector of All Saints’, Ascot Heath

Reconnecting church and earth in the 21st century – 29th April 2014

The Bishop of Dorchester is hosting the “Reconnecting church and earth in the 21st century” event at Dorchester Abbey on Tuesday April 29t 2014, 10am to 3.30pm.

In the biblical story of creation in Genesis the writer pictures humankind being formed from the earth and at the same time given responsibility for the creation. That theological metaphor shapes and determines the Christian’s understanding of our relationship to and stewardship of the earth. The purpose of our gathering will be to discover afresh how the church can continue to connect with the issues facing the land and the environment, and particularly build a partnership with the earth trust.

During the day we shall hear about the work of the earth trust at Little Wittenham, an update from the Environment Adviser, Matt Freer, and an introduction about the new Thames Path Pilgrimage from Sarah Meyrick (Strategic Adviser to the Bishop of Oxford and Diocesan Director of Communications).

The Bishop of Dorchester explains that: “The idea for this event arose after an excellent visit I had to the Earth Trust last autumn. I am keen not only to link the work the Earth Trust is doing with our churches and church schools in the diocese. I hope this event will go some way towards building stronger links. I hope you will be able to join me for this day!”

Full details here.

To book your place please contact Glyn Evans – the Diocesan Rural Officer – by April 11th using the form below:

General Synod to debate climate change and environment

A large group of organisations have joined together to welcome the debate on climate change and the environment taking place at General Synod on February 12th.

A Rocha UK, Christian Aid, Christian Concern for One World, Christian Ecology Link, Climate Stewards, CTBI Environmental Issues Network, the John Ray Initaitive, Operation Noah, Progressio, the Quakers, the Speak Network and Tearfund have joined together to encourage General Synod to address this debate with the utmost seriousness and support the proposed motion, and we commit themselves to supporting the Church of England and relevant bodies in their future endeavours.

The motion, proposed by Southwark Diocesan Synod, which will be debated on Wednesday 12th February is:

‘That this Synod:

(a) recognising the damage being done to the planet through the burning 
of fossil fuels;
(b) aware of the huge reserves held by gas, oil and coal extraction industries;
(c) committing itself to taking seriously our Christian responsibility to care for the planet (“the earth is the Lord’s”);
(d) acknowledging the financial responsibilities of the Church’s national Investing bodies; and
(e) noting that a review of recommended ethical investment policy with regard to climate change has been begun by the Church of England Ethical Investment Advisory Group (‘EIAG’):

(i) call upon the national investing bodies to ensure that their investment policy (including the option of disinvestment) is aligned with the theological, moral and social priorities of the Church which find expression in the reports “Sharing God’s Planet” and “Church and Earth 2009-2016” and in the “Shrinking the Footprint” campaign;
(ii) call upon the EIAG to publish the report of its review by the end of 2014; and
(iii) agree to the establishment of a General Synod Working Group on the Environment, to monitor this and other environmental issues.’

In the run-up to the debate congregations are being encouraged to get in touch with their Synod representatives to tell them about the joint statement and ask them to support the motion. (The list of members (Bishops, clergy and laity) can be found here and a helpful sample letter/email is given here.).

People are also taking to Twitter using #GSClimate and @CofEGenSyn to show the C of E the support they have for taking action.

You can follow the General Synod debate on twitter and through a live video stream.

Plough Wednesday – 15th Jan 2014

PLOUGH WEDNESDAY 2014

January 15th 2014 10am – 4pm at SADDLEBACK FARM SHOP – BERKSHIRE

An opportunity to join with others in the Diocese of Oxford to learn about rural and agricultural issues.

Organized by the Diocesan Rural Team. Details below:

Church energy audit scheme launched

St. Peters Church

  • Does your church struggle to keep the heat in your building during the chilly winter months?

  • Would you like the building to be warmer, more welcoming AND cost less money to run?

The Diocese of Oxford and the Trust for Oxfordshire’s Environment (TOE2) have developed a grant scheme to provide churches with expert energy efficiency advice tailored to their building, aiming to help PCCs to save money and run buildings more sustainably.

The scheme is restricted to 24 churches in Oxfordshire, and churches are invited to apply for the first round of the grant scheme by the end of October 2013.

“This scheme is such good news! Increasing energy efficiency in church buildings can seem a daunting project. We need to juggle the different comfort levels for a variety of users with the historic nature of our buildings, whilst keeping costs down.

“Now, thanks to this joint scheme, we can offer churches in Oxfordshire access to expert advice, tailored to their buildings and use, which will make them more comfortable and energy efficient, and reduce not just the carbon footprints of our church buildings, but also energy bills.”

Bishop of Dorchester, the Rt Revd Colin Fletcher

Further information

* Update – Nov 2013: The scheme is now full and we are currently closed to new applications. Register an interest by contacting TOE2 and the Diocesan Environment Officer, using the details below, and we will alert you when the scheme re-opens for new applications. *

The scheme is adminstered by TOE2. To apply complete the application form and return it to Fiona Danks at TOE2.

For further information contact Fiona Danks at TOE2 on 01865 883488 (Wed and Thurs only), email toe@oxonrcc.org.uk or visit www.trustforoxfordshire.org.uk.

To discuss audit options for churches outside Oxon contact Matt Freer, the Diocesan Environment Officer.

How the scheme works

The scheme will provide a grant towards the cost of an energy audit that will be carried out by qualified staff from Sustain (www.sustain.co.uk), who will make a site visit and then write a report with detailed recommendations of ways to improve energy efficiency and reduce costs.

Sustain is a carbon reduction company which advises on practical ways to reduce energy and carbon emissions. They have extensive experience of carrying out  energy audits on a wide range of buildings and have particular experience of working with listed buildings and historic places of worship. Sustain will work with the DAC to ensure recommendations are in line with current guidelines.

The total cost of each audit is £660. The available grant is £540 – and so the church is asked to provide the balance of £120.

In the case of very small churches (Electoral Roll below 30) an additional subsidy will be given by the Diocese of Oxford to halve the cost (ie the church only pay £60).

Following an audit, churches may apply to TOE2 for a grant of up to £5,000 to support any of the recommended improvement works.

> Printable version of this information

This grant scheme has been made possible thanks to the support of: the Patsy Wood Trust, the Beatrice Laing Trust and Charlie Laing.

www.oxford.anglican.org/environment | www.trustforoxfordshire.org.uk

Photo: St. Peters Church by JonoTakesPhotos, on Flickr

2013: A year of food – Food Matters

Food Matters is a new project from the Diocese of Oxford to help churches reconnect with the seasons, celebrate festivals, and explore global and local food related themes.

Food Matters starts with a launch event from 7.30pm on 24 January in Oxford when four exceptional people – Roy Lambourne (farmer and agricultural consultant); Mike Rayner (priest and public health expert); Ruth Valerio (theologian, author and activist); and Paul Valentin (international director of Christian Aid) will speak about “What Food Means to Me.”

Please do join us for this event – details and registration at: www.foodmatters.org.uk/launch-event/

We’re also asking people to share what food means to them as Christians. See what others have said and add your thoughts on the Food Matters website at: www.foodmatters.org.uk/what-does-food-mean-to-you/

Join the Food Matters mailing list to receive an email about the first Food Matters resource at the end of January called “Preparing the Ground” and focussed on winter. Three further resources will follow in the year –  ideas for celebrating festivals and with opportunities to reflect; to pray; to “grow your own”; to share local and global stories; and to take action for a fairer food system for all.

Find out more and join the Food Matters mailing list at www.foodmatters.org.uk.

 

Earthing Faith Gathering – 8 November 2012

 What does it mean to care for the earth in our current climate?

An evening to explore theology and the environment with reflections from Margot Hodson and response from Mark Laynesmith.

  • Revd. Margot Hodson is author of Cherishing the Earth and Vicar of the benefice of Haddenham
  • Revd. Mark Laynesmith is the Anglican Chaplain at the University of Reading

When: 7-9pm, Thursday 8 November 2012

Venue: The Village Centre‎, High Street, Chinnor, Oxfordshire OX39 4DH – map

* UPDATE *

The recordings from the gathering are now available to download or listen to online using the player below:

Download: Mark Laynesmith – mp3
Download: Margot Hodson – mp3

Earthing Faith’s Cloudcasts on Mixcloud