Hope for the Future campaign

Hope for the Future is a UK wide campaign aimed at getting realistic climate change policies into the manifestos of the main political parties ahead of the next general election, May 2015. 

The campaign has been started by the North East and Yorkshire Anglican Diocesan Environment Officers Group, and is being put forward as a national and ecumenical initiative.

Hope for the Future encourages church congregations to run ‘Climate Write-ins’ – encouraging people to write individual letters to their MP’s and prospective parliamentary candidates, asking the politicians how their party will incorporate into their manifesto the legally binding carbon budgets to reduce emissions in the UK up to 2027, and plan investment in a low-carbon future for the UK, as recommended by the government’s independent advisor, the Committee on Climate Change.

They are also recruiting and deploying ‘Climate Ambassadors’ to visit churches and encourage them to hold these ‘Climate Write-ins’, strategically targeting key constituencies.

After the ‘Climate Write-in’ people are asked to write follow up letters responding to MP’s replies and lobby them at their surgeries.

For further details and resources visit www.hftf.org.uk.

Environment and Hope – latest edition of Anvil Journal

Revd. Margot Hodson tells us about the Environment and Hope project…

Serious issues about the environment seem to be in the news on a regular basis. This combined with the lack of progress on international climate change negotiations, have led many people with environmental concerns to lose hope.

Three years ago Margot Hodson and Ruth Valerio met up and realised that their hope was also running a little thin. As speakers, their hope had become less proximate and more eschatological. In other words it had changed from “we can fix it” to “it will all work out OK in the end”. Thus began the “Environment and Hope” project. They first gathered a small group of theologians, scientists and activists in Oxford in October 2011 to thrash out some ideas.

In May 2012, they held a much larger meeting called “Communicating Hope” at High Leigh Conference Centre, with 60 people, many of whom are involved in communicating the news about climate change and other environmental problems to Christian audiences. The keynote speakers included theologian Richard Bauckham, and Andy Atkins, the Executive Director of Friends of the Earth. We then needed to publish all this material, and it was Richard Bauckham who suggested that it could go into a special issue of Anvil, the theological journal.

The “Environment and Hope” volume was published online on 5th September 2013, around three years after Ruth and Margot Hodson began the process. All the papers are open access and are FREE to download at the journal website: www.anviljournal.org

Anvil (Volume 29, Issue 1, September 2013, pp. 1–129) contains the following articles:

  • Margot R. Hodson: Editorial: Discovering a Robust Hope for Life on a Fragile Planet.
  • Martin J. Hodson: Losing Hope? The Environmental Crisis Today.
  • John Weaver: Exploring Hope. Richard Bauckham: Ecological Hope in Crisis?
  • Archbishop Thabo Makgoba: Hope and the Environment: A Perspective from the
  • Majority World.
  • Andy Atkins: Communicating Hope in the Real World.
  • Bishop Geoff Davies: Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (SAFCEI).

Revd. Margot Hodson is author of Cherishing the Earth and Vicar of the benefice of Haddenham

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

Do the Math film in Oxford – 24th Sept

There will be a FREE screening of the Do the Math film at the UPP on Cowley Road at 9pm on Tuesday 24th September to which everyone is welcome.

http://www.uppcinema.co.uk/index.php?/film/do_the_math/

The film, made by 350.org, is a compelling, fast-paced 42 minute documentary about the grassroots movement that is emerging to fight climate change and the fossil fuel industry. It is upbeat and inspiring, proposing powerful solutions and urging ordinary people towards organised action in the epic struggle of this century.

The screening will be followed by a discussion about ways to take action against climate change with invited speakers from exciting Oxford-based campaigns and groups including the UK Tar Sands Network, Global Power Shift and Climate Outreach and Information Network. I will be launching a campaign to persuade the local authority to pull investments out of fossil fuels (working along the lines of the divestment campaign that helped dismantle the apartheid regime in South Africa). I hope people will feel inspired to sign up to groups and join campaigns.

There is a facebook event here for those of you who enjoy that kind of thing: https://www.facebook.com/events/208575845978242/?context=create

The screening is organised by Al Chisholm and sponsored by the handmade cosmetics shop LUSH

Water Justice – Creation Time 2013

Searching for safe water

The Churches Together in Britain and Ireland have one again out together new resources for Creation Time 2013 – this year the theme is ‘water justice’.

The resource includes materials for a service, Bible notes (that use Amos 5.24 and John 4.15 (the woman at the well) as a starting point, as well as pointing to other biblical resources), and a Virtual water cube activity demonstrating how much water it takes to produce many of the foods we eat regularly.

Download the resource pack and find out more at: http://www.ctbi.org.uk/CJBF/653

Home – A Rocha’s Resource Pack

A Rocha’s 2013 Environment Resource Pack for churches is now available from arocha.org/resources. The pack contains a flexible service order (suitable for adult and all-age worship), sermon, group Bible study, prayers, children’s resources, songs, ideas for further activities, and a presentation on coral reefs as home to many marine species.

This is what A Rocha says about the theme:

Where is your home? Many Christians have been taught that our ‘real’ home is in heaven. Yet, the Bible actually says that God’s home will be with humanity (Revelation 21:3), and God calls us to put down roots and bear good fruit in the places where we’ve been planted. A Rocha’s 2013 Environment Resource Pack on Home provides resources for churches to celebrate their local area – the human and wildlife communities they share it with – and to seek ways to be involved in caring for their homes.

The pack is designed to be used on Environment Sunday (7 June 2013), at Harvest, Creation Time, or any other suitable occasion.

Download it for free at arocha.org/resources

Forest Church

wythamday034

Forest Church is a fresh expression in nature, drawing on contemporary research that highlights the benefits of spending time with nature in wild places and much older traditions when sacred places and practices were outside.

The idea provides for a fresh way of connecting with God in nature, and local groups are springing up all over the place, including in the Diocese of Oxford.

Forest Church registered groups:

Not yet registered groups:

  • Forest Church group in Carterton – has been exploring outdoor and bushcraft skills, led by Rev. James Maddern (meet at the Metal Horses, Kilkenny Country Park, nr Shilton Park, Carterton. All welcome, no experience required). Current plans: 6th July 2014 2.30pm – 3.30pm Forest Church Communion and 20th July 2014 2.30pm – 3.30pm Forest Church Activity Party

Find out more about Forest Church – and if there is a group near you – at www.forestchurch.co.uk. There is also a lively Facebook group, as well as a book (see below) full of resources, practical advice and theory to guide you in nature connection and in setting up a group.

Forest Church: A Field Guide

The guide book, Forest Church: A Field Guide to Nature Connection For Groups and Individuals by Bruce Stanley, introduces readers to the idea of nature connection and Forest Church and provides a plenty of ideas and inspiration for anyone thinking of starting a Forest Church.

Copies of the book can be ordered for £7.95 on the Mystic Christ website.

Here’s what others have said…

Bruce Stanley’s easy to read, inspiring, practical book is written with his skills as a life coach and a naturalist to the fore. He takes spirituality beyond its traditional confines of building and doctrine to a new kind of church that is earthed in experience of the outside world and the One who made it. His refreshing, inclusive and enthusiastic approach is timely and will speak to today’s hunger for a church that can reach wider and touch deeper simply by starting with the ground we stand on.
Tess Ward, Chaplain and author of The Celtic Wheel of the Year.

I sense that ‘Forest Church’ by Bruce Stanley will become a vital textbook for many of us who long to reconnect faith, being human and the natural world. Drawing on his own extensive experience, insights from other nature-experts and the spiritual practices of those who have never forgotten our belonging to the earth, this ‘Field Guide to Nature Connection’ engagingly offers a wealth of insights, ideas and resources to enable us to participate with nature. Time to get out into the forest!
Ian Adams, author of Cave Refectory Road and Running Over Rocks.

Don’t read this book if you’re not ready to be surprised – and quite possibly delighted. Our alienation from the natural world is well documented, and Bruce Stanley offers tried and tested ways to explore the connection, whether in urban park or remote forest – with the possibility of personal renewal and even encounters with the divine.
Olive Drane is author of Spirituality to Go, Fellow of St Johns College Durham, England and Affiliate Professor at Fuller Theological Seminary, California.