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Resources for Churches
Our network encourages churches to put our care and concern for creation at the heart of our church life. There are numerous really useful resources to help you in doing this.
"For Christians, respect, love and care for God's amazing creation are so important. In our churches we need to give more priority to this, and indeed to lead the way in responding to numerous environmental concerns. I'm delighted that the new Christian Environmental Network can help provide guidance and inspiration for churches around the Marches."
The Rt Revd Richard Frith, Bishop of Hereford
When planning a service to focus on issues concerning the environment and climate change you might like to consider these times:
- Harvest (October)
- Rogation tide (May)
- Conservation Sunday (first Sunday in June)
- Feast of St. Francis, Patron saint of ecology (4th October)
- Creation Time (September 1st to the second Sunday of October)
"The season of Creationtide is a time for Christians throughout the world to pray, reflect, and act on issues related to the care of all of Creation, the environment and the world in which we live."
Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, Bishop of Salisbury
Useful bible passages:
- Psalm 104:24-31
- Psalm 65
- Isaiah 35:1-10 and 41:17-20
- Matthew 14: 22-33 (Jesus calms the storm)
This adaption of Psalm 104 from Operation Noah provides a responsive reading with inspiring photographs
Here we have a collection of hymns containing themes of creation.
Green Christian have a number of sermon outlines on different topics and by different contributors which provide much inspiration
A Rocha have a number of service packs on a variety of topics. They do request a donation if their materials are used.
You can also find an outline for a harvest communion service from Germinate.
Green Christian produce an excellent and informative monthly prayer guide
- A Celtic Prayer from the Iona Community
- Pray and Fast for the Climate have a climate prayer vigil with 80 prayers, readings and reflections. This can be used as a vigil or prayers extracted for other uses.
- The Earth is the Lord’s
Here are some ideas to use with youth and children, who are readily encouraged to express their concerns about the environment which they are inheriting.
“How is the church going to inspire the next generation to follow Christ if we don’t get climate change ‘right’? Simon Ross, MEA and M-CENT
Operation Noah have some excellent resources for children and youth including ideas for action, for worship, drama and school assemblies
A simple activity for children to help them engage with nature is to plan a treasure hunt. This needs to be in a safe area with sufficient adults to ensure children stay within defined boundaries. For example you could use a churchyard, a park, a garden, a school playing field etc. Give out sheets with 10 items to find – these will depend on the area and the time of year but for example:
- The biggest leaf
- The brightest flower
- Something slimy
- The knobbliest twig
- The cutest bug
- Something smelly
- Something strange
- Something bright red
- Something yellow
- Something spiky
If you are encouraging the collection of live creatures, provide some ground rules and containers. As you look thro their findings, there are all kinds of opportunities to talk about the natural world, and the children will be fascinated by what they find.
A prayer walk provides a very special activity for a group. It helps to highlight all sorts of positive concerns about the environment and climate change. Select appropriate things to pray for in your own local area and rearrange the suggestions. Add in new ones too that are relevant.
During 2018 four members of the congregation formed an environment group as a sub-committee of the PCC. We recognise that, as Christians, we are contributing to environmental degradation, and feel we are called to respond. The four of us have supported each other in the process with tasks willingly passed around, based upon our skills and time available. We have installed LED lighting in the church, lagged the boiler pipe and have obtained approval in install PV panels on the homes of three of our clergy.
Nine ways to live gently
Green Christian have a really helpful leaflet called ‘Nine ways to live gently’. It's an excellent way of sharing a range of positive tips on how to reduce our contribution to climate change. Here is a summary of these lifestyle tips. How many are you following?
There are so many ways in which churches can encourage a practical response to caring for this amazing creation. Here are some stories of what people have been doing around the Marches:
A keen member of St Laurences, Church Stretton put together some facts, figures and quotes regarding installing PV panels on their south facing Parish Centre. This was in 2009 when Feed In Tariffs were extremely generous. There was a lot of caution among members of the PCC given the cost of installation, but the treasurer, on studying the figures carefully, was most positive and his view swung the balance. The business went to a new local company who did the work with enthusiasm and installed free of charge a display panel to show the power saved. A year of two later the treasurer commented that it had been the best investment the church had ever made! Several church members were impressed too and followed suite on their homes.
The Social Responsibility Group at St John’s called together other groups in the area and formed the Bishops Castle & Clun Climate Change Coalition. We have a talk or lecture one month and a business meeting the next to deal with any issues or actions that members suggest action on. Talks have included Transition Towns and climate and theology.
Ludlow Friends Meeting House has its burial ground at Newlands in Leominster. Friends run the grounds under the Caring for God's Acre project. The land is left as a sanctuary for wildlife. No chemicals are used. The grass is left uncut for part of the year with paths cut for access, with shrubs and trees all round. We have a log pile, bird nesting boxes and a compost heap. (two photos)
“We need to arrive at a place in which we all take personal responsibility to make whatever changes we are called to. At the same time, we need to pledge ourselves to corporate action. The environmental crisis is enmeshed with global economic injustice and we must face our responsibility as one of the nations which has unfairly benefited at others’ expense, to redress inequalities….” (Quaker faith & practice 25.13)
There are a huge variety of ways in which local churches can show their response to climate change. Here are some ideas which have been used in the Marches:
A group at St Nicholas Church, Oldbury in the Bridgnorth and Morville Group has been working with ‘Caring for God’s Acre’ since 2015, to enhance an area of grassland for wildflowers and butterflies.
The grassland, which lies at the end of the church car park, is crossed by a public footpath and the potential for enhancing it for butterflies was suggested by a local resident. As previous agricultural land, the area has a prominence of coarse grass species and the aim is to reduce the vigour of the grass so wild flowers can become established with less competition from the grass.
We are doing this by cutting and raking off the grass to remove nutrients and reduce the fertility of the soil, and by introducing yellow rattle, a flower previously common in hay meadows. The yellow rattle weakens grass growth by obtaining some of its nutrients from the grass roots. We are also adding a range of other wild flowers as seed and young plants.
The “Caring for God’s Acre” group do a main cut of the grass with scythes in July, (after most of the wild flowers have set seed) and the cut grass is raked up and removed from the site. Additional cuts are done in the spring and autumn as required. Wild flowers are gradually becoming established on the area and a range of butterfly species have been observed including orange tip, green veined white, gatekeeper, holly blue, small tortoiseshell, speckled wood, red admiral, peacock and ringlet.
Quizzes and Games
Carbon Trading - Cap and Trade systems for ‘trading carbon’ are not easy to understand. This is a game that really helps participates to understand what the system is all about. Its not an easy ready but playing it really brings it all to life for the participants!