Hereford Diocese: Carbon neutral by 2030

Published on: 25th January 2021

Hereford Diocese sets out environmental plan to become carbon neutral by 2030

Image of a droplet of water on a blade of grass, background blurred.

Over 90 church leaders and environmental activists came together online in late November 2020 across Herefordshire and South Shropshire to lay out an ambitious environmental policy to obtain Eco Diocese status by the end of 2021. This followed the Church of England announcement, endorsed by Hereford Diocese to work towards net zero carbon by 2030.

Andy Atkins, Chief Executive of A Rocha UK, an environmental Christian charity said: “Covid has been terrible, but climate change will make the pandemic look like a blip.”His comments during were made during his opening address to the online conference delegates.He stressed the importance of encouraging more people to act now, reminding people that there was no time to waste and that re-building post Covid-19 “provides a real chance to make changes to the economy that will lessen the impact of climate change.”

The Rt Revd Richard Jackson, Bishop of Hereford who also addressed the online conference, emphasised the point adding: “We can look at the issue of climate change and feel utterly paralysed by it, but people taking leadership and direction in local communities can really begin to turn things around.The cumulative effect of every action makes a significant difference to the overall impact.”

To the north of Hereford Diocese, St Laurence’s Church in Church Stretton is one of the early leaders in the Diocese.The church achieved its Silver Eco Church award in December 2020. Churchwarden Marion Shuttleworth explains: “The award is a real encouragement for our church family who have embraced the environmental challenge with practical action.We have used builders and renovators to restore and upgrade parts of the church so that the building is more energy efficient. Our children’s leaders have been engaging younger people in our local community and schools, helping them to learn about caring for God’s creation through our Muddy Church events and we have a monthly prayer climate group who meet to pray about environmental matters in our church and for the world.In recent years, our music team have led worship themed around creation - all of which complements the preaching and teaching we’ve received as a church. It really is God’s family in action.”

The Diocese of Hereford is working with organisations and local authorities such as the South Shropshire Climate Action Group, the Herefordshire Green Network, Farm Herefordshire and the Herefordshire Local Nature Partnership to encourage and resource Church of England parishes in the Diocese of Hereford to care for creation and respond locally to the global climate crisis.

The Church has a biblical basis for caring for the Earth, which God made for his glory and his people’s enjoyment. Climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing the Earth and its people today, and will impact on every aspect of human life and the natural environment.

Since setting out plans to become an Eco Diocese in September 2019, 33 churches across Herefordshire and South Shropshire have signed up as Eco Churches with 8 gaining Bronze awards and two silver awards. The conference gave a further boost with eight more churches signed up to the programme. The Diocese is on target to achieve its Bronze award by the end of 2021.

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