Monday, 31 August 2009

Songs of Praise BBC TV/ Green Christians

Judith Allinson has pointed out that Songs of Priase on Sunday evening features a programme entitled Green Christians.

You can watch it for another 6 days in the Iplayer

It features
* the 12th C church at Sleaford's new solar panels on the roof - dedication service
* a good interview with Ruth Valerio of Arocha * Martin Palmer of Alliance of Religions and Conservation
* Mary Colwell (formerly of BBC Natural History Unit)

* Jessica Randell (from Bradford) and Joseph Carrick's Green Wedding
(again)- with a brief shot of Sam..

* The song "Beauty for Brokenness" by Graham Kendrick - With the ONLY ecological verse which makes it into a "green song"(verse 5 of course) missed out. Crazy. but typical - I've had my hopes raised and dashed before in several services.

This hymn is now in the extended version of Mission Praise.

Here is verse 5:

5. Rest for the ravaged earth
Oceans and streams
Plundered and poisoned
Our future, our dreams
Lord, end our madness
Carelessness, greed
Make us content with
The things that we need .

The whole song can be heards in a beautiful film in YouTube.

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Friday, 21 August 2009

Green Believers

On the 20th of August The Scotsman wrote an editorial on the Eco-Congregation Scotland Proposed Travel plan. Adrian Shaw, Climate Change Project Officer wishes to respond to some of the issues on the editorial. He has written this letter to the Scotsman.

"Your editorial (20 August) quite reasonably points out that travel to huge events such as football matches will have a far larger carbon footprint than the average Sunday congregation. Indeed, the carbon footprint of Tuesday's events at Parkhead and Hampden Park must have been enormous.
But we should practise what we preach and the Church of Scotland wants congregations to lead by example; to look first at their own carbon footprints and take action to reduce them.

So we hope congregations will think about the energy used in their churches, in their homes, in how they shop and in how they travel. And all those members of eco-congregations who travel to football matches (yes, we think it may just happen) can consider how they join the throng in the least carbon-intensive manner."


The picture of letter-writing was taken by A.drian.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Prayer Day endorsed by the Right Rev. William Hewitt

the Right Rev William Hewitt, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has sent us this statement encourging congregations to join in a Prayer Day.

"Climate change is one of the greatest challenges we face in the twenty first century. The Church of Scotland is responding to climate change by asking all presbyteries to monitor and reduce their carbon footprint and I am delighted to join churches elsewhere in Britain and Ireland to call upon all congregations to join in prayer on the 4th October.

Particularly we would pray that world leaders and governments everywhere are alive to God's will; that we understand our duty of care for creation; and put aside our selfish interests to help all people in all countries become good stewards of creation."

Please join us the 4th of October in prayer.

The Travel Plan Quick Reference Guide

Well, it has gone public... the Travel Plan for congregations has arrived.

One of the things that is worth thinking about when contemplating the reduction of the carbon footprint of your church is that it is not just your church buildings that carry an energy cost. it is also the way we as members of the congregation make choices about the way we travel. Yup it is about lifestyle.
The Travel Plan was the brain-child of Mathew Eastwood from VIPRE who with the support of the Energy Savings Trust examined the role that congregations play in the life of their communities and their potential impact in rallying grassroots support for a greener lifestyle.

The report stresses that places of worship are important to the community as a place of worship, but also as a meeting point or the "civic heart" of a community since it acts as a centre for a wide range of community-based acitivities.

However, as a meeting point, people have to travel to it and the way we travel can create congestion, and yes, you guessed it, carbon emissions. The Travel Plan Quick Guide for Faith Groups encourages people to think abot the way they travel to their place of work and encourages them to look for greener options.

The beauty of the travel plan is that each travel plan is tailor made to suit your particular community. How does it do it? By encouraging members of a congregation to observe the way people travel to church; by recording the transport facilities available to travel to church and by exploring ways where there is scope for change in travelling habits.

The plan recognises that is not possible for everyone to cycle or walk. The Travel Plan is based on the premise that there might be a possibility for changes and improvement in the way people use transport.

Here are two challenging questions
What would your congregation like to change or improve?
How will your congregation make those changes or improvements?

The Travel Plan identifies the answers to these questions and helps you implement some simple and inexpensive measures to help ensure your congregation's travel is as easy and as convenient as possible.

Incidentally, the Travel Plan has received a lot of media attention. Have a look at The Scotsman and Christian Today and The Herald.

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Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Module 13 soon to be formally launched


Do you know how to measure and reduce your church’s carbon footprint? Eco-Congregation Scotland can help you!

Eco-congregations across Scotland can now quickly and easily measure the carbon footprint of their church buildings. Eco-Congregation Scotland is launching a new module that has been developed to help congregations of all denominations respond to climate change. The module has been developed after a programme of meetings with congregations across Scotland earlier this year and with financial support from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA). It brings together for the first time a number of important concerns:

• why Christians must respond to climate change
• a simple tool for congregations to work out the carbon footprint of their church buildings
• a challenge to congregations to commit to cut their carbon footprint by 5% each year

Why is it important to know your carbon footprint? Most eco-congregations are now aware of climate change from reports in the news papers and on television. However from our research we learned that very few people know how much energy was used in their church buildings; how big their carbon footprint could be or how they could take action to minimise their own contribution to global warming. Knowing your carbon footprint is a vital step to help take action.

Module 13 explains how this can be done quickly and accurately. It shows, in easy steps, how to work out from electricity, gas or oil bills the annual carbon footprint of a building; and how to find out advice and information to reduce this total – and save money. Advice and possibly funding is available through the Energy Saving Trust or Climate Challenge Fund to help you do this.

We are now encouraging congregations across Scotland to register as eco-congregations and to join this movement to respond to climate change. Please go to the Eco Congregation Scotland website where you can also download a copy of the module. Please click here to download a copy. . Alternatively ring Aniko Schuetz for more information on 0131 240 2274.

Films about Eco-congregations in YouTube

We have posted in YouTube a film about the way 2 Scottish Eco-congregations have responded to the challenge of taking care of our environment. The films present very practical examples of looking at the ways in which we use energy and the choices available to help reduce our energy consumption. However, it is not just about energy, it is also about gardening, involving young people and having fun as a congregation. It is really heart-warming to watch. Have a look at the films by following this link.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Going through the roof!!! Climate Change Conference

The following letter and conference announcement was sent to us by Martin Johnstone, Priority Areas Secretary.

For many of us making ends meet and paying the bills in our churches is a huge and ongoing challenge. And that challenge has become consistently more difficult in recent years when heating and lighting bills have seemed to be going through the roof – much of the time quite literally.

When we add to the problem of escalating costs the concern which many of us have about the huge damage that we are doing to our environment it is clear that we need to do something – and soon. The General Assembly this year instructed all congregations to cut their carbon emissions by 5% annually – a massive challenge but a vital one. I want priority areas to be at the forefront of taking up that challenge.

To help us to do that, the Priority Areas Committee and the Church & Society Council are co-hosting a one-day conference on the 5th September in Colston Milton Parish Church from 10am – 3pm. We hope that up to four members of your congregation can come along. During the day we will learn:
v What our congregation’s carbon footprint is and what we can do to reduce it
v How to access a variety of funds which will help us to meet the challenges of climate change
v Who to get advice from as we try to cut your energy bills year after year
v Where exciting things are happening and how we can join in
v How our faith and worship can inform and inspire our practice

Amongst those who will be helping us to think and act creatively will be: Adrian Shaw (Climate Change Officer, Church of Scotland), the Wise Group, Kate Airlie (Climate Challenge Fund, Scottish Government), Eco-Congregations, Colston Milton Parish Church, and many others.

We expect there to be a heavy demand for places at this event so I would encourage you to book as early as possible by contacting Lynne MacLellan and fillinf out the application form. The conference is free.

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Monday, 3 August 2009

EU strategy on Climate Change and Sustainablity

The EU has recently published a reflection on about the EU Sustainable Development Strategy (SDS) and the way in which this strategy should evolve in the future and be better aligned with other cross-cutting EU strategies.

The Commission particularly stresses the need to find greater synergy with the Lisbon Strategy for growth and jobs, which will be reviewed in 2010. The report calls for better coordination and linkage between climate change, energy, financial and social sustainability - policy areas covered by both strategies.
You can find the full report by following this link into the website.

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