The environment and Mission Action Plans
The Diocese of London provides a range of advice and resources to help a parish establish, maintain and implement its Mission Action Plan.
Every church and parish in the Diocese is encouraged to integrate Caring for God’s Creation into its Mission Action Plan.
The Environment and Mission Action Plans
Care for God’s Creation is an essential part of the Christian faith. God commanded humanity to care for His creation (Gen 2:15), Christ is supreme over creation (Colossians 1:15 ff), and He intends to redeem it as part of ‘all things’ (Col 1:23 and Romans 8: 19 ff). If we wish to take part in God’s plan of redemption, we must care for Creation.
Therefore the environment forms part of the mission of every church. It should be represented in its Mission Action Plan.
Aims and objectives
A set of agreed aims and objectives needs to be agreed by the Church Council.
It is not possible to tackle so large a task all at once. Each church needs to evaluate priorities for their importance and urgency in the context of its mission as a whole.
Church of England environmental programme
Shrinking the Footprint is the strapline for the Church of England’s national environmental programme.
In particular, this programme encourages churches to reduce their energy use and carbon footprint, to Net Zero by 2030, and to care for God’s creation in everything they do.
Net Zero is a challenging target to meet by 2030. But it is essential if we are to make our due contribution to tackling climate change.
Diocesan Environmental Policy
The Diocese of London’s Environmental Policy, established in 2010 and revised and updated in 2020, ‘affirms and adopts’ the Church of England’s General Synod motion which set the 2030 target.
Every parish is encouraged to play its part in implementing this policy and reaching the Net Zero target, in a manner appropriate to the circumstances and capacity of the church concerned.
Parish Environmental Policy
Every parish is also encouraged to establish an environmental policy, in line with the Diocese’s policy.
- Does your parish have a parish environmental policy?
- What can be done to introduce/improve or extend/better implement an existing parish policy?
- What should be this Church’s priorities? We can’t do everything all at once! What is most important? What is most urgent?
Parish Environmental Champion(s)
Every parish is encouraged to appoint a person or (maybe better) a small group as environmental champion(s).
- Has your church appointed any person(s) or group to such a role?
Eco Church is a tool to help churches begin to address environmental issues in all that they do. Eco Church was launched in January 2016. It is suitable for all kinds of churches.
Every church is encouraged to sign up to Eco Church, and to work towards gaining an Eco Church award.
Energy and carbon
The Diocese of London as part of the Church of England’s national campaign aims to reduce its energy use and carbon emissions to Net Zero by 2030.
The first step is to record your Church’s energy use, and to enter it in Parish Annual Returns.
Then each church should plan steps to reduce that use, beginning by:
- Reviewing the church’s heating system
- Making sure the lighting is all low energy, usually all LED
- Switching to a green energy supplier.
Transport plays a part in the energy use and carbon emissions we are responsible for in our daily lives, including travelling to and from church.
- How do most church members travel to church to work, during free time, on holiday?
- What can we do to encourage low carbon travel?
Water and waste
Water scarcity remains an issue some of the time in the UK, especially in London and the South-East.
The climate is oscillating between increasingly long or intense periods of high and low rainfall.
London’s water supply is also under pressure from the growing population, and more and more hard surfacing which means the rain cannot reach the water table.
Water purification and distribution also contribute to energy use and carbon emissions.
- What arrangements does your church have to economise on water?
- Do hard areas of your churchyard have porous paving?
Waste disposal contributes to environmental pollution, and also adds to carbon emissions.
The problem of plastic in the ocean has become notorious.
- Is your waste recycled? Who organises/collects/pays?
- Does your waste collection company practise a zero to landfill policy?
Wildlife and biodiversity
Caring for the wildlife even in our urban environment – perhaps especially there – is an obvious part of caring for God’s creation.
- What wildlife is there on your church site/in the neighbourhood?
- What can church members do to care/conserve/encourage it?
Food and drink
- What food and drink is served in the Church?
- What consideration is given to where it comes from, and how it is produced?
- Is your Church using Creation Time (1 September to 4 October) to reflect on environmentally friendly food consumption?
- What more can be done in the longer term – at church and at home?
The Diocese of London is a Fairtrade Diocese.
- Is the Church a diocesan registered Fairtrade church yet?
- What fair trade actions are being taken/should be taken?
Things we buy for the Church
- Paper and/or IT? Which is more eco-friendly?
- What else do we buy? For the church/at home?
- What more can and should we all do to be salt and light in the world we live in, from the environmental point of view?
- How can we help our local community to hang together in the face of challenges to human security and wellbeing?
- How can we play our part with the Diocese’s partners in helping communities elsewhere in the world, especially the developing world, to reduce their much greater environmental stresses and to build resilience?
- How do we avoid getting distracted by our own concerns – however valid and pressing they might be?
- What should we be following up from the questions we’ve been considering?
- What homework should be done/ by whom in the church congregation?
- How should we set our aims and objectives, an action plan and programme, and when to put these to the Church Council?
Information and resources
For advice or more information, contact:
Mission Action Planning
Parish environmental champions
Church of England Environmental Programme
Diocesan environmental policy
Climate Action Programme
Lighting and Energy Use
Heating and Energy Use
Green Energy Suppliers
Conserving water in church and home
Waste collection and recycling
Churchyards for London
Churchyards and wildlife
Food and drink
An interconnected world
The environment around the year.
Environment and sustainability, front page.