Church of England Diocese of Newcastle Longframlington with Brinkburn

St Mary's and the Environment

As Christians we give thanks for the world that God created, and we recognise our responsibility to do our bit to take care of it.  As yet we have not formalised our own environmental policy, but the PCC is setting up a group considering how to implement the Church of England General Synod's call for all parishes to achieve carbon neutrality, and as a first step the PCC has registered with the A Rocha Eco Church scheme.  Watch this space - and contact Virginia Armstrong either direct or through this link if you'd like to be involved.

An important aspect of the global environment is the global  warming that is leading to a climate crisis, caused by human activities, including carbon emissions.  Most of our emissions at St Mary's are from our heating.  We have an old, beautiful but thermally inefficient building.  To achieve temperatures in the church that are comfortable for 21st century humans beings, we have to use a lot of heating, which is currently oil-fired, and therefore has a heavy carbon footprint.  Our electricity consumption, mostly for lighting, is relatively small by comparison, but as we purchase our electricity through the Church of England Energy Basket all the electricity we use is from renewable sources: see certificate below

The Church of England has made an historic commitment to achieve Net Zero by 2030

This means ensuring that our activities will create no more carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases than we take out of the atmosphere.  This is a huge challenge, but one that Longframlington PCC has agreed to accept.  We have no idea how precisely we will achieve this, but along with other congregations in the Deanery and Diocese we are joining the Eco Church scheme run by A Rocha.  Watch this space for more news - and contact us at [email protected] if you have relevant expertise or ideas or would like to help in any way.

Churches Together are promoting Climate Sunday this autumn.  

‘The current [coronavirus] crisis has changed the way we see the world. It has reminded us of the fragility of life, exposed the gap between rich and poor, and revealed the damage we’ve done to the wider creation. But it has also helped us love our neighbours and brought communities together,’ says Tearfund’s Director of Global Advocacy, Ruth Valerio.

Time is running out.  We’re seeing the effects of the climate crisis around the world where we work. Prolonged droughts, erratic rainfall and deadly flooding. People are losing their loved ones, homes and businesses. It’s also putting millions at risk of hunger as crops fail and food prices surge.

The climate crisis is a disaster that the church cannot ignore. The church has an opportunity to be the prophetic voice that’s needed and bring salt and light to this issue. It must stand alongside our global brothers and sisters who are being pushed further into poverty because of this crisis.  Please do join us in prayer.

What are we doing about it here in St Mary's?

For several years now, under our electricity contract, the supplier sets off the carbon involved in generation against carbon credits,and we have a certificate to prove it!  But of course most of our carbon footprint is down to our oil heating.  We aim to address this issue and be essentially carbon neutral by 2030, by a combination of low carbon fuels and heating used only where it is essential.  But there is far more we can do in our church and in our community, so St Mary's has established a committee, led by Virginia Armstrong, to encourage us all to adopt a greener lifestyle and to encourage nature as well as saving energy.  We have registered with the A Rocha Eco Church scheme and are gradually addressing their very comprehensive criteria.

A prayer from Pope Francis

Bring healing to our lives, that we may protect the world and not prey on it, that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.
Touch the hearts of those who look only for gain at the expense of the poor and the earth.
Teach us to discover the worth of each thing, to be filled with awe and contemplation, to recognise that we are profoundly united with every creature as we journey towards your infinite light.
We thank you for being with us each day.
Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle for justice, love and peace.
Amen

Much of the material on this page is abridged from an article on the Tearfund website.  For the full version click here

Green_Energy_certificate_2019_St_Marys, PDF

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