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Creation care: chat about it

by Michael Ford last modified 09 Feb, 2022 04:30 PM

The Revd Trudy Hobson, Team Rector, Upper Wylye Valley Team, has written the first in a series from the Diocesan Environment Group about what to do to care for God’s wonderful creation. First up, how do we talk about climate change?

Think back a couple of years. The news was starting to talk about a virus called Covid-19. Within a very short time we were all talking naturally about the pandemic, its impacts on our daily lives and the economy, and the changing guidelines we had to live with. 

Climate change affects every aspect of our lives, yet talking about it doesn’t come naturally to us. Research by Tearfund found that 90% of Christian teenagers surveyed are concerned about climate change but only 10% thought the Church is doing enough to respond. When it comes to climate change, many young Christians care deeply and passionately, speaking with a directness and a moral clarity that cannot be ignored. They are, after all, the ones who will have to deal with the worst consequences of a warming climate. 

So why aren’t we talking about climate change? For some of us, constant news reports make us wonder about the need to talk about it at all; for others, the subject is so big that we wonder where to start, or it feels so scary that we block it out. Quoting data, numbers, and jargon rarely wins the day. Climate change is understandably a subject that many are reluctant to talk about, and discussions sometimes become rather heated. 

How might we chat naturally about climate change and creation care? 

Ask questions: I would suggest the best place to start is to ask people what climate change means to them. If we want to change hearts and minds, it’s important to seek shared values and passions. 

Church life: We have many opportunities to start conversations on climate change and creation care through prayer, worship, home groups, parish communications, social events, connections, and relationships. Holding climate change and the environment in our weekly intercessions helps keep this in focus. A Lent group can not only deepen understanding and spark interesting conversations, but can also lead to action. For example, in our benefice, after a Lent group using the Lausanne Global Classroom resources for Creation Care, we decided to put an eco-thought in our monthly benefice magazine, resulting in many conversations and appreciative feedback. Many of our churches are linked with church schools: we could invite young people to share their views – and ideas of how their local church can care for creation. 

Seize the day! In our diocese, many churches are the focal point of our villages, ideally placed to reach out to our communities. With restrictions easing, we can begin to hold social events that focus on creation care, the challenges of climate change, and actions that we as parishes and individuals can take. Your Diocesan Environment Group members () are always happy to come along and give a talk/presentation and help get people talking. The Eco Church award scheme has sections dedicated to community engagement and lifestyle which help churches to start conversations and make changes. 

So… let’s have a go at asking ‘What do you think about climate change?’, and let natural conversations and actions flow from that. 

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