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Going green poses "unique challenges" for churches

by Michael Ford last modified 31 Jan, 2020 01:08 PM

Bishop Nicholas has said our churches pose some "unique challenges when it comes to energy efficiency."

Going green poses "unique challenges" for churches

Original photo courtesy Adrian Powter

Speaking in advance of a General Synod motion that calls on all parts of the Church of England - from parishes to national bodies - to aim for ambitious year-on-year reductions in CO2 emissions to reach “net zero” by 2045 at the latest, Bishop Nicholas said:

“The Church of England has buildings in every architectural style and material from the past 1,500 years, posing some unique challenges when it comes to energy efficiency.

“However, churches are not museums; they are living buildings which serve their communities every day of the week, and being greener isn’t about doing less, it’s about equipping parishes to get smarter about energy consumption.

“Setting a ‘net zero’ target of 2045, five years ahead of the Government’s target, would nonetheless represent a significant statement of intent by General Synod, one which will require innovation, faith and dedication from our churches, schools, and communities.

“Christians are called to safeguard God’s creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth. Faced with the reality of catastrophic climate change, which will affect the world’s most vulnerable people the soonest, radical and immediate action is our only option.”

Members of General Synod will debate the motion on the “climate emergency and carbon reduction target” on February 12th.

The motion sets out a commitment to regular updates on the Church’s progress and in a first step, parishes are being offered a new energy rating tool to help monitor the carbon footprint of the Church’s almost 40,000 buildings. The tool is similar to those used for household appliances and calculates the building’s energy consumption, taking into account factors including the type of power it uses, whether it is on a ‘green’ tariffs, its size and usage.

A paper sent to Synod members also outlines the potential impacts of climate change directly affecting the Church.

Access it here

It warns parishes that, as impacts start to accelerate, more churches will need to be prepared to be play missional roles in their communities, including offering sanctuary in extreme weather events, as was seen at the church of St Cuthbert, Fishlake, following flooding of the River Don last year.

Synod, which meets at Church House Westminster from February 10 to 13, will also debate motions on the legacy of Windrush, the Church’s ministry among children and young people, and a call for an end to so-called “paupers’ funerals”.

There will also be a morning dedicated to discussing the Church’s response to the recommendations of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA).

Access all the papers here

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