The Diocesan Environmental Group (DEG) encouraging parishes to ‘Care for God’s Creation’.
The DEG believe that care for the environment is fundamental to Christian faith and action. As stewards of God’s gift of creation each of us has a responsibility to ensure that this remains a sustainable world and to respond to the social injustice visited on many of the world’s poorest people as a result of climate change.
To this end as a Diocese we affirm the 5 th Mark of Mission agreed at the 1988 Lambeth Conference which asks all churches to ‘strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and to sustain and renew the life of earth’ as central to our work and mission.
Net Zero Strategy
The Diocesan Net Zero Strategy aims to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2030 in line with the national church's target agreed at General Synod in 2020.
The Diocesan strategy sets sustainability targets for churches, schools, clergy housing and diocesan offices including the off-setting of carbon, installing electric vehicle charging points, using low-carbon heating systems, and optimising energy efficiency of buildings. One of the key goals is for 90% of parishes to have switched to a green energy supplier by December 2021.
The paper outlines six key commitments of the Diocese to:
- take the environmental impact and use of resources fully into account in all areas of work,
- embrace more and more a spirit of Christian joy and fullness of life,
- strive to adapt individual lives to be fully sustainable,
- seek to increase awareness and understanding of environmental issues in local communities,
- accept a wider responsibility towards young people and minority groups,
- recognise that efforts committed will have to be sustained for successors and promote generational change
The full strategy can be read here.
Eco Church and Eco Diocese
In 2019, the Winchester Diocese was awarded the A Rocha Eco Diocese Bronze Award recognising our commitment to good environmental and ethical stewardship. We are now working towards achieving the Silver Award.
To help parishes take practical steps in embracing ‘Caring for God’s Creation’ the DEG recommend participation with Eco Church.
Eco Church offers a free online survey, supported and endorsed by the Church of England, with supporting resources designed to equip your church to express your care for God’s world in your worship and teaching; in how you look after your buildings and land; in how you engage with your local community and in global campaigns, and in the personal lifestyles of your congregation.
The actions you take will count towards a prestigious Eco Church Award at Bronze, Silver or Gold level. Complete the Eco Survey to gauge where your church currently is in relation to the three different levels; you may find you already qualify for an Eco Church Award!
Many parishes are already using eco church, to find out more take a look at this 4 minute film: