Diocese of Portsmouth

    Parishes should model environmental concern

    16 Nov. 2005

    OUR parishes should act as role models of environmental concern in a world devoted to endless consumption, our synod has heard.

    Diocesan synod members heard how God created a web of inter-connected relationships that means all natural species depend on each other. Humanity had become a ‘rogue species’ because it had begun to exploit creation for its own ends.

    Claire Foster, policy adviser to the Archbishops’ Council, said Christians should embrace the Sabbath idea of ‘enough-ness’ as part of its concern to care for the environment.

    “God’s crowning moment was not the creation of humanity on the sixth day, but the fact that he rested on the seventh day,” she said. “It’s a counter-cultural idea that we should stop, give our bodies and give creation a rest. That’s not a case of pausing for breath between consuming things, but diving deep into God’s peace.

    “We shouldn’t just be interested in rushing from A to B, but appreciating that we are in the presence of God at every step.”

    And David Shreeve, co-founder of the Conservation Foundation, urged parishes to embrace practical steps to conserve the environment, with energy-saving light bulbs, ethical procurement and investment policies, recycling and links with environmental projects overseas.

    Synod members agreed to encourage the use of environmental audits in churches and diocesan offices, to ask diocesan boards and committees to respond to ecological challenges, and to set up a group to monitor progress.