11 May 2006

God's Green Earth?

Determined to make a difference, the Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church have established the Methodist/URC Environmental Network. Launched today, this initiative seeks to inspire churches and individuals to take direct action against climate change and make a commitment to caring for the environment.

The Network is supported by a website (www.methodist.org.uk/static/econetwork/) which provides news, resources and useful links as well as detailing the environmental policies of both churches. A bi-monthly e- newsletter featuring articles on climate change, stories from churches who have decided to make a difference and news of upcoming events and the latest resources will also be available. Members of the churches are invited to subscribe and to contribute their own account of action that they are taking in their churches.

The priority for the Network is to connect with those who are active on environmental matters, through work or general interest and encourage people to make the care of God's creation a central part of local church life and witness. The Revd Dr David Peel, Moderator of the United Reformed Church, says: 'Environmental issues are becoming increasingly important, and we are ever more conscious of the need for each one of us to play a part in safeguarding the future of the world in which we live. The particular imperative for us, as Christians, is to be good stewards of God's creation. I am delighted that we are working together with the Methodist Church to encourage practical action."

The Network invites churches to become 'Eco- congregations', a project of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland. One example, Chelsea Methodist Church, has been the first to switch to 'eco-tricity'. Environmental issues feature regularly in prayers and sermons and every Sunday there's a 'Green Tip of the Week' for the congregation. People are also being encouraged to take part in Operation Noah (the churches' climate change campaign) and sign a 'Climate Covenant' pledging to take personal action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and asking world leaders to act to avert climate change.

The Revd Tom Stuckey, President of the Methodist Conference, devoted his Easter message to Christian engagement on climate change. He comments that: 'The church cannot act like it is immune to the challenge of climate change and we must work with our partners to effect political and economic change. I have been inspired by the initiatives I have seen in our churches - there are already so many exciting stories to be told and some excellent resources to be shared. I welcome this joint initiative with the United Reformed Church and hope that many will be encouraged to get involved."

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