God's Green Earth?

Determined to make a difference, the Methodist Church and theUnited Reformed Church have established the Methodist/URCEnvironmental Network. Launched today, this initiative seeks toinspire churches and individuals to take direct action againstclimate change and make a commitment to caring for theenvironment.

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

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

The Network invites churches to become 'Eco- congregations', aproject 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 prayersand sermons and every Sunday there's a 'Green Tip of the Week' forthe congregation. People are also being encouraged to take part inOperation Noah (the churches' climate change campaign) and sign a'Climate Covenant' pledging to take personal action to reducegreenhouse gas emissions and asking world leaders to act to avertclimate change.

The Revd Tom Stuckey, President of the Methodist Conference,devoted his Easter message to Christian engagement on climatechange. He comments that: 'The church cannot act like it is immuneto the challenge of climate change and we must work with ourpartners to effect political and economic change. I have beeninspired by the initiatives I have seen in our churches - there arealready so many exciting stories to be told and some excellentresources to be shared. I welcome this joint initiative with theUnited Reformed Church and hope that many will be encouraged to getinvolved."