CIRCUIT END OF YEAR ECO ROUND-UP
The eyes of the world were on the UK in 2021 as both hosts of the G7 talks and COP26. Whilst there were intentions set to reduce the use of coal, end subsidies to the fossil fuel industry, increase financial support to those already affected by climate change, there was little firm commitment or a timeline as to when this would happen. The good news is that COP26 agreed to meet again in 2022 rather than wait another 5 years so we need to keep the pressure up with our elected representatives for firm action to be taken.
The Methodist Church in Great Britain also made a significant commitment and has agreed to divest from all existing investments in fossil fuels. This also applies to monies held by local churches with the Central Finance Board.
As many of you will be aware, at the beginning of 2021, the Chelmsford Circuit created an ECO strategy – a list of our intentions to focus on caring for God’s creation. As the year comes to an end it’s helpful to look back and see what has been accomplished during that time.
How did we do in 2021? These were our goals.
- 50% of Methodist churches registered as ECO Churches.
Update – Of the 8 Methodist churches in the Circuit, 4 are registered, including 2 that have bronze awards and one pending. Of the 5 LEPs 3 are registered.
- Create a Circuit ECO committee/team comprising one representative from each church and a Circuit Steward responsible for circuit environmental issues to look at practical steps, grants available etc.
Update – We have held regular Zoom coffee mornings every couple of months and the Circuit has been well represented. Some churches have identified ECO champions. A Circuit Steward with an ECO ‘brief’ has been appointed.
- Establish an annual circuit ECO Sunday.
Update – Many churches used a climate theme for their Harvest Festival and a Circuit Youtube Climate Sunday service was broadcast.
- Implement training for local preachers and worship leaders to inspire and assist them address environmental concerns in worship either through occasional or regular inputs to worship.
Update – The type of training needed has been raised with local preachers and worship leaders. Access to outside training is proving difficult. Carried forward to 2022
- Every Church Council and Circuit Meeting to include ‘Caring for God’s Creation’ as an agenda item.
Update – This is now happening at the Circuit meeting and hopefully at your Church Councils too.
- Each Church to debate divestment from fossil fuels in addition to a Circuit debate on divestment.
Update – Trinity Church made a commitment to divestment in October 2020. The decision of CFB to divest has largely meant that this has been done in all churches. However, it would also be helpful and a significant declaration to our communities if individual churches were to commit to divestment and not to invest in fossil fuels in the future. Carried forward to 2022.
- Encourage church members to engage with local environmental issues and to take personal responsibility as part of their Christian discipleship.
Update – through preaching, teaching and the development of the Circuit ECO strategy, members are being widely encouraged and supported to do this. Please let us know your personal stories of how you are engaging with local projects or any lifestyle changes you have made.
- All churches to share what environmental steps they are taking in Church and Circuit magazines/websites and social media.
Update – This is happening but we could always do more! Don’t be shy. By telling others about our commitment we are sharing the gospel – the good news.
Thank you for all your hard work, enthusiasm and prayer regarding this matter. There is still much work to be done to heal our planet and we will be considering how we can build on this work into 2022 and beyond.
ECO Circuit Steward