It is with great pleasure that we can announce we are now a Bronze Eco Diocese!
This is down to the dedication and hard work of our registered Eco Churches. The number of Eco Churches has gone up from 16 to 61, nearly one third of all our churches. 24 of those Eco Churches have awards: 15 Bronze, 8 Silver and 1 Gold. Sheffield Cathedral and Church House have recently gained their Bronze awards. We needed over 10% of churches registered and more than 5% with awards, and are well over that target!
Alongside the work in our churches, the environment and Diocesan teams have been working hard to qualify as a Bronze Eco Diocese. This included commissioning the DEO and Diocesan Environment Working Group to lead the work, an environment policy, our eco communications, ethical investments and including environmental issues in ongoing training. We also committed to develop a plan for carbon reduction and are working to promote environmental care across schools in the Diocese. We’ve worked with partners including other Dioceses and regularly celebrate and promote Eco Church.
As part of that celebration, on Saturday 9 September we are holding an Eco Church Celebration at Sheffield Cathedral. It starts at 11am and ends with a service from 2-3pm with Bishop Pete to celebrate and thank our Eco Churches. We will also mark the season of Creationtide, the time in our church’s calendar dedicated to God as Creator and Sustainer of all life. Creationtide is a time for reflection on the miracle of creation, God’s gift for God’s world. The season has created a special, sacred space for this precious earth, drawing attention to the needs of the earth, a time to discover God’s mission in and through creation.
All are invited to enjoy Eco-themed stalls with a Fair Trade Stall provided by Good Taste. There’s activities and crafts for children with face painting. Space for prayer and reflection is provided. Music Workshops from Steel City Choristers take place at 11.10am and 12pm, learning a piece to sing in the 2pm service. There’s a demonstration of sustainable flower arrangements from renowned local florist Jonathan Moseley at 11.30am-1pm.
Dr Cathy Rhodes, Diocesan Environment Officer, said:
‘It’s wonderful to see the dedication to caring for God’s creation shown by church communities in Sheffield Diocese in the three years I have been volunteering as Diocesan Environment Officer (DEO). Our 61 Eco Churches committed to show they care for God’s world in their worship and teaching, care of land and buildings, lifestyles of the congregation, and community and global engagement. Every small step can help, and it is inspiring to see new Eco Church registrations and awards as the months go by. I’m so proud of the varied churches from all over the Diocese who have joined the Eco Church community in the face of many challenges, not least the pandemic. I’m very thankful for the support from Bishops Pete and Sophie and the Diocesan team, especially Sally Hunter who does fantastic work as environment project support.’
‘The Fifth Anglican Mark of Mission calls us to “strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth”. But the nature and climate emergency can feel overwhelming, with extreme weather and the loss of nature around us as a result of human action and inaction. While lamenting and repenting of what has happened to God’s world, as Christians we are people of hope and can join together in this mission. I believe Jesus calls us to take action and work for climate justice as we show love for future generations and our neighbours across the world, who did the least to cause this crisis.
Isaiah 41:10 says: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” I thank God for the strength shown by our Eco Churches and all who are committed to caring for God’s earth.’
You can get Eco Church advice from A Rocha UK and our first Gold Eco Church, St. Mark’s Broomhill & Broomhall, with a display of Creation Tapestries by members of St. Mark’s. There’s more information about the event here:
Info on Eco Church here: https://ecochurch.arocha.org.uk/