Ecology Link's Web Editor writes:
I attend a little Methodist Church in a remotish part of the Yorkshire
Dales. You may attend a Roman Catholic Church in London, or a Free Church
in Scotland, or an Orthodox Church in Romania, or a .................
in ........... (fill in gaps as appropriate) How
are our churches connected?
We probably, as individuals, are both concerned about looking after the
environment. What are our churches doing to care for the environment?
This Webpage attempts to answer these questions. Comments
and suggestions are welcome
There are many different denominations in Britain. The larger denominations usually have paid officers who specialise
in different jobs. Responsibility for environment issues is often just
one of several other jobs that that have to be done by an officer who
has responsibility for "Church and Society" or for "International Issues".
By 2003, Each Diocese In the Church of England now has an Environment
Liaison Officer. (Sometimes referred to as ELO or DELO). This is usually
an unpaid post and the person doing it may be a clergy-person and or a
lay-person with a strong interest in the environment. Their job, in part,
is when asked, to advise their Bishop on environmental matters. In 2007 Claire
Foster, did this but she has now left. Now (2009) contact David Shreeve. There is a list of Environmental Officers in 2007 (and email addresses) so you can find your DELO. They may welcome support.
In some mainland European Countries there are Church Environment Officers
whose sole responsibility it is to deal with environmental issues.
In 2000 this was not not the case in the UK, but by 2007 most UK churches now have such a national officer, doing this job at least part-time..
You could try and find out who has responsibility for environmental issues
in your denomination in the UK by asking someone high up in your denomination.
Go to the UK Christian
Handbook Website to find contacts for your denomination.
(On this website a Methodist Page and a Catholic
Page have been set up. However these two pages do need updating and
suggestions for input on them are welcomed.)
The Creation Challenge website (Methodist and URC website) was set up in in April 2006 with about 5 newsletters a year.
Bodies have been set up to facilitate links and joint ventures between
denominations at all levels, from the world level, down to the level of
The World Council of Churches
The World Council
of Churches (WCC) has its Offices in Geneva, and caters for Protestant
and Orthodox Churches. It has a Justice, Peace and Creation "Cluster" the environment section of this
focuses on Climate Change, Globalisation and TRIPs.
David Hallman the WCC Expert on World Climate Changewent to The Hague
in November 2001 and has written a
paper for this meeting. The Justice, Peace and Creation Unit produces
a twice yearly magazine called Echoes which sometimes focuses on environment issues and can be read online
Europe: CEC and CCEE
of European Churches (CEC) also is for Protestant and Orthodox Churches.
Its office is at Geneva. It has good relations with the Council of European
Bishops' Conferences (CCEE) which is for Roman Catholics. CEC and CCEE
had an Assembly in Graz in Austria in 1997 (at which CEL had a stall):
it was the Second European Ecumenical Assembly. The
Assembly made several environmental recommendations - see points 5.1 to
5.4 in their document
CCEE had a Meeting about the environment held in Celje, Slovenia in May
In September 2007 the Third European Ecumenical Assembly took place, in Sibiu, Romania. 2500 delgates attended.
Partly as a result of the Meeting at Graz, The
European Christian Environmental Network (ECEN) was set up for church
environment officers, and others, throughout Europe. ECEN meets about
every 18 months. Individual ECEN members tend to belong to one or several
coalitions, and communicate mostly with members of that coalition ..e.g
Tourism Coalition, The Climate Change Coalition etc.
Coming down to the British level:
Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI)
What is CTBI? The following
is extracted from their website:
CTBI is Churches Together in Britain and Ireland. It is one of the instruments
the Churches have created to enable them to work together, and to co-ordinate
the work they do separately. Its particular remit covers things it makes
sense to do in common across more than one of the nations which make up
Britain and Ireland. By "Britain and Ireland" it means England, Scotland,
Wales, Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. Why is it Britain and
Ireland, not just the United Kingdom? Because the Irish Churches all cover
the whole of Ireland, not just north or south. So they can only be partners
in a body which does the same.
What does CTBI do?
Twice a year it brings together senior representatives of the Churches,
and every two years a much larger Assembly is held. Between those times,
it nurtures a host of different networks helping the Churches co-ordinate
and share their work in ten key areas: one of which is: Church
and Society: (Responding together to social, political and economic
concerns where the Churches want to have a voice.) One of the responsibilities
of Church and Society is the environment, and this is dealt with in the
Environmental Issues Network:
The Environmental Issues Network
EIN is a forum for representatives of churches in membership of CTBI and
other Christian organisations to consider environmental and ecological
issues, both national and global It has three day meetings a year, usually
in London. The meetings are attended by officers/representatives of the
different church denominations. These officers have responsibility for
the environmental issues as part of their work (as mentioned in the denomination
part of this section). For example Donald Bruce on behalf of the Society,
Religion & Technology Project of the Church of Scotland. CEL sends a representative.
In September 2007 Rev David Bookless took over as Moderator (Prof 'Sam' Berry had been moderator.) Ken Austin is Secretary. The officers share whatever news and issues their churches
are involved with. (As far as I know) the Network has a total lack
of finance, other than that the officers are usually paid by their churches
as part of their job to attend, and one organisation pays for the secretarial
At National Level there are Churches
Together in England (CTE), Churches
Together in Wales (CYTUN), Action
of Churches Together in Scotland (ACTS) and
the Irish Council of Churches (ICC)... (In 2000 their web sites
seemed to have much about the environment, but it is changing now).
At Intermediate Level there are Regional
Churches Together Organisations, e.g. Churches
together in Lincolnshire. Some of these may produce an annual newspaper,
or have a website, but the regions differ. The Churches Together in Cumbria is due to launch their website on climate change in the Week of prayer for Christian Unity 2009
At Local Level there are Churches Together in "Your local town". Sometimes
these can be quite active, organising joint services for special occasions,
such as Remembrance Sunday or One World Week. In Settle we had a special Easter Pilgrimage
for the Millennium. CEL would encourage its members to offer CEL leaflets,
especially ChurchLink leaflets to other Churches in their local Churches
Independent, mostly ecumenical, Christian Environment Organisations
e.g. Christian Ecology Link, A Rocha, JRI, SRT, CRUC, Justice and Peace
Groups, Eco-Congregation, Tearfund, CAFOD, and others.
Much of the information about these can be found in the Weblinks
Page and Resources Page and most recently (Oct 2009) - EIN October 2009 report
There are also - thankfully - individual Christians working to look after
the environment, both within their churches and separate from their churches.
Keep it up!