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Issue 55 | May 2024

God's Green Fingers Environment E-news

I continue to be bowled over by the passion and faithful service found in parishes across the diocese where individuals, PCC’s and congregations are playing an active part in bringing about the renewal of creation. 

You can, as always, read about some of those people and projects in this edition of God’s Green Fingers, but I wonder who your church eco super star is? Or what has your best environmental project has been over the past few years? Why not celebrate this success by submitting a nominations for one or more of the seven Church Times Green Church Awards, each with a £1000 prize: Green Building, Land and Nature, Congregation and Community Action, Action on a Shoestring, Green Champion, Training and Education, and Green Health.

With World Environment Day (5th June) and Churches Count on Nature week (8-16th June) just around the corner, it is a good time to move outdoors for worship, taking the opportunity to be inspired by the rest of Christ’s creation and draw closer to our awesome creating and renewing God. Our new worship resource provides inspiration for a simple service at a nature reserve and could be used in your own churchyard, local park, or be part of a church day out to one of the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s nature reserves. 

Note: Some of the articles below link to the Church Times. You can read up to four Church Times articles each month free of charge by registering on their website. 

God bless

Jemima Parker

Diocesan Environment Officer

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Public Pledge to Not Invest in Fossil Fuels is Backed by Diocesan Synod

At Diocesan Synod in March, members voted overwhelmingly in favour of a motion presented by the Rt Revd Anna Eltringham, Bishop of Ripon which proposed: “That this Diocesan Synod approves the proposal that the Leeds Diocesan Board of Finance does not invest in companies with significant revenues (i.e. greater than 10%) arising from fossil fuels, in the future”. 

Read more

Churches Raise £57,000 in Give to Go Green Project

Churches across the diocese have raised some £57,000 in just six weeks to help reach carbon net zero, as part of the Give To Go Green project. 11 churches took part in Give To Go Green, a match-funding pilot from the Church of England working with churches to double local digitally-raised donations, to allow for more work on reducing carbon emissions.

Read more

Give to Go Green Round 2 - Get Your Carbon Cutting Project Ready

Following the success of the first round of Give To Go Green in March, the Diocese of Leeds has been invited to take part in round 2. Give To Go Green is a match-funding grant scheme that doubles locally raised donations for carbon-cutting building projects. There are many eligible projects taken from the Practical Path to Net Zero Carbon for churches. Applications will be open in late May. 

Read more

Energy Footprint Tool Open to Help Churches Reach Net Zero

The Church of England’s Energy Footprint Tool (EFT) is now open for churches to enter fuel and power use from 2023. The easy-to-use online tool will tell churches what their carbon footprint is, based on the energy used to heat and light buildings. Make sure your church completes the EFT as completion is a requirement for eligibility for C of E grants to help kick-start net zero projects. 

Read more

New Outdoor Worship Resource

A new resource has been created to support a congregation worshiping in a nature reserve. The materials could be used for a well planned trip or a spontaneous decision to make the most of a summers day and take a regular service outside into the churchyard or local park. Outdoor Worship at a Nature Reserve is a welcome addition to the suite of other outdoor and creation care worship resources on the diocesan website.

Download here

Ripon Church Continues to Care for God's Creation

St Mary’s Embsay with Eastby, a Gold Eco Church, recently took part in Give to Go Green, a national digital match fundraising pilot to help churches raise money for projects to work towards our goal of carbon net zero by 2030. After a couple of years of research and investigation, the church decided to move to a new electric heating system featuring under-pew heating in the nave, and FAR infra-red units discretely wall-mounted in the open areas of the church. St Mary’s are always happy to share their eco expertise, and are running an Eco Church Workshop on Sunday, May 12. 

Read more

New Resources to Help Parishes with Funding for Net Zero Projects

Churches looking to reduce their carbon emissions have received a boost, with new resources to help parishes find funding for their projects. As part of our Saving Creation strategy, the diocese is pleased to share new funding resources prepared in partnership with Action Planning, expert charity fundraising consultants. 

Read more

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Judges Announced for Church Times Green Church Awards

Craig Hogg, ecclesiastical account manager at Green Journey, known to many parishes in the diocese of Leeds, joins Dr Ruth Valerio, global advocacy and influencing director at Tearfund and Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham Usher, lead bishop for the environment among others on the panel. The deadline for entries is 30 June 2024. Who or what church project will you be nominating to receive an award and £1,000 prize? 

Read more

Call Out for Church Carparks for EV Charging Points Project

A new project run by the C of E working with Parish Buying is looking to expand the electric vehicle charging network, generate a modest income for participating churches and help parishes on the journey towards being net zero carbon. Following an information webinar, the project team are now seeking expressions of interest from any church who would consider providing EV charging services either to parishioners or the wider community. The details and webinar can be viewed on the Parish Buying website (register/log in to view full detail) here.  

Lack of Care for Creation Led to Flooding

A Bishop in Kenya has blamed the torrential floods that have killed hundreds in East Africa on a lack of care for creation. Kenya has been particularly badly affected in recent flooding, but torrential rain has also killed many and left thousands homeless in Tanzania and Burundi. The Assistant Bishop of Bondo, western Kenya, Dr Emily Awino Onyango, said: “We have not cared for creation, and these are the effects…. As Christians, I think we need to come back urgently to the care of the creation.” 

Read more

Events and Webinars - Local

12 May Eco Church Workshop

2pm - 4.30pm St Mary's Church, Embsay. Free workshop for anyone who is interested in the Eco Church Award Scheme. Churches at any stage of the award scheme – and those who have not yet started – are all welcome. Numbers will be limited so please book in advance. 


18 May Bradford Cathedral Eco Film Club

6pm. Join us this month for ‘Home’, where photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand (“The Earth From Above”) takes us on a sensational journey over 50 countries providing us with an unusual portrait of our home.


31 May Bumblebee ID for Beginners

10am Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust. Gisburn Forest Hub café. Short presentation indoors on the ecology of bumblebees, and learn some of the key identifying features of our more common species, then outside to see what bumblebees we can find in the meadow and surrounding area. 


31 May / 1 Jun The Wild Coverdale Flower Festival

A simple celebration of spring. Including Sustainable Flower demonstration. 


Autumn 2024 Saving Creation Silver Course

7-9pm online. 8 week course. For those wishing to upskill in their own eco journey or be better equipped to fulfil a Parish Environment Officer or similar role. Express your interest now. 


21 Sep Whole Church and Outdoor Worship

St Stephen's, West Bowling. A workshop to explore the power of outdoor and intergenerational worship for our churches. Join us as we discover how all generations can worship and encounter God together, especially when we go outside and worship in God’s creation.

More details and booking

Events and Webinars - National

15 May Your Voice Heard - Hope for the Future Training

One of the biggest things you can do to tackle the climate and nature crises is speak to your elected representatives to call for policy change. With a general election coming up telling our MPs to put climate change and nature at the top of their agenda is more important than ever. Workshop to help you know where to start. 


22 May Knowing Your Ant from Your Elder

12 noon C of E Webinar. This practical session from Harriet Carty, Caring for God's Acre, will help prepare you for your Love Your Burial Ground Week/Churches Count on Nature event (8-16 June 2024). 


23 May Climate and Nature Bill

7pm Green Christian Online. Hear from Zero Hour and from Revd Vanessa Elston on why and how churches can support the Climate and Nature Bill. 


2 June Environment Sunday

Celebrated on the Sunday nearest World Environment Day (5th June). It is an opportunity to pick up a variety of environmental themes or invite a guest speakers. Some churches like to make this a “walk to church” Sunday. Worship resources are available here.

Green Christian Online Food-focused L_O_A_F Workshops

5 June ANIMAL-FRIENDLY – has the church made any progress?

3 July FAIRLY TRADED – what’s next after the closure of Traidcraft?


8-16 Jun Churches Count on Nature / Love Your Burial Ground Week

Plan your churchyard survey or community activates now. Find an event at a churchyard near you or register your event on the Caring For God’s Acre website. 

More details

10 June Planting Your Tree in the Communion Forest

12 noon C of E Webinar. This seminar with Bishop Graham Usher explores how planting is to hope; restoring is to heal; and protecting is to love. Find out more about the global Communion Forest initiative. 


11 June Your Church - Your Swifts

12 noon C of E Webinar. Find out more about the swift, which often nest in churches. Edward Mayer offers lots of practical tips and easy to follow advice to helping to protect this wonderful bird. 


12 June Ancient Yew Trees

12 noon C of E Webinar. This talk will provide clarity on Yew biology, best-practice management and dispel myths and misconceptions around these ancient trees. With Chris Knapman and Russell Ball.


13 June Solitary Bees

12 noon C of E Webinar. Of the 280 bee species that are native to Britain and Ireland, around 250 are ‘solitary’. Brigit Strawbridge will explain the differences between social and solitary bees, and introduce you to some of the diverse and fascinating solitary species you might find in your gardens, local burial grounds or other green spaces.



14 June Blueing the Church

12 noon C of E Webinar. There are 24 dioceses with coastal boundaries totalling 2,663 miles. Through this webinar David Curry will encourage churches to think and talk about our ocean and its inhabitants, their coastal boundaries and enable them to be as cognisant of the importance of ‘blue’ (marine) issues as well as green issues.


19 June The Affluent and the Climate & Nature Crises: A Focus for Advocacy and Hope

7pm Green Christian Online. A talk by Ian Christie of the Centre for Understanding Sustainable Prosperity (CUSP)

“The climate crisis and the destruction of biodiversity affect the poor and vulnerable of the world disproportionately. And the rise in greenhouse gas emissions and large-scale development are driven disproportionally by the interests, decisions and values of the most affluent people on Earth. This means, among hundreds of millions of people, me.” 



New: Outdoor Worship Resource

A new resource has been created to support a congregation worshiping in a nature reserve. The materials could be used for a well planned trip or a spontaneous decision to make the most of a summers day and take a regular service outside into the churchyard or local park. Outdoor Worship at a Nature Reserve is a welcome addition to the suite of other outdoor and creation care worship resources on the diocesan website.

Download here

Churchyard Toolkit

This new toolkit for parishes offers a helping hand to make the most of your churchyard. Whatever the size and context of your churchyard, this God given piece of land, has the potential to be cherished and to serve the church and the wider community. It offers guidance on things to consider for each type of churchyard use e.g. when developing a quiet garden, a heritage hub or a energy generation hub.

Read more

Inspiration for the Church of England Net Zero Carbon Programme 

A new video resource had been created by the Church of England Net Zero Programme team to help engage parishes and dioceses with the Church Commissioners £190m net zero investment programme. Hear how it is possible for every parish to start on this journey and why it is a critical part of our mission. Screen to your PCC or congregation.  

View here

Green Journey Fact Finder Webinar

Find out what the Green Journey energy buying scheme could offer your church. Switching to a renewable electricity tariff is a quick win on every church’s pathway to becoming net zero carbon. There are many different renewable energy providers and tariffs for businesses that your church can choose from. The Green Journey is provided by specialist energy consultants who, in the video, explain the current energy market and the package of services they offer churches. 

View here

New: Eco Church Poster

Brighten up your church notice board and let your congregation and community know what you are up to on your Eco church journey with this new ready to print poster. 


Eco Funding Support

A suite of resources is available on the diocese of Leeds website to help you plan and deliver your church creation care plans. Watch the webinar on Planning & Delivering Your Net Zero Carbon Fundraising Appeal, use the template Case for Support document to gather all your funding information in one place and review the lists of grant funders to see where you might be able to best find the funds you need. Read more.

Funding Opportunities from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is a central pillar of the government’s levelling up agenda and provides funding for local investment by March 2025. Alongside businesses, community groups, cultural and voluntary sector organisations are being invited to apply for a share of funds. There is a decarbonisation stream for net zero projects as well as other community project funding. More details for North Yorkshire and West Yorkshire

Magazine Magic

A ready to print magazine article for your Parish Magazine!

"I Make You Hear New Things"

Diana Chambers explores what Isaiah’s words might be saying to us and checks if we are really listening. 

Read the article here

More magazine articles?

All our eco magazine articles are archived on the Diocese of Leeds Environment Magazine Magic webpage.

Click here

Eco Top Tips

Find a weekly top tip here for your parish newsletter:

Year 1

Year 2

Book Reviews

Check out our archive of environment book reviews here.

Comedy Corner

If we don’t laugh we’ll cry: helping you through the grief of ecocide...

"I don’t have a carbon footprint. 

I just drive everywhere."

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