A UK church has raised more than three and a half million dollars (£2.5 million) towards building a new eco-friendly and sustainable church building after the congregation declared a ‘climate emergency’ more than a year ago.
The 600 member congregation of St Thomas Anglican Church in Lancaster, took their zealousness to practice “creation care” as an act of social justice to a new level when they announced a three-year plan to radically transform into the greenest churches around. Not only did they announce their intent to aggressively seek to lower their carbon emissions and become carbon neutral, they also launched a newsletter to give members with tips and tricks to live more sustainably, preach on how humankind is daily damaging the earth with their consumptive appetites and started building a new church based on these needs and precepts.
The Church says its goal is to win an Arocha Eco-Church Bronze Award later this year, with hopes of attaining a Silver award by 2023.
In order to achieve such a…high and honorific award, one must be audited on a 100 question exam that asks how frequently and to what degrees the church does the following, among others.
- preaches on environmental issues and incorporates ecological concerns into worship
- how often the children and youth group teach on the environent and green concerns
- measure their carbon footprint and discovber to what degree the church offsets it
- whether or not the church uses LED bulbs
- whether the church uses recycled paper for their bulletins
- if the church incorporates rainwater barrels outside the building,
- if the church has a composting toilet
- if the toilets use water-conserving flushers and tanks
- whether the church has birdfeeders or plant flowers designed to help the bees
- whether they encourage reducing use of cars and vehicles in favor of walking or biking
- whether potluck meals s provided by the church use organic ingredients that are locally sourced and sustainably grown
- whether or not “the church has researched and established a grass mowing regime approptriate to the conservation of the grassland present”
- and about 90 other things
During a recent service, the last pastor engaged in some pretty spectacular bible twisting to explain God’s redemptive plan for the environment and nature:
God…has given us an important mandate to work with him to care for our world. And that’s why our witness as a church on issues of ecology is so important to our mission. Now some Christians are worried that when the church starts to talk about the environment, that we’re jumping on to apolitically correct bandwagon; that we risk distracting attention from our primary calling to tell people about Jesus.
But for me think that a commitment to Jesus commits us to the natural world. Have you ever noticed how the classic gospel in a nutshell passage in the bible take us not just to people but to the ‘whole world’? John 316 doesn’t say ‘for God so loved humanity that he sent his only so.n’ It says that he loved ‘the world’- the whole world.”The
The church building is to be the crowning jewel in their move towards greener worship, with its materials, construction techniques, and with its very design emphasizing its green footprint and low ecological impact. The Vicar of St Thomas’s, the Revd Jon Scamman told church times: “As a church, we believe God has called us to be good neighbors in the city. We’re delighted that this building project has given us new ways to live this out.”
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