Diocesan Environment Officers from across the Northern Province, including our own Jemima Parker, were the guests of the Archbishop of York at Bishopthorpe Palace recently.
In a Eucharist service the Most Revd Stephen Cottrell spoke of how climate change was the greatest threat for humanity and all of God’s creation at the moment.
He talked of his own experience of much more frequent flooding at Bishopthorpe, with the River Ouse running behind the house, and how the Lord’s Prayer reminds us that we have “trespassed against our neighbours” in taking more than our fair natures resources.
Over a delicious plant-based lunch the environment officers and the Archbishop discussed various areas of concern, and he encourage an open and honest dialogue on how the church can lead in environmental care and mission.
The assembled group heard inspiring stories from two local churches in areas of urban deprivation on how they were integrating outreach into their communities with creation care, meeting local people’s spiritual, mental and physical needs through nature.
The Rt Revd Dr John Thomson, Bishop of Selby, who has chaired the national Net Zero Working Group, and the Rt Revd Dr Eleanor Sanderson, Bishop of Hull, were also present.
Bishop Eleanor spoke of her experience in New Zealand and the impact of rising sea levels which are already a reality for churches in the Polynesian Islands and of how significant areas of land around Hull will be lost to the sea by 2100.
Jemima said: “It was very encouraging to be affirmed by Archbishop Stephen and to know that he understands the significance of the climate crisis.
“There are many challenges for our churches and church schools in reducing our carbon emissions, but there are opportunities too.
“Many people in our communities are seeking leadership in how to act to be more sustainable, and as people of faith we are well placed to offer guidance and encouragement to care for God’s people and God’s planet.”