The Church of England will be marking World Environment Day (Monday 5 June) by taking a further step forward in the campaign to 'green' the Church. All parish churches are being invited to carry out an audit of current energy uses so that a benchmark can be established. Once the size of the current 'carbon footprint' of the Church has been assessed, the campaign will roll out initiatives to shrink that footprint.
In 2005, General Synod debated Sharing God's Planet (Report from the Church's Mission and Public Affairs Council) and, among other things, asked for a report on a measured reduction in energy consumption of the Church of England in 2008. The Synod called upon the whole Church to engage with the issues of climate change and energy use at every level in the Church.
The Bishop of London, the Rt Revd and Rt Hon Dr Richard Chartres, who heads up the Church's Shrinking the Footprint Campaign, strongly emphasized what was at stake during a Synod debate on the environment in February 2005:
"There is spiritual work and there is scrutiny of our own life together in our use of the gifts of creation. The Archbishop of Canterbury has several times pointed out that we have no right to appeal to our contemporaries on this issue if we have failed to put our own house in order "
To coincide with World Environment Day, all dioceses in England will have received an Audit Pack to undertake the required assessment of current levels and types of energy consumption in church buildings in every parish. Church people are invited to promote discussion of the issues locally too. The audit resources are to be issued electronically to keep paper consumption to a minimum.
The Campaign will be supported by a comprehensive website, www.shrinkingthefootprint.anglican.org
Further information from: Alexander Nicoll and Ben Wilson tel (020) 7898-1326 and 07725 277000 David Shreeve tel 07831 387745
Note to Editors: 'Shrinking the Footprint' Measuring our Footprint Audit Pack
The Audit Pack, which has been sent out by email, comprises two main elements: a short questionnaire for the recording of the units of energy used by churches and other essential information; and a mini-audit designed to provide an easy way for parishes to review their activity. It is primarily directed at parish churches, but could be adapted for diocesan offices, bishops' houses, parsonages, schools or other buildings.