This morning’s session of General Synod gave overwhelming support to the London/Truro Diocesan Synod Motion (DSM) on the Church’s environment programme, described in the following Press Release.
Church of England steps up Environment Programme
The Church of England will step up its environmental programme in response to the escalating threat of Climate Change, General Synod voted overwhelmingly today.
A motion brought by the dioceses of London and Truro was approved, committing the Church to accelerating its existing Environmental Programme (CoEEP), and calling on every diocese to put in place an environmental programme overseen by a designated member of the bishop’s staff team.
The possibility of a standard tool to monitor emissions in churches, cathedrals and church halls will also be explored.
Building on the Church of England’s previous initiative ‘Shrinking the Footprint,’ The Environmental Working Group of the Church of England will promote communication and peer reviews between dioceses.
Making his maiden speech, the Bishop of Truro, Philip Mounstephen (pictured) introduced the motion, saying:
“Climate change cannot be a matter of indifference for any of us and we cannot underestimate the seriousness of this.
“Behind this motion is a fundamental desire to see us, as a church, recover our prophetic edge.
“For that to happen I believe we need prophetic people to stir us up.”
The motion, originally debated and amended in July 2018, was moved by Enid Barron, London Diocese, and clearly passed.
“This is a good news headline for the Church and I encourage Synod to vote strongly in favour of the motion,” commented Mrs Barron.
“When we meet with our brothers and sisters from the Lambeth Conference next year, we need to be able to say ‘we’ve heard your pain and we’re doing all that we can, with God’s help, to make a difference.’”
The motion was passed with 279 in favour, 3 against with 4 recorded abstentions.
Synod’s debate on 8 July 2018 and its follow-up are analysed in our recent post Measuring the Footprint, Delivering the ambition? Following today’s vote, we will be particularly interested in the early development of the standard tool to monitor CO2 emissions resulting from churches, cathedrals and church halls. Implicit in the development of such a tool would be external verification of the methodology and independent auditing of results. As the London and Truro dioceses stated in their paper GS 2094A:
“To make a proper assessment of the trend, figures are needed on the same basis each year. Reports need to demonstrate progress towards our ambitious targets. Any level of ambition requires measurement and verification to sustain credibility. But to reach 2020 without a way to ascertain progress towards our public targets would entail a risk to the Church’s reputation, potentially even to the reputation of the Gospel”.