Advice from a banking boss, the latest eco-technology in a country church, lifestyle pledges in the North East and a cut-carbon-not-chocolate challenge from church and government leaders including the Archbishop of Canterbury are just some of the ways the Church of England is putting a green stamp on Lent as part of its Shrinking the Footprint campaign.
Ed Miliband MP, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change is joining the Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Richard Chartres, chair of Shrinking the Footprint, and the Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Revd James Jones, to launch Tearfund's Carbon Fast this Wednesday (Feb 25). Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams is also supporting the Fast which is calling for a cut in personal carbon use over the 40 days.
Banking boss Nick Robins Head, of HSBC's Climate Change Centre of Excellence, is one of the high profile speakers at a series of events run in Southwark Diocese (Merton Deanery) at Holy Trinity, South Wimbledon to promote Green Faith in Lent. St Mark's Wimbledon, also part of the deanery, has set up its own Christian Ecology group and has distributed free low-energy light bulbs around parishioners claiming state benefits. The group is also drafting a green-focus leaflet for Christians across Wimbledon with helpful environmental tips.
In Exeter Diocese, St Paul Gulworthy, a 19th Century Grade II Listed building, has installed a new wood-fired boiler using pelleted timber from the local area. Churchwarden Mrs Mary Ann Furze said the small church believed that combating climate change was part of its Christian mission for future generations. She said the project had taken a lot of hard work but everyone was thrilled with the results. Exeter Diocese has also produced new guidelines to help congregations meet 21st Century environmental challenges in ways that work with their historic buildings.
Churchgoers across Newcastle are Treading Lighter During Lent by cutting down on carbon as part of a new diocesan initiative. All churches have been provided with a resource pack which has been handed out to congregations as part of a Lenten drive to encourage 'new habits for holy living'. The Bishop of Newcastle, the Rt Revd Martin Wharton, said: "It's good to see the Energy Saving Trust and the Diocesan Environment Group working together on an initiative that combines practicality and spirituality. The office at Bishop's House will be taking part, and I invite you - either as an individual or as a church - to join us in using Lent as a means of becoming more aware of our own carbon footprints, and of treading lighter on the earth."
David Shreeve the Church of England's environment adviser said: "Whilst Lent is a time of withdrawal, penitence, reflection and discipline it can also be a time to consider these in practical terms. Reducing our demands on finite and often non-renewable resources should be an all-year aim, but it is good to have a special time to take stock of ourselves and our churches as Shrinking the Footprint is encouraging this year."