Diocesan conference members have voted unanimously for the Diocese of Swansea and Brecon to move towards becoming an Eco Diocese.
The conference, held this morning at Brecon Cathedral, “gave us huge food for thought as well as plenty of encouragement”, Archbishop John said.
Eco Diocese is an initiative to encourage diocesan-level engagement with Eco Church, and promote local church participation in the scheme.
The motion stated the diocese would progress towards registration by:
- Ethical investment of diocesan funds.
- Promotion of shared car use, or public transport where possible, and sustainable transport.
- Achievement of the bronze Eco Church award level in relation to its diocesan offices.
- A policy on the environmental maintenance of vicarages.
- A routine for recording achievement.
- Getting 5% of churches to register as eco churches before December 2019.
- Getting 10% of churches to register by Diocesan Conference 2020.
- 5% of churches gaining the bronze award by Diocesan Conference 2020.
- Embedding environmental issues within the curricula of its ongoing ministerial education.
- Scrutinising faculty applications for positive environmental action.
You can watch a video, which was presented to conference, about how our churches are making a difference and playing their part in tackling the environmental crisis below.
The conference also heard from ministry area development officer Tim Hollingdale, who gave a “snapshot of where we are and how we’re going to move on from here” with ministry areas.
A copy of Tim’s presentation will be available soon in the diocesan bulletin.
There was also a presentation from Faith in Families‘ Sharon Atkins and Dr Sian Miller about the work the charity is doing in its local communities – from the St John’s Centre in Brecon to its three Swansea cwtches – and the challenges it is facing.
Conference also heard about its Brighter Futures initiative which is giving children opportunities to be the best they can be, delivering intensive support, play and learning activities for children and their parents.
Conference closed with a presentation from Open Doors’ Rev Roger Faulkner. Open Doors works in over 60 countries, supplying Bibles, training church leaders, providing practical support and emergency relief, and supporting Christians who suffer for their faith. In the UK and Ireland Open Doors works to raise awareness of global persecution, mobilising prayer, support and action among Christians.
Archbishop John said the conference had “given us some extremely interesting and some very challenging things”.
“The conference unanimously passed a motion about care for the environment, the importance of us becoming an Eco Diocese. It’s easy for us to tick the box and say we care about the Creation, but not so easy for us to understand what we can do, but we were given lots of extremely helpful advice.
“Tim Hollingdale presented us with some very interesting and very insightful information about the response his role gets around the diocese. He reminded us of just how rich a diocese we are in terms of talent, resources and opportunity.”
Describing Faith in Families as “in the DNA of the diocese”, Archbishop John said: “It was a very challenging and interesting presentation about the way in which, as a Church through them, we engage with some of the most deprived communities in our diocesan area.
“There are huge needs, where families and young people are struggling, and statutory services don’t always provide what is needed and where, frankly, others have to start to fill the gaps.”
Rev Roger Faulkner’s presentation had, he said, “reminded us that there are huge areas of the world where it is a crime to be a Christian, where people risk their lives for following the ways of the Lord Jesus.
“Those two presentations, Faith in Families and Open Doors, reminded us sometimes of just how easy it is to forget what a challenging life people in other places lead and maybe how comfortable we are in the way we lead our lives.”