Chelmsford Cathedral is committed to caring for the environment and has put in place an action plan to ensure that we can achieve our goals.
In September 2021 we achieved the Eco Church Gold Award. Chelmsford Diocese is committed to being Carbon Neutral by 2030 and is working hard to achieve that across is churches and schools.
Christians believe that the whole world was made by our Creator God. He blessed what He had made and said that it was good (Genesis 1). The natural world has intrinsic value, of itself it glorifies God. The whole of creation praises God in its very existence:
Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
praise him in the heights!
Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his host!
Praise him, sun and moon;
praise him, all you shining stars!
Praise him, you highest heavens,
and you waters above the heavens!
Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for he commanded and they were created.
He established them for ever and ever;
he fixed their bounds,
which cannot be passed. Psalm 148
The experience of living through the Covid-19 pandemic has changed, hopefully long-term, the way that we relate to our natural environments. Change has had to happen across the Cathedral’s activities, and in all areas, during a time of crisis, but it has also created lots of opportunity which has helped us not only to achieve the Gold Eco-Church Award but also enabled creative and eco-friendly ways of working.
Significant changes were made by the cathedral’s operations team to support sustainability across the estate and help achieve the cathedral’s pledge to be carbon neutral by 2030. The team has ended the use of disposable cups and plates, overseen the installation of LED bulbs in the cathedral itself and the purchase of renewable electricity and motion sensor lighting. In tandem the congregation were encouraged to take their own eco surveys and make changes to go green at home.
While change was taking place in the Cathedral buildings, new green initiatives were also being developed in other areas of cathedral life. The introduction of Muddy Church encouraged the community to explore local ecology with hands-on sessions including ponddipping and vegetable growing. Children attending a new weekly family service in Guy Harlings Garden created bug hotels and bird feeders to help native wildlife thrive and in partnership with the RSPB an action plan was agreed to encourage birds into the grounds.
A special community art project ‘Lament and Hope’, encouraged reflections on pandemic experiences through the making of recycled fabric postcards. The project and subsequent interactive exhibition held in the cathedral revealed how much nature has been essential in helping people during the crisis and the deepening appreciation of the natural environment. The cathedral was amazed at the range and number of postcards submitted and that so many referenced local walks, landscapes and birds.
Canon Imogen Nay
Imogen would love to talk to you about your Eco Church Journey. Do get in touch.
Rev'd James Gilder, Diocesan Environmental Officer.
James is putting together a strategy for the diocese in preparation for making the diocese carbon neutral by 2030, as agreed by the national church synod.
Humans are part of that natural world, not separate from it; our health and well-being depend upon the health and well-being of the whole of the created world. It is in our best interests to care for, love and respect nature. We should be humble before it not proud and conceited. God has placed limits on what we should take from nature, respecting that it too needs fallow time, that not all the land should be cultivated for food, and that we should leave space for animals and the poor to take what they need from the land. (Leviticus, 23:1-22, 25:1-24).
#Waveofprayer2020 Members of our churches from all around Chelmsford Diocese recorded video-prayers for the season of creation which runs from September 1st to October 4th each year. Listen to the inspiring wave here: #waveofprayer
Greening the Church Online Conference
On the 13th June 2020, Chelmsford Cathedral hosted its first ever online conference: Greening the Church. The aim of the conference was to learn about environmental issues and to hear about the Eco Church Scheme run by A Rocha, a Christian environmental charity. Occurring during an international pandemic as it did, focused the minds of the participants and presenters, as we considered how we might imagine a new, greener world, post-lockdown. There was a sense that there was a unique opportunity to make lasting changes. The day was recorded and all the videos from the day can be viewed online here.
Sustaining God’s Creation: Food and Farming
Saturday 12th June on Zoom
Organised by the Eastern Region Cathedrals.
The cathedrals’ conference is the first event in a new initiative: Sustaining God’s Creation. Starting with a focus on food and farming, it will look at these key aspects of life in East Anglia in the light of the Christian faith and the role that both individuals and the church can play in living more sustainably.
Opening the conference will be the Rt Revd Graham Usher, Bishop of Norwich, who has recently been appointed to lead the Church of England’s Environment Programme. The speakers include Dr Hilary Marlow, affiliated Lecturer in the Faculty of Divinity at the University of Cambridge, Revd Professor Simon Oliver, Van Mildert Professor in the University of Durham, Revd Professor Mike Rayner of the University of Oxford who is Chair of Sustain, and Jake Fiennes, Director of Conservation at the Holkham Estate in Norfolk.
To hear recordings from the day please see the Sustainable Living Conference website.
Caring for Creation
The scientist and theologian 20th May, 7.30pm on zoom.
Join Dr Jon Hawkings and Canon Imogen Nay in conversation about climate change and what we can do about it.
Dr Jon Hawkings is an environmental biogeochemist. He graduated with a MSci degree in Physical Geography from the University of Bristol, where he ‘fell in love with ice’. In 2015 he gained a PhD in Glacial Biogeochemistry, with research based on the Greenland Ice Sheet. He took part in three post doctorate projects at Bristol and in 2018 he was awarded a Marie Skłodowska Curie Fellowship from the European Commission, researching the role of glacial freshwater on downstream ecosystems. Jon has undertaken research in Svalbard, Greenland, Antarctica, India, Chile, and the Bahamas. Rapidly melting ice has severe implications for sea level rise, terrestrial and marine ecosystems, the Earth’s energy balance, and by extension human lives – the coldest regions of the planet will affect us all in years to come.
Canon Imogen Nay is a practical theologian who is involved in the Christian environmental movement. She led her church in Rugby to receive the Gold Eco Award through an imaginative programme of worship, community events, garden re-design and learning. She is soon to embark on a doctorate putting contemporary non-fiction nature-writing into conversation with a Christian theology of creation. She is keen to explore what the most effective drivers for change in personal habits, community living and governmental policy are.