Gateway’s newly formed ‘Eco response team’ have made much progress in the past few months, here is John’s update.
During our Creation Sunday event on November 15 2020, Sam Evans read out Gateway’s formal recognition of the Climate Emergency, which committed us to taking actions in response to the environmental crisis. Matt and Zoey Horseman then explained the A Rocha Eco-church scheme, which we will use to follow up this commitment.
Since then, life has been very busy with Christmas and new lockdowns. Although it may feel as if all this has been forgotten, in fact a lot of progress has been made.
No fewer than 23 people are now part of our “Eco-team”, with five subgroups (leaders in brackets):
- The Building team (Aidan Schooley) will deal with our use of the St Mark’s building.
- The Land team (Marie-Claire Spicer) will deal with our use of the surrounding grounds.
- The Community Engagement team (Esther Bissell) will deal with how we interact with the local community, including advocacy on environmental issues with local and national politicians.
- The Teaching and Worship team (John Davy) will deal with how we integrate “care for creation” in our teaching and worship, including with the children.
- The Lifestyle team (Matt Horseman) will deal with encouraging all our members to make lifestyle adjustments that are suitable to their situation.
Our aim is both to take short-term steps and to prepare a report for the elders and trustees with longer-term recommendations. Hopefully a first draft will be with the elders by the end of June, with a final version by September.
We hope that this will be a united whole-church response, so if anyone has ideas or suggestions please don’t hesitate to contact either one of the sub group leaders or the overall Eco team leader, John Davy. Also, please pray for us as we try to respond faithfully to God in this challenging time when Covid still dominates our national life.
The last sentence brings to mind two important points.
First, we are not following a secular agenda, though we may find ourselves working with people who are not operating from a Christian perspective. Our primary goal is to be faithful to Christ in the situations we find ourselves, and we must always remain rooted in the gospel. We want to work out God’s calling to care for the earth, to respond in a Christ-like way to the injustices that are so closely linked to the environment crisis, and to express our hope for the future of a world renewed by Christ at his return.
Second, the immediate situation means that many people are preoccupied with short-term challenges. It would be easy to say, “let’s wait until Covid is over.” However, the environmental crisis knows nothing about Covid and continues to deteriorate daily. Like a cancer, it will only get worse with delay. Therefore, though we may be limited now, we will do the little that we can, faithfully, in anticipation of the time when we can do more.
Let’s work and pray together for God to be glorified in his creation through our faithfulness.
Gateway’s climate emergency recognition: https://gatewayleeds.net/eco/
Eco church: https://ecochurch.arocha.org.uk/