The Methodist Church in Britain is developing ambitious and transformative targets on climate change. In this piece written by Anna McCrum, Senior Media Officer for the Methodist Church, we hear about the Church's truly inspiring programme.
The Methodist Church has set an aspirational target of becoming a net zero carbon emissions church by 2030. To support this journey it was agreed at the Methodist Conference in 2020 that to enable the diversity of our church to fully engage, we needed to develop a range of key partnerships along the way.
'It is the task of God's people to listen to the prophetic voices in our midst and to change direction, to take action, to do something' – Revd Sonia Hicks, President of the Methodist Conference, 2021-22
We are working with FaithInvest to develop a long-term action plan to determine how we will manage our assets and resources over the next seven to ten years. We are calling our plan Action for Hope.
Our areas of focus
The Methodist Church has decided to initially focus on three key areas:
Faith-consistent use of assets – including investments, purchasing power, buildings and land.
Wisdom – including theology, liturgies and prayer.
Lifestyles – including traditions of simple living.
In autumn 2021, a task group of Connexional Team members was appointed to take the work forward.
We have committed that by 2030 all travel, electricity and gas directly funded by the Church will have net zero emissions. We are actively working on the detail around these aims, along with guidance and resources and plan to have these finalised this spring.
We are working on resources to support members and church leaders to reduce carbon emissions related to Methodist properties and activities as well as guidance on listed buildings, new property projects and use of other fuel sources.
Much has already been achieved in recent years, notably in our investment policies and noting that the electricity used at Methodist Church House in London is from 100% renewable sources.
The main resource available for our church members is Hope in God’s Future – a report that offers not just a statement on our approach to climate change but resources including for small group reflection and whole-church conversation.
The resource highlights the goodness and interconnectedness of all God has made and this together with the theology and practice of good stewardship informs much of the work of the Connexion.
A group will soon begin work on revising the report, which was last updated in 2020, for relaunch in 2023.
We have also created God’s World, Our Home, a resource for children and youth groups, to equip them for climate action. There are videos, prayers, challenges, and activities to explore the spiritual, theological, and practical response to the climate crisis.
The Revd Simon Topping has written a series of six blogs looking at the theology of climate justice.
We are developing resources to encourage Methodist members and adherents to reduce their carbon footprints, particularly via the three key areas of energy, travel and diet (the biggest contributors to individual emissions).
Our colleagues at the Joint Public Issues team have over the last few years worked in this area with a focus on ethical shopping and a set of commitments for ethical living during Lent.
Launch of Action for Hope
We are sharing developments with the Church as we progress and planning a full launch of Action for Hope at our annual Conference in June.