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Asked for a plug…. Climate Sunday, for churches not yet involved, from the Chaplain’s perspective

[For a UK national Christian radio/video channel ]

Thank-you, for this opportunity to talk about Climate Sunday

That is the title of a lively and ongoing campaign across the brilliant spectrum of mainstream churches in the UK and also in Ireland which is a response to the the UK’s hosting of the twenty-sixth United Nations Conference dealing with the very very urgent threats to the beautiful balance of the way this planet works, which have been so clearly and forcefully brought to our attention by the honesty and integrity of science.

We use the word climate, of course, as shorthand for a whole terrifying heap of linked emergencies: extinction, the loss of habitat and of biodiversity, the accelerating rise in sea levels and in the incidence of extreme weather events. There is no point in pretending these things aren’t happening, nor can people of faith in conscience stand by [cf Ezekiel 33] and leave their friends in the dark.

If God delights in the benefits of the balance and cycles which have cradled the whole of recorded human history, [cf psalm 147 ] then surely, when our species, through unjust use of Earth’s resources, knowingly lives and act in such a way that these are destroyed and disrupted, and all that has breath [cf Psalm 150:6 ] is gasping, this has to be seen, as a minus – as disobedience to God, which calls for a change of mind and lifestyle. [Mark 1:15]

But it’s the particularity of what it means to be followers of Jesus that leads us beyond mere concerns into a life lived in abundance with love and an active and joyful concern for justice.

Christians are called to read the signs of Creation, indeed Jesus expects us to be able to. And the things that we would understand as climate are definitely included. God doesn’t just make lifeless objects: every creature is made to offer praise.

Jesus intervened as directly in the life of the wind and the waves as when he spoke to human beings whose lives were out of kilter. No surprise: God makes them both. And those who romanticise fellow creatures need to appreciate that ‘satan’ is in natural causes as well as in human malice. There are some things with which human beings, like other creatures, find themselves in opposition, and that’s something to get used to. We’ve all been germicidal maniacs over the past year.

Jesus directed our gaze to the short, hard life of the birds, showed we should learn from the trees, and led his disciples to recycle the skills and gifts of the life they had known hitherto, for the sake of Good News.

Good News, as it says at the end of Mark’s Gospel, not just for us, but for every creature.

Now as a grassroots minister, for twenty-five years I’ve seen countless special Sundays come and go. A flash in the pan, then back in the filing cabinet and back to the predictable cycle of everyday Sunday worship.

Climate Sunday -and the situation that its responding to is profoundly different. It should move us forward, and insure against slipping back. And whilst the service churches are bing invited to celebrate this year might be a one-off, it’s an opportunity for healing, for change, for growth, for mission and outreach as the church learns to come into its own as people of hope beyond hope, letting others see the good they do, that they may praise our Father in heaven.

Google Climate Sunday: you get to a page with abundant resources for praise, preaching and celebration. What you choose and how you do it will be up to you and the gifts and treasures of your own location and tradition, though there are three emphases.

First of all that worship happens. the Church with psalms must shout. No door should keep them out. Let everyone know you’re dedicating celebrating a Climate Sunday Service: praise God our Creator and sustainer: enjoy it, be encouraged. I’ve written material suitable for URC/Presbyterian or Congregational Churches, there’s material for Anglican/Episcopal and other traditions too, (including Salvation Army) as well as some brand new worship songs and links to Bible readings and suitable hymns.

Then Commit: make a holy promise to yourself, and as a church, to try out some of the very very easy stuff, like changing all your lightbulbs to low energy, turning church grounds into a haven for wildlife. and showing a welcome for God’s other creatures, reducing waste in all sorts of ways. No more single-use plastic in church events. Make sure you enjoy what you do, because then you’ll keep going, and others will join in.

Finally Speak Up: churches have very different views and relationships with our national leadership, but broadly speaking we will want to encourage and show our permission for government to give leadership in choosing a blessed direction, shouldering the costs ands spreading the load of the changes that are going to happen, for the good of the whole beautiful planet, the home we share; the church, as it were, where life gathers in such abundance and such variety to praise the God who makes us, loves us, sustains us -and calls us, by grace, into action, for his name’s sake.

I would say that, wouldn’t I? -Thoughts if I had the time, when introducing a Hustings.

This is the year when the UK as a whole, and Scotland in particular are on display to the rest of the human world.

We have the immense privilege to be playing host to the biggest -and one of the most ponderous – of global talking shops, which we call COP – the United Nations Climate Conference.

And I’d be here all night giving it it’s full name, so let’s just stick with COP.

Whilst we’re on shorthand, we might also use the word ‘climate’ and mean thereby the whole interwoven stack of environmental crises: free-fall extinction of key species and those whose place we do not yet understand; the loss of biodiversity and the habitats that facilitate it; the rise of the seas and the change of their chemistry. Not just elsewhere. Here as well. Then there’s Carbon dioxide and its hyperactive greenhouse gas friend methane, let alone the pervasive presence of plastic in the tissues of almost every living creature on Earth.

Every walk of life, every sector of activity has change to embrace, to acknowledge this, though do bear in mind that life could be cleaner healthier, better, happier, rather than just harder.

Everything about this crisis has in common that it emerges through injustice at every level of a global economy naively predicated on endless growth as if a single-use planet could still be imagined when the population of our species is approaching eight billion.

But don’t blame the poor, when the education and empowerment of women is shown to result in rising welfare and falling birth-rates. Overseas aid can cut the carbon footprint of nations like ours.

The difficulty is, of course, in measuring that, and making the case for it.
Or could you take it on trust from a leader you trust?

No approach to the climate emergency which neglects inequalities, and injustices either in the human or non-human realm, can now be taken seriously.

Greed and excessive wealth – it’s now clearer than ever – are toxic to the planet.
In Christianity as in other traditions, the onus is on those to whom much is given, to intervene most, though we also need the courage to act in ways which will impact on our neighbours, for the greater good.

Jobs at a ‘factory for poison’ might be music to the voters’ ears in the town where it is built, but the voices of those it’s directed against should also be heard. Thanks to science, the voice of the Earth is now translated for us with greater than ever clarity. We can’t look away, or stop our ears.

Horror films love to use the word ‘Biblical’ to describe catastrophe that gets out of hand.
They’re not wrong.
This is what the Bible was written for, and in common with most great faith traditions of humanity, a spiritual approach is one which provides wisdom and resilience, rather than, as Karl Marx naively supposed, an anaesthetic without relief, for those who suffer.

Faith is of course shockingly undersold where anyone imagines it’s about keeping your head down. People of faith are obliged to be the most subversive of all when they see injustice – even where they themselves are implicated. Politicans – you have been warned. In love, you understand!

The COP conference in November is an opportunity unlike any other huge event, and I’m getting tired of reminding some folks in Glasgow that it’s not just like the Commonwealth Games. For a start, all the issues it brings to a head will continue.

All the things we have alarmingly shelved during the last year, most of which are so scary that politicians don’t always speak clearly about them for fear that people might shoot the messenger, as it were.

When I offered the ‘Time for Reflection’ at the Scottish Parliament, the MSP who had invited me anxiously took me on one side and spent twenty minutes establishing his environmental credentials. Bless him. Maybe I should just have said early on: it is for the voters, for the people, to convince politicians, few of whom are badly informed, to act for the common good. How do we give this sort of courage to those we chose?

In my own free church tradition we are clear that God alone is in charge: which means : we wholeheartedly support and encourage leaders when they seek justice and peace; we hold them to account when they lack integrity, or when they seek their own or their cronies’ advantage.

I’m not particularly bothered about motivations: whether our leaders do the right thing because it’s right or the right thing to look good, but neither Scotland nor the UK is going to gain anything anything by anything other than setting an admirable example of embracing transition with justice.

It’s also unlike any other great natural or wartime disaster, in that everyone is involved. We may not all be in the same boat, but we’re on the same planet.

The farmland – and coastland of Dumfries and Galloway will be increasingly affected by climatic changes, including the rise of sea levels, as time goes on.

The coasts of Scotland advance and retreat with greater speed; the rising acidity of the seas begins to affect shellfish and those who deal in them.

As of course do our relations with the close European – and UK – neighbours who were the most obvious markets for fresh produce. And with whom the closest and most ambitious environmental co-operation makes sense. Climate knows no boundaries, either at Gretna Green or the coast.

So, always, unless those with power and influence have the boldness which voters alone should give them to act with love and justice, it will be the poorest that suffer first and most, (even though history has a habit of catching up with those who neglect these things. )

As church people, we have spent the last few decades getting very well connected – for instance with friends in the Pacific, whose homelands are already suffering directly from salt water inundation. And of course, being aware through Christian Aid and others of the number of entirely genuine refugees seeking sanctuary from the environmental and social effects of climate change. Are these human beings entitled to our help, or not?

The other difference is that these changes are -without any remaining reasonable doubt whatsoever – so let’s not waste anyone’s time at all by trying to deny it – are happening alarmingly faster due to human activity than any measurable natural processes. I hope that those in the chair will feel free to pull anyone up who would choose to insult this gathering by that sort of conscious dishonesty.

It’s also substantially different from other global crises – even world wars – in that the momentum is so colossal that even if every nation on Earth were to do the right thing in terms of adjusting their economies to be carbon neutral or even carbon positive, climate crisis will be what everyone here is living in for the rest of their lives.

The easy, crass, thoughless thing to demand is, or course, draconian legal measures to enforce what needs to happen. History doesn’t support this as an effective strategy either for governments, or those like Christian missionaries, who, lacking the clout of armed violence, have to convince and convert, rather than compel.

The best outcome of this election is a parliament and government that lives in dialogue with the people: that tells the truth about challenges, and challenges where there is a need for powerful truth.

The best outcome of this evening is that someone – with no exceptions on the platform – actually does change their mind or shift their position.

Perhaps we proceed with a minute of silence, to let the Spirit of Wisdom get in.


Easter 2021: being nothing, yet not inferior

Christ is risen …let’s work with Christ!
When I began as EcoChaplain, there was no shortage of advice:  …..
’Oh you’ll be able to….’ stuff, some of it envisaging a life of leisure, free of funerals and local church irritations.  Whatever else, it has turned out to be highly rewarding, and in a way few of those well-wishers considered.
Simply working with a felt obligation to find the ‘treasure in the field’ of what the Spirit is saying to the churches today has gifted the most creative relationship with the Bible I can remember since I first began to feel drawn back to the church in my early twenties. 
Yes, if you want to know what books to read in EcoCongregation Scotland, please, always, include the Bible, (wow!)  though how you read it, given your awareness of the urgency and threat of multi-layered environmental crisis may be more crucial than any other resources anyone might point you to. 
 Just as, with recorded reflections, ‘location is the language’ don’t ever kid yourselves that you approach scripture neutrally, without any agenda or prior concerns. Get used to that. Be happy with it! Don’t resist it, or regard it as a weakness.
The same goes for everything people have discovered, suggested, and rethought about how and when the texts were written down, used, and interpretatively translated. It’s all a gift. Play with it!
Some of this really is unexpected: my first look at the part of the job which involved gathering lectionary resources for Creation Time/Season of Creation, (when most churches are  locked into a programme of Bible reading whose compliers had been oblivious of the threats and urgencies of climate ‘change’) suggested it might require some unduly hard pedalling to come up with environmentally relevant insights . 
Which, initially , it did, though the discipline of ‘finding the green’ is one you can become more fluent in, without  twisting the Bible’s arm. What’s already there is richer than what you might try to cram in.
But none of that is beyond the capabilities of any competent  general practitioner in local church preaching and Bible study.   
I suspect that what holds many colleagues in local leadership  back from plunging in with both feet is a combination of the underappreciated heavy pastoral demands of local leadership, and a fear of overstepping the bounds of what they feel they ought to do.  Can you catch a breath in the permissible lull after Easter?
Cartoon by Jay Robotham, used by permission.
Even ecotheology has developed intimidating and disabling hierarchies. And has not been immune to “we’ve settled that matter!”
There’s also ‘attribution syndome’: the inability to utter an original thought of one’s own (which is very different from not having original thoughts) without desperately tying it down to a greater academic authority.  The study of theology accordingly  carries much more clout than doing it.  
But a note to preachers: have you ever thought that your congregation might actually be more interested in what you yourself  have to say,  than someone they know, love,  and trust less?  Especially if you go into it with the mutual, gracious,  understanding that, doing your best, you can also learn from getting it wrong.
That said, the leadership of some prominent figures has been vital, perhaps beginning with Pope Francis, but including moderators, bishops and the like who realise they are in a position to stick their necks out.  At conferences, festivals,  synods,  assemblies and more.  To dare to challenge  the (currently) toxic anthropocentricism (human-centredness) of our inherited approach to the Bible and re-establish historic links to a partnership and relatedness to fellow creatures, with whom, science insists, we have so much in common. 
Others, well-meaning, want to be seen to be taking climate crisis seriously,  but are hesitant to  take advantage of their office to make that leap from the respectably minimal nursery slopes of Genesis (“dominion, made safe as stewardship”) , Revelation,  (“leaves of the tree”)  and nothing much in between. 
If you have their ear, befriend them, encourage them. They are human too!
Still, the greatest leap that any traditional Christian can make -without needing to become anything other than a more committed mainstream traditional Christian – , is to learn to look fellow creatures in the eye;  to look and learn from the birds, to recall how Jesus spoke just as firmly to winds, waves and trees as he did to people in need of guidance.  To sing with the Psalmist as part of  the choir of trees, mountains, waves, lands, birds and other creatures.
Then there’s  the intimidating legacy which I probably locate somewhere in the sixties: the ‘demythologisation’ of truths which are necessarily expressed in the sophisticated medium of mythological language.  At times it seemed as if, for something to be mentioned in Scripture was taken to be a guarantee that it can’t have happened. Some took this further with a fundamentalism of what you ‘mustn’t believe’  rather than letting poetry be poetry, story be story, in their power and beauty. 
The congregation I worked with for a while in the south of England included people who were surprised that holding the view that “all that stuff about Jesus – which heaven forbid you should bother newcomers with – is just made up”  did not make for a sustaining or viable church.
Whatever irritates me, personally, though, about all that’s described above, I’ve also recognised that theological ‘stable’ and churchmanship is absolutely  not the decider as to whether your faith is expressed in care for the Earth today:  it’s whether you can learn, not without critical discernment, to trust the witness of science, whilst still being aware of its provisional nature, its margins for error, its caution, and the cultures of behaviour and thought in which it happens.  The expressions of our faith – and how could it be otherwise – are not independent of the time and planet in which they occur.  
Thus, I’m not, myself bothered about whether what I do has validity beyond my own time. I can happily acknowledge the integrity – but not the continuing unassailable  authority – of those who wrote and prayed in very different circumstances.
So we come to Easter 2021. Last year, as Lockdown began, and many churches, understandably, floundered,  I put together what I imagined would be exceptionally time-consuming pieces of work to provide online what local churches were not going to manage face-to-face. 
This year, some are taking steps back into their buildings, but many have also got well up to speed with digital media.
This sets me free not to compete, but to offer something alternative and complementary to local church Easter.  In the year when lectionaries concentrate on the Gospel of Mark, I’m having a wrestle with the untouchable, marginalised ‘old long ending’ of Mark 16. 
It’s a summary of resurrection happenings which my eminent teachers at Oxford University simply told me to leave alone.  It has, nonetheless,  accompanied the churches through many centuries of faith, and made its way into the Iona Community’s constituting body of prayer, with its great commission to bring good news “to every creature”.
There’s some explosive, or even superficially embarrassing  stuff alongside this wonderful phrase, but the last couple of years have taught me not to give up on the Bible. 
Indeed, the best response  to those who still put hope in God being ‘in charge’, specifically as an excuse for not engaging with change of life and outlook, is to go with them straight back to Scripture. Where God is certainly in charge, but disasters happen when we take no notice of that.
Whatever else, though,  all I can offer is ‘what seems good to me and the holy Spirit’.  A snapshot of inspiration, which insists on not being definitive.  
Even theologically,  ‘when I am weak, then I am strong’, though that verse too, has become far more meaningful in a world which is not going to be ‘fixed’  but where our partnership with Christ and with fellow Creatures gives us a place and purpose which would not occur outside of crisis.  
Mark 16:20 is one of those verses which looks back on our own work, as well as that of our siblings in the Gospel, this first disciples.
And they went out and proclaimed the good news everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that accompanied it.”
Good News. Everywhere. Let’s do it. Working with Christ.

Hymn Text for Lent 5: what will change your life’s direction

Meter 8787337
Use with John 12:20-33. The emphasis not only on the turning point, but the re-useability of revelation, and the Word of God : ‘I have glorified it and will glorify it again’.


(e.g. use with Groeswen, ( uplifting) or ‘Meine Hoffnung’ ( haunting) or Michael, ( hopeful)
If with Michael, then you may prefer to add the word ‘loud’ after repetition* in verse 2
============================


1)What will change your life’s direction?
Whose the story you need hear?
Which of all our fellow creatures,
when endangered, we hold dear?
All alike face the threat
Christ, alert, alongside, yet!



2)Prophets, pilgrims, foolish martyrs
Gave their all to warn and guide;
Seeking signs and scanning stories
till it’s time to fling gates wide:
“God won’t hide turning tide!”
-glory’s repetition, *cried!



3)Christ, with mission and momentum
building on his own land’s creed,
recognised the common calling:
sky and soil and flesh in need!
Once again, Jesus’ reign
active for a world in pain



4)Tipping points and one-way journeys:
Glory and God’s word, employed;
love re-purposed, re-committed
lest green beauty be destroyed
Once more, Christ, dawn’s bright ray:
hope from crisis, crafting day.

Get involved with your own church

COP26 update

COP26 venue Scottish Events Campus photograph courtesy of Glasgow Convention Bureau.

Eco-Congregation Scotland continues to encourage churches and volunteers across the country to get involved in activities relating to the COP26 United Nations climate conference, still taking place this November at the Scottish Events Campus in Glasgow (pictured above). 

Our new 2-page monthly briefing on what COP26 is and how to get involved is online now. Updated every month and highlighting any new information, please download or visit our webpage for the latest.

We appreciate the volunteer support of Adrian Shaw, former Church of Scotland climate change officer, for the briefing and COP-related activities. Adrian is also supporting Interfaith Scotland as we link closely with other faith groups and wider civil society organisations in all our collective work towards COP26. We are delighted that Glasgow Churches Together has taken under its umbrella as a special sub-committee the COP26 Churches Co-ordinating Group we initiated in 2019, enabling more ecumenical support and activities relating to COP26.

COP26 is a timely opportunity for churches and volunteers in every part of Scotland to get more involved in addressing local environmental issues and tackling the climate emergency.

We are also encouraging you to take part in the world’s biggest ever faith-climate day of action this coming week, Sacred Earth, Sacred People – ringing a bell for climate justice or posting on social media – and sharing more upcoming events. In this first of our regular newsletter focused on COP26 updates, we end with a specific call for church halls in and around Glasgow.

As we near twelve months of engaging online due to COVID-19 with our own programme of events, we thank you for your support and encouragement which is always appreciated.


Lomond Parish Church – Prayers and Reflection
Sunday 7th March 2021
11.30am

https://www.facebook.com/events/437861000602477

On the 3rd Sunday in Lent, Eco-Chaplain Rev David Coleman joins Rev Ian Miller and Lomond Parish Church – our Eco-Congregation Gold Award winner in West Dunbartonshire – with a reflection on John 2:13-22 ‘Jesus bleak and wild’ eight months ahead of COP26. Prayers and reflections will be live on Lomond Parish Church’s Facebook page at 11.30am. All our worship material is now shareable for any church – and fits perfectly with a Climate Sunday service. 

This coming Sunday 7th March at 7pm we encourage our volunteers and supporters to continue joining Christians in prayer across Scotland.


Women’s Voices in Climate Action
Wednesday 10th March 2021
10.00am – 11.15am
https://tinyurl.com/mrmjn7av

To mark International Women’s Day 2021 and COP26Interfaith Scotland hosts an interactive dialogue for women of all faiths and beliefs with keynote speakers Zarina Ahmad, climate change communicator and Fiona Buchanan of Christian Aid Scotland. To sign up please fill in the Google form.


Sacred People, Sacred Earth
Thursday 11th March 2021

https://sacredpeoplesacredearth.org

On 11th March, grassroots people of diverse religions are coming together around the world for Sacred People, Sacred Earth, the biggest-ever faith-based global day of action to sound the alarm for climate justice. The Greenfaith International Network has ten demands for global action by faith communities, governments and financial institutions. You can watch a video and sign the multi-faith climate statement here.

Please join in from home – or even your church if you have access – by ringing a bell on the day, or even banging a pot or pan. Christian Climate Action is doing this at 12 noon in the UK, or you can join any time convenient for you that day. Please share your call for climate justice with us by email or on social media

  1. Make a paper sign calling on the action you wish to see. You can make your own or print this link.

2. Hold the sign in or outside your home for a photo or video with you or your household.

3. Email your photo to manager@ecocongregationscotland.org – or post on social media with the hashtags #Faiths4Climate and #SacredPeopleSacredEarth tagging @greenfaithworld and @ecocongregation on Twitter – or @greenfaith and @ecocongregationscotland on Facebook. Please say where you are too.


What can Churches do for Climate Justice?
Tuesday 16th March 2021
3.00pm – 4.30pm

https://climatefringe.org/sccs-live-events/

There are many ways that churches and people of faith can contribute meaningfully to climate action – before, during and after COP26. Join us to hear inspirational campaigners from churches who have taken action on climate, how their faith inspires them and find out how you can get involved in 2021. This Stop Climate Chaos ScotlandClimate Fringe event is in partnership with Eco-Congregation Scotland, Christian AidSCIAF and Tearfund.


Call out for accommodation help
Could your church hall host visitors in November this year for the UN climate talks? As part of the wider civil society COP26 Coalition, we are helping to source ‘crash pad accommodation’ in and around Glasgow, looking for willing partners to help. 

Our vision
The COP26 Coalition is keen to build a network of decentralised crash pad spaces in and around Glasgow to cater for the different needs of activists coming for COP26. Spaces will be inclusive, inviting, and reflect the needs and vision of the international climate movement. Spaces should not only provide accommodation options but be places where different types of people from all walks of life across the globe meet, connect, learn and organise together.

What are crash pad spaces?
‘Crash pad spaces’ cater to those who don’t mind crashing on the floor of a church hall or gym with a sleeping bag – either for a few nights or the two weeks of COP. We expect them to be used by activists who haven’t found suitable accommodation or it has fallen through last minute. Spaces may be of differing sizes but they will meet minimum requirements in terms of hygiene, safeguarding, security and warmth. Ideally these would be church halls or community centres – with room enough to house 20-30 people and perhaps with additional facilities like a kitchen.

Details
We’re looking for around 500 crash pad spaces in and around Glasgow between 1st and 12th November. Obviously COVID makes this type of accommodation very challenging; there’s a big possibility that these spaces won’t be possible under pandemic restrictions. The COP26 Coalition is also developing an online Guest Host platform with Human Hotel – a little like Couchsurfing or an alternative to AirBnB – that should be much more feasible. However, we are keen to find around 500 crash pad spaces as a back up, in case restrictions are lifted before COP.

This is one way churches can help welcome and support those visiting Glasgow for COP26. We will be in touch again soon on churches supporting more activities in Glasgow and across Scotland – plus church volunteers offering rooms at home through the online Guest Host platform.

If your church has the space and resources to help on ‘crash pad spaces’, please email Flick Monk at Friends of the Earth Scotland on fmonk@foe.scot.

Hymn text: Jesus help us, when our friends….

Jesus help us, when our friends…
(for Mark 8 31-38) .
(for those difficult times when our conviction and commitment puts us at odds with family or friends. Verse 5 sounds a note of caution. We too can be wrong)

(Meter 7777) (Suggested tunes: St Bees, Monkland, or many other possibilities. Even ‘Jesus loves me this I know’ without the chorus).


1)Jesus, help us when our friends
though they care, though love transcends,
might, through friendship’s best intent
undermine and circumvent.

2)Justice often counts the cost
healing Earth, and saving lost;
Change of life too much to pay?
-“try again another day!”

3)Friends will do their best for you
Jesus cared for his friends too:
tempting him to quiet life
flee the cross, divert from strife.

4) Jesus loved his friends you see:
loved enough to disagree.
loved enough to risk a rift
when decision must be swift.

5)Friends and family may be wrong
though your love for them be strong:
Test the spirits, pray you’re wise:
in dark night to seek sunrise.











St Mary’s Cathedral, Palmerston Place, Edinburgh gains Silver Award.

St Mary’s Cathedral, Palmerston Place, Edinburgh have recently been given their Silver Eco Congregation Scotland Award in recognition of their work and commitment to caring for creation.

St Mary’s Cathedral were praised by the assessors for several aspects of the work that they are doing. The assessors noted that a great deal of work had gone into making the case for the cathedral divesting from fossil fuels, and the congregation had played an important part in persuading the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church to consider further steps to do the same.

The assessors were impressed by the investigations that are underway by the Cathedral team to reduce the carbon footprint of the Cathedral. An important aspect of this is investigating possibilities of installing a lower carbon heat source. This will allow them to reduce heating and other energy uses in the cathedral. Whilst this work is still ongoing, serious consideration is being given to installing a heat pump. The team have sourced grant funding allow them to investigate all these possibilities.

The assessors praised the way that care for creation is embedded and visible in all aspects of the life of the cathedral including prayer, sermons, magazine articles, and can be seen on their website. Recycling is actively promoted within the cathedral. Members of the congregation are frequently challenged to consider ways to reduce their impact on the environment.

Exciting work has been carried out in the cathedral grounds. This has included planting fruit trees  and creating a wildlife area. The assessors praised the wonderful idea of setting up a seed library. This initiative encourages people of all ages from the local community to become involved. There is a good link between the Cathedral Green Team and their neighbouring congregation at Palmerston Church of Scotland. The Cathedral congregation are active members of the local Eco Congregation Scotland network, with members attending some of the national events held by Eco Congregation Scotland too.

The Cathedral is a Fairtrade Church and its One World Stall has been  selling Fairtrade products for many years.  

The cathedral is participating in a scheme to link up a cycling route through the city and will be encouraging travel by bike.

We look forward to hearing how the team continue to develop this good work.