Responding to the Climate Crisis
It has become clear over the past years that our climate is changing both radically and rapidly affecting many people but particularly those who live in the poorest parts of the world.
A clear majority of Scientists are now of the opinion that human activity is at the root of this crisis and we, as Franciscans, ally ourselves fully with those who seek to engage in informed and honest discussion about our changing climate and with those who promote lifestyles which seek to limit the damage unchecked greed has wrought on our climate.
We also affirm that we are not superior to but part of Creation, a realisation which St Francis himself teaches in the Canticle of the Creatures in which he perceives the created world praising God by simply existing and the praises of humanity joining that stream of worship.
Seeing Differently is a new book by Simon Cocksedge TSSF, Nicholas Alan SSF and Samuel SSF, bringing together the stories of Saint Francis and some of the inspiring Franciscans who have followed him, drawing them into conversation with contemporary concerns for our planet.
Pope Francis gives a powerful and profound lead in his encyclical, ‘Laudato si’ – Care for Our Common Home’ (published by CTS). Also available online. The Italian title is taken from the opening of St Francis’s ‘Canticle of the Creatures’ – the song of Brother Sun.
Another world religious leader is the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew II. See online: https://www.acton.org/public-policy/environmental-stewardship/theology-e/orthodox-churches-statement-environment
This? (published by Kevin Mayhew) is a simple study guide has been produced by The Revd Susan Sayers TSSF.
A Franciscan View of Creation (published by The Franciscan Institute) by Ilia Delio gives an in depth study of the contribution of the Franciscan theological tradition to an understanding of our relationship with the rest of creation.
Hilfield Friary – living in harmony with creation
Set in the midst of the Dorset countryside, the Friary is a place of joyful and attentive creation care.
Much of the community’s food is produced from the fruit and vegetable gardens and from the Friary’s domestic livestock. The surrounding meadows are carefully grazed to encourage a rich variety of wild-flowers – in June there’s a wonderful display of orchids – and the Friary has initiated a local conservation cluster of land-owners to conserve and nurture the natural habitat for particular species. The buildings are well-insulated and are heated by a system using local woodchip. Solar panels on the roofs provide a considerable proportion of the Friary’s electricity supply. An electric vehicle is used for local journeys. Courses are offered each year to share Franciscan wisdom on creation.
Over the years the Friary has become a model for an ecology which integrates the care of creation with a concern for social justice and a rhythm of daily prayer and worship. hilfieldfriary.org.uk
What Can I Do?
Hilfield Friary is partnered with A Rocha UK, a Christian charity working for the protection and restoration of the natural world and committed to mobilising Christians and churches in the UK to care for the environment. You can read more about Hilfield’s work with 11 other Partners in Action, a collaborative network of Christian land managers, here.
A Rocha UK has many useful resources for living more environmentally, whether on your own, in a family or even in a religious community. You can find ideas on topics such as food, shopping, travel or waste.
Eco Church Scheme
A Rocha UK also involves hundreds of churches of all denominations with its Eco Church award scheme, so they can demonstrate that the gospel is good news for God’s earth. Hilfield Friary won the scheme’s first ever gold award!
It is not just for churches that can afford to have renewable energy, but helps congregations think about many aspects of their lifestyles from sharing lifts to managing a churchyard, to having prayers, youth work or music appropriate for creation. There is no fee for getting an award, though donations are welcome to run the scheme.