COMMITMENT TO CLIMATE JUSTICE
At South West London Vineyard, we view the Christian faith as being a vision, not only for individuals, but for society as well and about how we can live well in all our relationships and communities. In a world where many visions for humanity vie for our attention, as the church, we believe we need to be asking how the good news of the gospel of Jesus addresses some of the global, national & local questions of our age.
As a local church, we have a long way to go and a lot of work to do to address some of the many injustices experienced by those in the church, in this church and in our local communities and are committed to addressing these issues.
In common with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, we believe that
‘There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they’re falling in.’
The Bible and Jesus spoke repeatedly about the need to strive for justice:-
‘Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.’ Proverbs 31:8-9
This policy focuses on the environment and the need for us as a church to play our part in safeguarding God’s creation and rolling back where possible, the damage humanity has done to it and the impact of climate change on it.
This includes the ecological dimension (ecosystems), the social dimension (quality of life, climate and trade justice) and the economic dimension (management of resources and finances).
- God has called us to make, train and equip disciples, who love and serve Jesus, who love and serve one another and love and serve their neighbours.
- God has called us to be the church across SW London through central celebration and local mission.
- God has called us to plant churches across the capital by training and equipping potential church planters and sending and nurturing those called by God.
This policy adds two elements to our Vision Statement :-
- To seek to transform unjust structures of society;
- To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth.
We will strive to reduce and minimise our collective carbon footprint as a church.
- provide constructive support in understanding the challenges of reducing our carbon footprint particularly for people of low income and people who are vulnerable in the wider SWLV community
- be an authentic, positive role model for our community, including our youth and people we support, by minimising our footprint both from activities we organise and, where possible, from rented SWLV premises
- help the SWLV congregation to minimise our collective carbon footprint as citizens, in particular when attending any/all SWLV activities (Worship, House Group, Volunteering, Yard, helping the community)
WORSHIP & TEACHING
We regularly schedule teaching and special Sundays relating to caring for God’s earth. This includes worship focusing on creation, preaching on climate justice and the need to care for God’s earth (including inviting guest speakers from outside the church) and praying for environmental issues.
‘Caring for God’s earth’ features as a teaching theme in our church’s kids and youth work. Small groups are asked to focus on this issue and our communications, emails and social media etc. include items relating to the theme of caring for God’s earth.
We work with our landlords to reduce/minimise SWLV’s carbon footprint, adopting a number of measures which include encouraging environmentally friendly policies on areas such as:
- building insulation
- switching to green energy
- replacing high energy consumption equipment with more appropriate substitute
- adopting eco-friendly approaches to maintaining grounds.
Recycling facilities will be available at all the premises we use and we will encourage all our users to recycle.
CATERING, CLEANING & PURCHASING
- Coffee, tea and other consumables purchased for church events, the Yard hospitality and the SWLV Office minimise the use of plastic and waste and catering, wherever possible, uses locally grown, Fair Trade and organic. Any meals provided by the church include a vegetarian and /or vegan option
- Our church will minimise food waste (e.g. through composting all waste, minimising leftovers at church meals, partnering with a local food waste scheme), and we encourage our members to do likewise
- We do not use single-use equipment such as plastic, disposable paper plates, cups and cutlery
- Our members are encouraged to bring re-usable cups for coffee & hospitality events
- We use the venues kitchens to wash crockery and cutlery for catered events
- Hot drinks are provided in re-usable cups or for visitors in china
- Coffee machines do not use single use pods or other forms of unnecessary waste
- Recycled toilet paper is provided at the SWLV Office and the Yard and the cleaning products used are environmentally-friendly
- We seek to ensure that all our purchasing of equipment, supplies and clothing is, wherever possible, sustainable, organic, Fairtrade and ethically sourced.
We reduce our paper usage through, for example, working paperless wherever possible, double-sided copying/printing and using recycled paper.
We encourage our congregation to travel to church events sustainably:
- We encourage the congregation to minimise car usage, particularly those powered by fossil fuels
- We ensure that public transport is available to all church events
- We are reviewing setting up a car share scheme to enable our congregation to minimise travelling to church events by car
- We are part of the Government’s Bike2Work Scheme and offer staff the opportunity to buy discounted cycles in order to cycle to work
- Cycle racks are available at all the premises we use and church member are encouraged to cycle to meetings wherever possible
We encourage our congregation to live as sustainably as possible, including encouragement to undertake a personal carbon footprint/environmental lifestyle audit. We aim to improve our personal stewardship of the earths’ resources by, for example:-
Encouraging people to travel sustainably; reduce their personal energy consumption; consume Fairtrade and/or ethically sourced goods; use food at home that is LOAF (Locally grown, Organic, Animal-friendly, Fairtrade); limit their waste by adhering to the principles of reduce, re-use, recycle; celebrate Christmas and Easter as sustainably as possible, reducing waste and unnecessary consumption; and holidaying locally and/or travelling sustainably to holiday destinations. Practical lifestyle tips and advice on caring for God’s earth are included on our church website.
The ethical investment of personal savings is encouraged, and SWLV church funds are ethically invested.
We are committed to reducing our carbon footprint as a church year on year and encourage our congregation to do the same. As part of this, we intend to make regular invitations to our congregation to reduce their personal carbon footprint, by for example challenging them to reduce their footprint during Lent. We will also undertake an annual Lifestyle Audit.
We are looking to appoint an individual or group to champion the cause of our church community becoming more environmentally sustainable. Progress will be monitored through regular reports to the Church Trustees.
COMMUNITY AND GLOBAL ENGAGEMENT
We believe that as followers of Jesus we should be engaged in our local community and where appropriate setting an example of Christian leadership in activities to address injustice and campaign for a fairer world:
- SWLV will seek opportunities to organise events providing an opportunity for local people to engage with local leaders on local environmental issues such as local MPs and council leaders and, where possible, we work with local sustainability movements
- We organise events providing an opportunity for members and local people to get out and enjoy God’s earth in our local area such as walks and cycle rides
- Users of our premises are encouraged to minimise resource use, reducing energy use, and with notices about turning oﬀ lights displayed etc.
- Wherever possible we buy Fairtrade products and are seeking registration as a Fairtrade Church
- We encourage people to pray for specific overseas environmental projects
- We support charities that address climate change and the impact of it on communities
- We have been awarded A Rocha UK’s Bronze Award for churches in England and Wales who want to demonstrate that the gospel is good news for God’s earth.