'Our Hope for God's Creation' is a film that has been produced for World Environment Day to encourage Christians to consider their environmental impact more seriously. Seven dioceses across Yorkshire & the North East funded this film, which was commissioned by John Sentamu, Archbishop of York. Trailer for 'Our Hope for God's Creation'
I have been working on this project since October with the Ripon & Leeds Diocesan Environment Officer, who has directed the film. We've been to Churches, hindu temples, vicarages, schools and even allotments across the two regions to see how Christians are being a force for change in their communities.
"It can be simple, such as installing curtains in large spaces to keep in heat and reduce those bills."
One thing I personally have noted is how the environment has clearly been intrinsically connected with the wider mission of the Church. At every Church we have been to, we've seen how the Church has reached new people through its environmental concerns. At Bradford Cathedral, businesses didn't just talk to the Cathedral about their solar panels, but they were inspired to install them themselves. In Calverley, the sheep and goats have attracted people into the churchyard who would never normally come in. The stories are repeated across the regions.
"I have seen God working through this area of mission in uniting the Church and pulling communities closer together as they are faced with the common issues regarding the future of our planet."
At this time of economic hardship too, Churches both large and small are finding that investing in environmentally beneficial projects helps their long term economic sustainability too. It can be simple, such as installing curtains in large spaces to keep in heat and reduce those bills. Larger Churches have been able to not just eliminate running costs, but actually make money during the summer months by selling power back to the grid - when the Church isn't being used, it can act as a power station.
It is the Anglican Communion's Fifth Mark of Mission to care for creation, but as we face temperature rises of 1.1 - 6.4c in this century alone, we must realise our role as responsible global citizens to care for creation in addition to our call to be stewards of the Earth. I have seen God working through this area of mission in uniting the Church and pulling communities closer together as they are faced with the common issues regarding the future of our planet.
As a filmmaker, it has been great to work again with the Church on a new media project. By making a film, the Church has been able to reach thousands more people than it otherwise would through visiting speakers - and in a much more environmentally friendly way! It has allowed the diocese of Ripon and Leeds to lead the way in caring for creation in the North of England, as well as being a base for cross-diocesan and ecumenical working; two factors that are crucial if we are ever to be serious about tackling climate change.
Consider what ideas in the film appeal to you as a Church leader or individual, what resources has God given you? How can you reach out to the community using environmental measures? How can you build creation care into the long term life and mission of your Church?