Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Yorkshire Living Churchyard Project Autumn Newsletter

The Yorkshire Living Churchyard Project autumn newsletter is now available, with stories about bees and butterflies, the 2011 Open Churchyards, and news on headstone cleaning.  You can download it here.

Eleanor Course

Friday, 18 November 2011

Surge of signatures on power feed-in tariff petition

The Church of England is calling on the Government to slow down their plans to drop the rate of returns on electricity grid feed-in tariffs for photovoltaic panels to give churches, and other community groups, more time to complete installation. It is also asking for a special community tariff.

The online petition from the Archbishops’ Council’s Cathedral and Church Building Division has already attracted almost 1000 signatures from both individuals and groups. Already 35 CofE churches have photovoltaic panels installed and more than 300 are actively considering a project.

Installing photovoltaic panels on churches is a complex business and the 50% cut in return rate proposed for December 12 will penalize churches who are committed to installing photovoltaic panels, but will not have time to complete, says the petition.

The installation of photovoltaic panels is promoted across the CofE’s 44 dioceses as a way of using natural resources to reduce the carbon footprint of a church.  The Church, through its national environment campaign Shrinking the Footprint, is committed to the Government’s carbon reduction targets of 80% by 2050.

Martyn Goss social responsibility officer for Exeter Diocese said; “This news is very disappointing. Here in the Southwest we have been encouraging churches to install panels and many will be adversely affected by this cut in tariff resulting in having the rug pulled from underneath them by such short-term political decision making”.                                                              

David Shreeve the Church of England’s national environment officer said: “The returns on a photovoltaic project will not be as financially attractive as they were and take longer to pay back. Whilst in the life of a church building this is not a long time it will take us into the next generation. As well as enabling churches to use renewable energy, we see photovoltaic panels on church roofs as setting a brilliant example to their local communities.”

Eleanor Course

Friday, 11 November 2011

Solar and photovoltaic panels

Solar and photovoltaic panels on Churches are the subject of much national discussion at the moment.  Phil Thomas, Church Buildings Officer and Graham Andrews, Archbishop's Adviser for the Environment, have written some useful guidelines for churches thinking about solar and photovoltaic panels here.

Eleanor Course

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Peter Owen-Jones visits Pickering

Television presenter and Vicar Peter Owen-Jones will be talking about the Church and its relationship with the environment in a talk at Potter Hill Methodist Church, Pickering, on Thursday 17th November at 7.30pm.  Entrance is free, and no tickets are needed.

Peter Owen-Jones is best known as the presenter of many BBC television series including ‘How to Live a Simple Life’, where he followed in the footsteps of St Francis of Assisi attempting to live freed from material constraints and without money.  Also for the BBC, Peter presented ‘Extreme Pilgrim’, in which he lived as a Chinese Buddhist monk, a Christian monk and an Indian ascetic, and ‘Around the World in 80 Faiths’, a travel documentary encountering different religions.

Peter Owen-Jones said, “The environment is the greatest issue Christianity faces today.  If we believe that God created the world, we should love and cherish it, for the rest of the creation that we share the world with, and for future generations.  At the moment our world is in crisis, and churches need to lead the way in changing that.”

The talk has been organised by one of Ryedale’s ‘Green Deans’, the Revd Bill Page.  Bill said, “We’re looking forward to welcoming Peter to Pickering and hearing him speak on the church and the environment.  The talk is part of the Diocese of York’s Year of the Environment, where we’re encouraging individuals and churches to make a difference to their environment in 2011.”

Peter is the vicar of three parishes on the edge of the Sussex Downs and also a founder member of the Arbory Trust (the only Christian woodland burial site in the country) and has recently instigated the ‘Life Cairn’ Project.

Eleanor Course