Sunday, 5 September 2010

Cashel & Ossory Green Charter – Presentation to Diocesan Synod

Les Bertram from Banagher wrote this report on a presentation given at the Limerick & Killaloe Diocesan Synod at Killorglin this year. It was published in the September 2010 edition of Newslink, the Limerick & Killaloe Diocesan magazine.

At the General Synod earlier this year at Dublin the Diocese of Cashel & Ossory brought a motion that recommended that their green charter be adopted by the whole Church of Ireland as a way forward in environmental good practice. This was unanimously adopted by the General Synod.

At our Synod at Killorglin we had the great pleasure of welcoming Revd Elaine Murray of the Kilkenny Group, who spoke to us about the Diocese of Cashel and Ossory green charter.

Elaine opened by telling us that climate change is changing our lives, and that we know instinctively that our present day church needs to get its house in order, that at heart of the covenant of God with his people is a call to ‘Do Justice’. Climate change is a matter of justice.

Their diocesan charter was adopted in 2008 and has been rolled out to every parish in their diocese. We were told that their charter was a guide to living generously, committing them to the following points.

  • To identify areas of waste and excess

  • To encourage environmental responsibility in the wider broader community

  • To support third world development both spiritually and financially by supporting fair trade and addressing the effects of climate change

  • To advocate policy change that environmentally beneficial at both local and national level
We were all given a copy of this green charter.

Elaine told that each Parish Vestry was given a copy of the ‘Green Pages’ which is an eco friendly version of the Yellow Pages, never heard of it myself but sounds like a great idea and I must get a copy. They also launched a diocesan Environment Awareness Competition which is now in its second year. Winners include installation of solar panel heating of a church at Freshford, Co Kilkenny. In Stradbally ageing trees in an 13th century graveyard were replaced by 14 new trees which included holly, copper beech, lime and hawthorn, sponsored by parishioners. While young people as part of their confirmation classes learned all about the reproduction system of trees while successfully avoiding free range saddleback pigs in a forest at Johnstown house in Carlow! Sounds like environment issues can be fun. There was much more and the message was that things can change if the effort is made.

Eco Seminars have been organized over the last two years, topics range from ‘Our Christian Responsibility to the Global Effects of Climate Change’, to ‘Practical changes and understanding Government Regulations and Grants’. ‘Understanding Alternative Energy systems and cost effectiveness’ and ‘Wildlife & Fauna Awareness in our Church Environs’.

Cashel & Ossory diocesan environmental committee consists of just four people which keep green matter uppermost in people’s minds by regular updates in the diocesan magazine and updates each vestry by post, strongly recommending that ‘Green Matters ‘ appear on the agenda of each Vestry meeting. Promoting websites like ‘Living Generously’, an online Christian Community who promote ideas for living in an eco-friendly way, and ‘EcoCongregation’ who can help us think about the link between our Christian faith and care of the planet.

Elaine concluded her address by suggesting the Irish campaign, ‘Power of One’ had been fairly successful but that many people still feel overwhelmed or swamped and helpless when faced with problems of such magnitude, but reminded us that the people in the third world have, and will bear the brunt of the problems caused by climate change and we must do more to help them. Finally saying ‘I hope and pray that the Church of Ireland, in adopting the green charter route can lead the way for church communities everywhere to really show that we have taken our gospel values to heart in the area of environmental good practices ‘.

It was a very good address and it would be of interest to know what green ideas have already been put into practice already in our own diocese. I think its now time to own up.

Les Bertram

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