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Environmental Justice

The Environment, Eco Church, and the Fifth Mark of Mission

In the Diocese of York, we are blessed to live in ‘God’s own county’. The good creation all around us, reflects God’s love for us. Created in his image, we have been granted responsibility to represent God as steward of this planet. 

Who’s Who

The Revd Johannes Nobel

Green Ambassador for the Diocese of York (Diocesan Environment Officer)

01904 870814

The Revd Johannes ‘Jan’ Nobel is the ‘Green Ambassador’ for the Diocese of York. He believes that the Climate Crisis provides many opportunities for our mission and worship. His role is largely to promote the green agenda and encourage churches join the Eco Church programme. 

The Revd Peter Dillon

Interim Project Officer for Carbon Net Zero

The Revd Peter Dillon is our NZ manager. His role is funded by the national church. Peter has written a Net Zero action plan for the Diocese and manages the implementation of the national Routemap to Net Zero Carbon in our Diocese.

The Diocesan Environment Group

The Diocesan Environment Group

The Diocesan Environment Group meets six times a year, and consists of the following members:

  • The Rt Revd Dr John Thomson (Bishop of Selby, member of the Church of England’s Environment Working Group) – until early 2024
  • The Venerable Dr Amanda Bloor (Archdeacon of Cleveland)
  • The Revd Johannes Nobel (Green Ambassador, Theologian)
  • Prof Colin Beale (A Rocha UK Trustee, Ecologist and Ornithologist)
  • The Revd Liz Carrington (Deacon, St Luke’s, York)
  • The Diocesan Children and Young People’s Adviser (vacant)
  • The Revd Geoff Jaques (PTO Great Ayton & Newton under Roseberry)
  • Margaret Price (Lay Dean of Easingwold Deanery, Soil Scientist)

The Diocesan Net Zero Committee 

This committee brings together the heads of departments in the Diocese, to facilitate joint and mutually supported progress on the Net Zero journey. 

Creation Care is Living Christ’s Story


As members of Christ’s body, we are called to heal what has been broken by human sin. Created in the image of God, we are agents of divine transformation and redemption, and ambassadors of the new creation in Christ Jesus. In our dealings with the natural world around us, we boldly embrace the sacrificial humility of our Lord. 


Climate change is one of the most pressing issues for young people today. Research by Tearfund and Youthscape revealed that 98% of Christian teenagers have friends who care about climate change. 

  • 9 out of 10 young people are concerned about the climate crisis.
  • less than 1 out of 10 think churches are doing enough about it.
  • 8 out of 10 think Christians should respond to climate change.

(Tearfund / Youthscape, Burning the house down – How the church could lose young people over climate inaction, Feb 2021)


An increasing number of people are passionate about nature and are looking for opportunities to take practical action. There are mission opportunities to bring communities of all ages and backgrounds together, e.g. litter picking groups, family gardening groups, nature walking groups and DIY repair & re-use groups. Such initiatives may inspire growth in numbers as well as discipleship and leadership


True sustainability requires transformation of our structures and finances within an ethical framework that not only considers the world of today, but also the world of future generations. We do not possess this world, but we are stewards of God’s creation. The way we employ our financial resources reflects our love for God and all creation. 

Eco Church

The Eco Church initiative records and rewards the ways in which your church cares for creation. It is easy and free to sign up below. Once you are signed up, the Eco Church Dashboard will present you with an audit questionnaire, with five key areas of church life to consider. 

Where to start?

Seven steps on the Eco Church journey:

  1. Ask the PCC for permission to sign up to Eco Church. It’s free to join, but please consider making a donation to A Rocha UK.
  2. Sign up at Eco Church, A Rockha UK
  3. Appoint an Eco Champion/Group to lead the work on Eco Church.
  4. Complete the Eco Church audit online. You may be surprised how much you are already doing right, or how little it takes to make eco-friendly changes.
  5. Use this website and the Eco Church Resources Library to plan the changes needed to reach Eco Church award status: 
  6. Apply for your first Eco Church award and proudly display your certificate/plaque!  
  7. Continue the Eco Church journey, from Bronze to Silver or even Gold! 

Why Care for Creation?

Why is looking after the planet a crucial part of our Mission?

As missionary disciples living Christ’s story, we affirm, with the Five Marks of Mission, our calling ‘to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth’.

Creation Care is Mission

The fifth mark of mission is no add-on. Each of the other four marks of mission can only be successful if we also pay attention to the Environment:

To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom

If we wish “to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom”, we need to earn a hearing. Authenticity and credibility are prerequisites. Sensitive evangelism presents the Gospel message in a way which is relevant to those being addressed.

Today’s context is an ecological crisis which threatens the future of humanity. Is it possible to proclaim “good news” which does not address this?

To teach, baptise and nurture new believers

Once again context is crucial. Is our teaching and nurturing equipping Christians and the Christian community to respond to the challenges and dilemmas that the ecological crisis presents? Are we able to articulate a Scriptural response? Are we clear about our ethical responsibilities?

Do we ‘live Christ’s story’ in our care for creation? Does our care for creation reflect our love for the Creator?

To respond to human need by loving service

Climate change, loss of biodiversity and concern about the future, create human need. This can range from those who are unable to produce a harvest, or who have lost their homes to floods around the world, to those who are suffering from climate anxiety, mourning the loss of countryside and species and need to lament.

To transform unjust structures of society and to challenge violence of every kind

The ecological issues we face today are justice issues. The global poor are disproportionately affected and those countries which have benefited least from our exploitation of the Earth’s resources bear a disproportionate amount of the cost.

There is also the question of inter-generational justice when we note the extent of the problems we are bequeathing to the next generation. We might even consider our (in)actions as theft from later generations. As the crisis worsens it is anticipated that competition for increasingly scarce resources will make peace even harder to achieve.

To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth 

The Fifth Mark of Mission is not an afterthought! Each of the marks of mission demands ecological engagement. A planet in crisis effects everything we do.

Resources for Worship and Teaching

A selection of resources and events to focus you throughout the year.

Throughout the Church Year


The ChooseLife resource offers ideas for worship throughout the year. It will be published and distributed to all churches in our diocese in 2024. More info to follow.


Rogation takes place in the springtime, the week beginning the 6th Sunday of Easter and just before Ascension, the liturgy and Rogation procession celebrates themes of renewal.


An annual and worldwide event on April 22. 


Environment Sunday is celebrated on the Sunday nearest World Environment Day (5 June). It is an opportunity for teaching and worship on creation care; you could invite a guest speaker from a Christian environmental organisation to talk about how your church can bless your community in caring for the environment.


This joint project between A Rocha and Caring for God’s Acre encourages churches to record wildlife around the church. 


Creationtide is the season in the church calendar between the World Day of Prayer on 1 September and St Francis’ Day on 4 October. Churches and congregations are called to focus on celebrating God’s gift of creation and bringing about the restoration of the natural world. There are plenty of resources available online, from service outlines to liturgy and harvest prayers. The Church of England has also produced Creationtide weekly group discussion materials.


The Sunday closest to St Francis’ day. There are some good resources on the CreatureKind website.


For a weekly sermon tip/reflection on the environment see

Worship and Prayer Resources


This Common Worship resource is by the Liturgical Commission for the Church of England, for all services and occasions when there is a focus on creation.


There are lots of resources for corporate and personal worship outdoors. Nature and the beauty of creation often inspire people to praise God, and outdoor worship can be more informal and accessible.

Outdoor worship guidance and resources from the Church of England.

Seasonal worship from the Church of Scotland.


The Porter’s Gate – Climate Vigil Songs 

The Porter’s Gate Worship Project’s Climate Vigil Songs (2022) contains 14 contemporary songs, sheet music and a study guide.

Resound Worship – Doxecology

UK-based Resound Worship’s Doxecology (2020) is a collection of thirteen congregational worship songs that celebrate the wonder of creation, acknowledge our failures, and anticipate a glorious restoration in Christ. There is a CD, videos, sheet music, and a study guide with service plans. Most of these resources are free to use.

Books for Prayers and Liturgy

Church of England (2020), A Time for Creation, Liturgical Resources for Creation and the Environment, London: Church House Publishing. 

This is a convenient compilation of creation-focussed materials drawn from Common Worship, available in print and online. 

KELSEY, Rob (2021) Praying for the Earth, Remembering the Environment in our Prayers of Intercession, Durham: Sacristy Press.

Kelsey’s collects for wide-ranging environmental topics can be used in suggested weekly and monthly cycles, or individually.  

POLHIL, Chris (2010), A Heart for Creation, Worship Resources and Reflections on the Environment, Glasgow: Wild Goose Publications. 

This wonderful collection of worship resources leads from celebration, through lament, to action and transformation. There are prayers, poems, stories, reflections and songs, all sourced from the well-known Celtic tradition of Iona.

Study Groups

God as the author of creation is a theme found throughout scripture. There are a variety of bible study resources on care of creation and the theme of the environment, these are often aimed at small groups but could also be used for personal study.

SAYING YES TO LIFE by Dr Ruth Valerio

Saying Yes to Life (the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lent book 2020) lends itself well to group discussion, but requires substantial preparatory reading for each session. Each chapter of the book ends with questions for reflection, and the Saying Yes to Life website provides video interviews and links to further resources. 


This excellent five-session course can be used by small groups as well as by individuals. It consists of a booklet and an audio CD. Up-to-date information, challenging questions, and faith-based hopefulness. (Presently out of print)


Tearfund has produced a series of short bible studies available for free online:

  • Biodiversity in the Bible
  • Caring Creatively for God’s world
  • Caring for God’s Creation
  • Caring for our Environment
  • God’s care for all of creation


This is a four-part study series. Through interactive group sessions, video interviews with leading Christian thinkers and insightful Bible commentary, this resource will help you and your church to reflect on the challenges of a changing climate, and how Christians can respond with hope to one of today’s greatest challenges. 


Imagine a society where every person can flourish and everyone has enough. Plenty! is a small group discussion resource developed as part of Green Christian’s ‘Joy in Enough’ project. Through six sessions 75-minute sessions, it explores a faith-based vision for a just and sustainable economy:

1. Plenty! – Inequality.

2. Just can’t get enough – Consumerism and advertising

3. Running out of planet – The climate emergency

4. God is in business – Economic justice

5. Growing pains – The growth imperative and debt

6. Joy in Enough – Towards sustainability and wellbeing