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Baptists urged to switch to renewables

Former Baptist Union President John Weaver encourages churches and individuals to take part in the Big Church Switch, a campaign that encourages an energy supply change from fossil fuels to renewables   


The Big Church Switch
was launched on Ash Wednesday this year. Facilitated by Christian Aid and Tearfund, it calls on churches and individual Christians of all denominations to switch their energy supply (electricity) from fossil fuels to renewable energy, as part of their commitment to care for our neighbours and for the earth – our common home. It uses the collective buying power of the churches to secure market beating renewable tariffs.

Since Ash Wednesday 2016 more than 600 churches, including five cathedrals, have registered with the Big Switch. In addition 845 Salvation Army premises have switched to a green tariff, the Quakers are aiming for 200 Meeting Houses to have made the switch, and CAFOD is working to build on the 50 per cent of Roman Catholic Dioceses who use green energy already. The URC youth federation is intending to encourage all its churches over the next few months.

With another period for churches switching coming in the autumn, Christian Aid and Tearfund are aiming for 2000 church registrations by 1 September 2016. I encourage all Baptist churches and individuals to register their interest to make this switch:

  • By using clean, renewable energy we can help restore the earth and bring balance to God’s creation. Clean energy sources offer a reliable energy supply and secure long-term jobs, fuelling prosperity for our neighbours near and far.
  • Christian Aid and Tearfund have been working closely with the church procurement service 2BUY2 in the careful selection of suppliers. This will ensure that the offers from renewable energy suppliers meet stringent criteria, including a tariff that is of 100 per cent renewable energy, from a companies who source at least 80 per cent of their electricity from green energy. It means that the Big Church Switch is already proving to be the cheapest way to buy green electricity in the UK.
  • By acting together as the church community we will send a clear and powerful message to governments and businesses that Christians are prepared to lead the way in switching to renewables, crucial if we are to live in and enjoy God’s world together.
  • Switching is easy - I signed up and switched my supplier in March. It is only a matter of following an online form. Anyone who knows me and my competence with a computer will say: ‘If John can manage it anyone can!’ I am doing my bit to save the planet and I am also saving money.

Elsewhere Ben Niblett, senior campaigner at Tearfund says:  

The UK church has a vital role in overcoming poverty and inequality in a way which doesn’t cost the earth and lasts for generations to come. Switching is a great way for Christians to love our neighbours and show the government we want more action on climate change, like investment in clean, renewable energy. 

Ruth Valerio of A Rocha writes:

Please do this! Changing to a green energy supplier might seem a big step for a church, but it is a hugely significant action. It is a practical way to care for God’s earth and it sends a big political signal too. Do what you need to do, talk to whoever you need to talk to, and make the switch.

Collectively as the church we have huge buying power and can secure some market-beating renewable tariffs. Whether you want to switch your home or inspire your church to switch, the Big Church Switch website, via Tearfund or Christian Aid will guide you through the process so that you and/or your church can switch in a simple and affordable way to a tariff that restores, rather than damages, creation.

Let this be part of our commitment to following Christ in the coming months.
‘For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed’ (Romans 8:19). Creation longs for us to live in a Christ-centred way.

For more visit:
The Big Church Switch: https://www.bigchurchswitch.org.uk/
Tearfund - Use Your Energy for Good: The Big Church Switch
Christian Aid - Leave fossil fuels behind: The Big Switch 

The Big Church switch will hopefully become part of the Eco Church award scheme
Creation Time - a period dedicated to prayer for the protection of Creation and the promotion of sustainable lifestyles that reverse our contribution to climate change - takes place 1 September to 4 October. Worship and study material are being produced for use by the churches at Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, and the Church of Scotland


Pope Francis has designated 1 September as World Day of Prayer for Care of Creation


The Revd Dr John Weaver is the Chair of the John Ray Initiative: connecting environment, science and Christianity
He was President of the Baptist Union of Great Britain 2008-9.


Baptist Times, 28/06/2016
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