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Open Heaven Caring for Creation

The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it - Psalm 24:1

At Open Heaven we care about God’s earth and recognise our responsibility to partner with God
to care for creation.

We recognise that creation currently faces multiple environmental crisis which are being caused by human activity. Climate change, biodiversity loss, air pollution and waste.

All of these crises are impacting of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people the most. Wecannot ‘love our neighbour’ without also caring for the global home we share.

We also want to celebrate and enjoy God’s good creation as a community.

We hold Eco Church Bronze Award
In 2022 we achieve Eco Church Bronze Award. This is a national award, given by the charity ARocha.

We’ve done a number of things to achieve this, including:
  • Inviting Ruth Valerio of Tearfund to be a guest speaker at our Gatherings.
  • Putting up bird boxes, hedgehog boxes, bird tables and a bug hotel in our St Peters Churchyard. 
  • Encouraging people to walk or cycle to our gatherings and other meetings. 
  • Thinking about the eco credentials of the things we purchase, including recycled paper for the office and hand soap for the loos. 
  • Inviting members of our community to lobby our local MP at a weekly climate vigil outside her office, alongside Christians from others churches and individuals from the wider community of Loughborough.
  • Continuing to hold an annual Autumn Festival in OH2.
  • Our toilets at St Peters were already twinned with a toilet in another part of the world.

We’re working towards Eco Church Silver Award
Open Heaven is committed to working towards Eco Church Silver Award. This is much more challenging than Bronze Award but we’ve made a good start with the following actions:

  • In November 2022, we carried out a survey to find out what areas of creation care Open Heaveners are interested in and how members of our community would like to be involved in our work on creation care. This has informed what we’ve done since.
  • In 2023 we recommitted to being a Fairtrade Church. This is something we first achieved more than 10 years ago, but have now reaffirmed our commitment to. We serve Fairtrade coffee, tea and sugar at OH2 gatherings and in October our OH2 Autumn festival included speakers from two organisations working with Fairtrade producers. We’re planning to celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight each year.
  • In 2023 switched Open Heaven’s savings account to a building society which doesn’t invest in fossil fuels. We are planning to do the same with our current account. These banks also meet a number of other criteria around human rights and other ethical practices. This action will have a larger impact in reducing carbon emissions than most things we are likely to do as part of our commitment to creation care.
  • We held a Christmas jumper swap at OH2 during December 2022. At our August 2023 Messy Church there was a very successful children’s clothing swap.
  • As a church we took part in a litter pick over the summer of 2023 as part of a Loughborough Churches Partnership event.
  • We held a creation care course during Lent 2023 which was attended by several members of our church community.
  • During 2023 a new Open Heaven gardening group grew vegetables in raised beds on land rented by our partner Baca, next door to St Peters. We grew tomatoes, butternut squash, pumpkins, and yellow courgettes. Some of the produce was used by Baca’s young people.
  • Cycling and walking to OH2 gatherings became so popular in 2023 and 2023 that the St Pters cycle racks are often full to bursting on a Sunday morning and we now encourage people to use the cycle racks outside Baca’s building as overflow cycle parking. There’s also lots of cycle parking available at the Student Union for OH1’ers.
  • In 2024 we will start measuring our carbon footprint as a church. This will give us a picture of where our emissions are coming from and that should give us more ideas about how we can have the biggest impact in reducing them.

What can you do?
There are lots of things we can all do in our own lives and communities to care for creation. Below are just a few.
  • Work out your personal carbon footprint. You can most effectively reduce your carbon emissions if you know what your emissions in different areas of your life are. The WWF Carbon Footprint tool is one of the easiest to use.
  • Buy chocolate with the Fairtrade logo. The Christian bookshop and Oxfam shop in Loughborough both stock Fairtrade chocolate, as do most supermarkets. Fairtrade works with farmers and workers so they can improve their living standards, invest in their communities and businesses, and protect our shared environment. Find out more.
  • Switch to an ethical bank account. Many banks invest some of their funds in fossil fuels. We can only effectively tackle climate change if we stop burning fossil fuels. Some useful links.
https://www.ethicalconsumer.org https://www.mymothertree.com/bank-league-table https://makemymoneymatter.co.uk/ - can also help you ensure your pension is not invested in fossil fuels
Ethical Consumer rates banks according to a range of criteria relating to issues including climate change, pollution, human rights and army and military supply to name just a few:, so may be helpful to you if you’re thinking about a range of issues, no just creation care).
  • Car share to gatherings. We know that cycling and walking doesn’t work for everyone, but could you share a lift with someone else who is coming from the same direction?
  • Join the OH Gardening Group. This is a great opportunity to help grow veg (and learn how to if you haven’t done it before).
  • Pray for the Climate. These resources will give you pointers:
Green Christian’s daily prayer prompts: https://greenchristian.org.uk/resources/prayer-guide
24-7 Prayer’s Climate Justice prayer guide:
https://www.24-7prayer.com/join_in_posts/climate-justice/



© Open Heaven Church 2023 — Open Heaven Church is a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales no. 7244128 and a registered charity no. 1138763.