More than 400 UK churches are planning to switch to renewable energy providers in a move which will see more than a million pounds shifted to clean power.
Launched at the beginning of Lent by charities Christian Aid and Tearfund The Big Church Switch invited churches and individuals in the UK to switch energy companies, to demonstrate the need for a transition from fossil fuels. During Easter Week, they will negotiate with more than a million pounds’ worth of energy bills to find the best deal.
Among the 424 churches that have registered to switch is the oldest Methodist building in the world, The New Room in Bristol. David Worthington, Manager of The New Room said: “We may be the oldest Methodist building in the world but that doesn’t mean we have to use the polluting energy of the past.
“We take seriously the impact we have on our neighbours, both locally and globally. Switching our energy provider to clean sources of power is a simple thing we can do to help the global transition to a low carbon world. If we, in a building as old as ours, can embrace the idea of renewable energy then anyone can.”
The Bishop of Manchester, David Walker, welcomed the initiative, saying: “Creation is a gift from God and Christians have a divine commission to take care of it. Like any receiver of a precious gift, to honour the giver we must treasure the gift. As individuals and churches we have a choice in how we treat the earth, how we spend our money, how we power our homes and our buildings.
“By creating technology which can turn wind and sunshine into clean and renewable energy humans continue to benefit from the gift of creation. Making the most of this bountiful harvest is a common sense way for us to roll back the ravages of climate change and ensure we are taking an active role in being part of the solution. The Big Church Switch is a practical way for us all to do our bit.”
In addition, Quakers in Britain have arranged a ‘Quaker basket’ with green electricity supplier Good Energy, in order to add to the 100 local meetings which have so far made the shift to renewable energy.
Revd Graham Sinden, Minister of Kidlington Baptist Church, whose church supports Tearfund and has registered to switch said: “‘We need to practise what we preach. If we believe that we should be looking after this world that God created for us all, then we must do all we can to minimise our carbon footprint, particularly as it is the poorest in the world that are worst affected by climate change.”
Christian Aid’s Head of Advocacy, Laura Taylor, said: “The Big Church Switch shows that people are willing to reduce our CO2 emissions, and that we want to take action together. The UK Government must help accelerate the shift from fossil fuels to renewables as they prepare the next carbon budget for our country.”
Ben Niblett, Tearfund Senior Campaigner said: “We’re so encouraged by this growing movement – Christians around the UK have taken action and had a big impact on our carbon footprint by taking part in The Big Church Switch. We’re loving our neighbours with our electricity bills. We will continue to hold governments to account and to help people across the world hit by the devastating daily impacts of climate change.”
Churches are able to sign up throughout the year and are offered the opportunity to switch as and when their current contracts end. For more information about the Big Church Switch, visit www.bigchurchswitch.org.uk.