‘God created humankind in his image … God blessed them, and God said to them “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth”.’ (Gen 1:27-8)
‘The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it.’ (Gen 2:15)
‘The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the compass of the world and those who dwell therein’. (Ps 24:1)
‘Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything was held in common. … There was no needy person among them…’ (Acts 4:32, 34)
”What is Christian Stewardship?
Christian stewardship is the way in which Christians exercise their duty to administer what God has entrusted to them and to serve him gladly in his Church.
What has God entrusted to human beings to administer?
God has entrusted to human beings material possessions, time and talents, and made us stewards of his creation.” – From the Catechism, APB p. 435, Questions 83,84
‘To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth’
– The fifth of the Anglican Communion’s ‘Five Marks of Mission’ (1990)
The task team believes that care for the environment is embedded in all the ‘Five Marks of Mission’ adopted by the Anglican Consultative Council in 1990. So their plan looks at the church’s response to the environmental crisis across several areas, and seeks to incorporate holistic environmental action into the mission and ministry of the Church.
Any Provincial programme must give special attention to issues particular to the various countries that constitute the ACSA, to the urban / rural divide, and to the gap between poor and wealthy.
The task team’s plan has three main sections. The first identifies a range of critical environmental issues; the second focuses on what Anglicans can do at Provincial, diocesan, and parish levels; and the third details the resources, timeframe, budget, and people required to deliver on the plan.
The team identifies the following critical issues:
This is “the key emerging environmental issue”, and must be met by both mitigation (reducing carbon emissions) and adaptation (using alternative energy sources). The team details a range of strategies to address it.
Both the availability and quality of water in Southern Africa are major challenges, with a wide range of causes that include the effects of industry and mining, increased urbanisation, agricultural run-off, waste disposal, and land use.
The main concerns here are:
- Indoor and ambient air pollution, and the associated health impacts
- Climate change and variability, and its implications for ecosystems and human well-being
- Depletion of stratospheric ozone
The team proposes seven responses, informed by the seven-year plan of the UK-based Alliance of Religions and Conservation:
(i) Ensure that the ‘Season of Creation’ is promoted and celebrated within the ACSA annually.
(ii) Create a programme like the Church of England’s ‘Shrinking the Footprint’.
(iii) Encourage the Province and each diocese to have an environment desk and/or environmental coordinator.
(iv) Produce appropriate resource material and establish an eco web page on the ACSA website to share lessons learnt.
(v) Hold an annual ACSA Environmental Network workshop for diocesan coordina-tors.
(vi) Re-establish formal contact with the Anglican Communion Environmental Net-work.
(vii) Promote environmental action at parish level through the establishment of eco-congregations and/or A Rocha groups.