Thousands of UK churches switch to renewable energy

The 'Big Church Switch' campaign invites Christians to commit to green energy options

Westminster Cathedral is one of thousands of churches to make the switch

More than 3,500 churches in the UK have switched from fossil fuel-sourced electricity to renewables, according to new figures released today.

The ‘Big Church Switch‘ campaign was founded earlier this year to encourage Christian churches and individuals to switch their energy supply ‘as part of their commitment to care for our neighbours and for the earth.’

The campaign is supported by Christian Aid, TearFund and Cafod, and invites churches from diverse Christian traditions to make the switch.

Today’s announcement coincides with the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, the beginning of a global ecumenical time of contemplation during which Christians are encouraged to pray and work for the protection of the environment.

‘There are many ways in which we may respond to the threat and the reality of climate change and adopting renewable energy for our church buildings must be a priority,’ commented the Catholic Bishop of Salford, John Arnold.

‘Pope Francis challenges us all to “care for our common home”, and by adopting renewable energy we will directly help people threatened, and already most severely affected, by climate change.’

The pope published an encyclical last year entitled Laudato si’, calling for global action on climate change and environmental degradation. Around 2,000 of the switches to renewables come from Catholic dioceses, some of which switched in response to the pontiff’s call.

Commenting on the numbers, Nicholas Holtam, Bishop of Salisbury and the Church of England’s environment lead, criticised past Christian teachings:

“The consequences of teaching over recent centuries that humanity has been given domination over creation are clear in the complex environmental crisis we now face. It is important that Christians rediscover older traditions of a godly relationship of humanity to the wider created order.

One simple thing we can do in response to such a crisis is to switch to using clean energy in our homes, communities, schools and places of worship”.

While the campaign is targeted at changing individual behaviour, the chief executive of Christian Aid, Loretta Minghella, also called on the government to respond ‘by doing all they can to shift to a clean energy future’.

Next month, churchgoers from across denominations will take place in a ‘week of action’, during which they will join others in asking the government for an ambitious lower carbon investment plan.

Image Source: Mazur/
Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.