As one of its main areas of focus, Downing Place Church has recognised that Sustainability is a crucial issue for our time, not only for ourselves but for the whole planet and future generations.
We echo the statement made by the General Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Busan, South Korea, in 2013.
‘We live in a time of global crises. Economic, ecological, socio-political and spiritual challenges confront us … By the flame of the Spirit in our hearts, we pray to Christ to brighten the world: for his light to turn our whole beings to caring for the whole of creation and to affirm that all people are created in God’s image. Listening to voices that often come from the margins, let us all share lessons of hope and perseverance. Let us recommit ourselves to work for liberation and to act in solidarity. May the illuminating Word of God guide us on our journey.’
As part of our response, the church has established a sustainability group which aims to help develop our theological understanding of sustainability; take appropriate decisions regarding the church’s own life; act co-operatively with others who share the same goals and encourage personal lifestyle commitment.
To that end, this page is here to both inform and encourage.
15 Simple Things You Can Do
to Help Protect the Earth
- Reduce, reuse, and recycle. Cut down on what you throw away. Follow the three “R’s” to conserve natural resources and landfill space.
- Repair. Don’t throw it away, repair it.
- Cambridge Carbon Footprint. cambridgecarbonfootprint.org. Lots of information, including Repair Cafes.
- Transition Cambridge. transitioncambridge.org A comprehensive summary of educational materials, information and events for all to sample and participate in.
- Shop wisely. Buy less plastic and bring a reusable shopping bag.
- Shop fairly and ethically. Look for the Fair Trade symbol. Support Traidcraft.
- Conserve water. The less water you use, the less runoff and wastewater that eventually end up in the ocean.
- Don’t send chemicals into our waterways. Choose non-toxic chemicals in the home and office.
- Choose sustainable fish. Look for the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) logo
- Turn off the light switch when you leave the room!
- Use long-lasting light bulbs. Energy efficient light bulbs reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
- Plant a tree. Trees provide food and oxygen. They help save energy, clean the air, and help combat climate change.
- Walk, bike or bus more. Drive less.
- Information and Education. For a Christian perspective see: A Rocha arocha.org.uk
- Volunteer. Volunteer for action in your community (Transition Cambridge).
- Take political action. Write to your MP, County, District, City and Parish Councillor. Information from Christian Aid, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, RSPB.
Downing Place is a registered Eco Church.
Registration is based on a survey which examines our responses in the following areas:
- Worship and teaching
- Management of church buildings
- Management of church land
- Community and global engagement
Eco Church registration enables churches to both record what they are already doing to care for God’s earth, and to reflect on what further steps they can take to that end and then act accordingly.
At Downing Place, we have made a GARDEN to bring some of the natural world into our site, in the centre of a busy city.
The garden is a symbol of our promise to look after our planet.
And let’s not forget the difference a city garden can make:
- Plants absorb Carbon Dioxide
- The transpiration of the leaves cools and refreshes the air in summer
- Composting – if we can – returns nutrients to starved city soil
- Plant roots absorb rainwater run-off from pavements that would flood sewers
Set at the centre of our complex, the garden can be seen through new clear windows all around, from the Gibson Hall, the Kitchen, the Servery, Hub and all the small meeting rooms.
Old wooden screens, that will gradually weather to silver, frame mirrors and support climbing plants. We hope those of all ages will enjoy tending the garden, while others will sit enjoying the oasis from the benches and table & chairs.
In the Autumn of 2021 a series of House Groups were planned to tie in with our focus on creation, the environment and sustainability.
They were led by Revd Dr. Janet Tollington and were based on the following Old Testament texts, which enabled the groups to explore the theme from different perspectives: Genesis 1:1 – 2:4a; Job 38-39; Psalms 8 & 104; Proverbs 8:22-31; Isaiah 40:21-31; and Ezekiel 47:1-12.
We hope to be able to continue our exploration of Biblical ares surrounding sustainability in the future.