small laudato si book coverFor about 12 months now the Commission has had a small project steering group working on the development of an Environment Policy that could be adopted by the Diocese. Since the publication of Laudato Si’ in 2015 there have been 4 dioceses that have adopted such policies and some other dioceses also have them in preparation.For about 12 months now the Commission has had a small project steering group working on the development of an Environment Policy that could be adopted by the Diocese. Since the publication of Laudato Si’ in 2015 there have been 4 dioceses that have adopted such policies and some other dioceses also have them in preparation.
The Project group (Maggie McSherry & Paul Kelly from St Mary & St Michael parish in Settle, John photo of the earth from spaceMcLaughlin from St Augustine’s parish in Leeds, Trish Sandbach from St Benedict’s parish in Garforth, John Moran, Diocesan Financial Controller and a member of SS Peter & Paul parish in Wakefield and, more latterly, Keith Pitcher from SS John Fisher & Thomas More in Burley in Wharfedale) took inspiration from dioceses that had already drafted or adopted a policy and they were strongly influenced by the practical approach adopted in the Anglican Diocese of Leeds. Whilst Laudato Si’ was the inspiration for starting this project, the group were keen to develop something that could be used practically within the diocese rather than being too ‘fluffy’ in its language and aspiration.
Why have such a policy? Well, as the introductory paragraph to the policy states, “This policy is the cornerstone of our intent, as a body of people committed to ‘hearing the cry of the poor and the
cry of the earth’ and working for climate justice at this critical time.”
It has gone through various iterations since we started out on this journey. We have reached a point now where it is split into two very distinct parts
1. A one-page policy that lays out what we think our commitment as a Diocese should be.
2. Eight pages that give flesh to the policy statements by giving concrete examples of actions that could be taken at individual, parish and diocesan level. Whilst our faith requires us to take more action to care for ‘Our Common Home’, we must also recognise that each personal and parish situation is different.
The most recent draft has been reviewed by the Bishop and, in a letter back to the Commission Chair (John Battle) he says “I have studied the draft carefully and I believe it forms the basis for a very clear and aspirational environmental policy for me as the diocesan Bishop and for the Board of Directors of the Leeds Diocesan Trust to consider for adoption within the Diocese of Leeds”.
So, with some minor changes this is now in the process of being submitted for formal approval and adoption by the diocese.