By Sean Morris, Good Shepherd Church Community, Mytholmroyd & Commission member
The Church, like so many parts of society, is acutely aware of the damage humans have made to our planet, and the real risks climate change has for all of us. It is important to encourage the Leeds Diocese to follow in the footsteps of other dioceses in tackling these issues.
Parish members of the Church of the Good Shepherd in Mytholmroyd have set up a ‘Laudato Si’ group and held a fact-finding tour of the Salford Diocese’s climate change garden and centre, based at Wardley Hall. The parish has been engaged on Laudato Si since it was launched by the Pope, with house groups and education events.
Members of the group had attended a Zoom meeting of the Commission with Bishop John Arnold, who leads on climate change matters for the Bishops Conference. Bishop John highlighted in his talk the positive work the Salford Diocese had taken to tackle climate change, including the Laudato Si garden at Wardley Hall. The Greater Manchester ‘Our Faith, Our Planet’ partnership recently met Pope Francis to discuss its work and direct future action – https://religionmediacentre.org.uk/news/delegation-off-to-the-vatican-to-tell-pope-this-is-how-we-are-tackling-climate-change-in-manchester/
Keen to learn more, our group met the Diocese’s Head of Environment, Dr Emma Gardner, who explained the importance of the Salford Laudato Si Centre and its wider work in developing a climate change plan for the Diocese. The Diocese seeks to be zero carbon by 2038.
The Laudato Si Centre includes educational and wellbeing spaces in the walled gardens, greenhouses, an orchard, an outdoor classroom and more recently connections to adjoining woodland. As well as a partnership to create a memorial woodland, it has a bee colony living across the hives in the walled garden producing award winning honey. It also includes thriving polytunnels and greenhouses. The outdoor classroom is made up of eco-bricks in the walls which has been made by parishioners, and it is surrounded by an accessible surface to provide equal access for all.
The visit inspired our group to look at developing our own smaller Laudato Si garden, start drafting a local climate change plan and promote this work through the Commission. We want to connect with our local councils to understand more about wider sustainability projects. We were pleased to hear the Leeds Diocese is moving in the same direction and will be appointing its own Environment Officer shortly. We encourage other parishes to visit Wardley Hall and be equally inspired to work on the values of Laudato Si in saving our planet for our future generations.
To arrange a visit to the Laudato Si Centre:
Email an enquiry to: email@example.com
They will respond to you with the necessary form to fill out to make your visit possible!