God made the earth and everything in it and appointed us to be good stewards of it. He has asked us to look after the planet, including the flora and fauna.
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” Genesis 1:26
The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and keep it. Genesis 2:15
Whoever is righteous has regard for the life of his beast, but the mercy of the wicked is cruel. Proverbs 12:10
God is also concerned that we deal fairly with companies and individuals with whom we trade.
Do not defraud or rob your neighbour. Do not hold back the wages of a hired worker overnight. Leviticus 19:13
If you sell land to any of your own people or buy land from them, do not take advantage of each other. Leviticus 25:14
Clearly human beings, including us, have ignored God’s heart for his creation in many ways, so we want to do whatever we can towards redressing this. This is why we have developed our…
Social and environmental policy
We believe that all of creation speaks of the glory, love and mercy of our God. As individuals at GCC, and corporately as a church body, we are committed to showing justice and mercy to all people and to caring for all God’s creation, including the environment we live in. As a church community, we will take human and environmental concerns into account in our mission, worship, study, education, training, administrative activities and programmes. In practice this includes:
Trying to make ethical choices when making any purchases to ensure items are not produced through exploitation of people
Where possible trying to ensure items purchased are sustainable, recyclable, and that the environmental impact of the product’s life cycle is minimised
Trying to minimise production of waste through our various activities, and to ensuring as much waste as possible that is produced is recyclable and recycled
Reducing our carbon footprint through reducing unnecessary travel, using sustainable (‘green’) energy sources and suppliers where possible and being as energy-efficient as possible.
GCC also undertakes to review this policy and its implementation annually, and as part of this to undertake an annual carbon footprint audit to ensure we keep striving to minimise our carbon impact.
What we do
Paper is printed double-sided whenever possible. We hire a school hall for our large Sunday meetings which means we don't have a large building standing empty for the rest of the week. Instead we have our own smaller building which is an adequate size for all our other small meetings.
Preference is given to re-using items where possible. We use china mugs/cups in our own building and encourage people to bring their own reusable cups for our meetings at the school where mugs aren’t available. We reuse any scrap paper before recycling it. We send all our toners for refilling using a specialist service.
We have a fortnightly collection from our office/community venue in the High Street which handles most recyclables (paper, cans, plastic packaging) and food waste for composting. The paper cups we use for meetings at the school are not recycled by our local authority kerbside collection, so we take them to a specialist recycling bin in the car park near Gillingham library.
Since 2007 we have been a Fairtrade church. This means that we have committed to use Fairtrade tea, coffee and sugar at all our church gatherings and events and give other Fairtrade products priority whenever possible.
When using supermarkets preference goes to those with higher ethical standards such as Lidl and Waitrose. We put together over 100 hygiene and cleaning packs each year to help those in crisis and we try to include recycled/environmentally-friendly products where possible.
We are monitoring our carbon footprint with the aim of reducing it as much as possible. This includes gas, electricity, car fuel and airline travel. In the year ending 5 April 2018:
6,000 miles were travelled by car
9,500 miles each way by aeroplane for a guest speaker
12,000 kWh of gas at our office building
1,785 kWh of electricity at our office building
This resulted in a total of around 7.5 tons of CO2 emissions; we aim to see a reduction for the current year.
Room for improvement
Energy. We are tied into contracts but when feasible we will change to a green energy supplier.
Cleaning. We are moving over the eco-friendly versions cleaning products.
Reduce. We seem to use a lot of paper.
Reuse. We want to get to the point where most people bring their own cups to our Sunday services.
We encourage all those who attend GCC to embrace similar approaches in their own homes. Most of what is above can be adopted in the home and then it will have a greater effect; here are some other ideas:
Look at what’s in your rubbish and see if you can change what you buy to lessen what’s not recycled
Reduce the amount of meat we eat (we’d need three Earths for everyone to be able to eat meat every day)
Hang washing up to dry rather than use a tumble dryer
We’re conscious there’s always more to be done so if you have any suggestions for next steps we’d be pleased to hear them.