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Running Tenants of the King Online

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Many of us are turning to online activities at the moment as a way of staying connected to each other. If you would like to ‘meet’ virtually with others from your church then why not run an online Tenants of the King Bible Study? Read on for suggestions on how to run the bible study using a web-based conference calling platform called Zoom.

Setting up Zoom

Zoom is the online conferencing platform used by Operation Noah. There are other conferencing platforms out there you could consider, we just happen to use this one. At the moment Zoom is offering resources to help people get up to speed with using their facilities. You will need to set up an account, but can use it for free if you don’t mind having your conference in 40 minute sessions, as it times out after 40 minutes and everyone simply clicks the same link to meet up again.

How to run the course

1.Order your Tenants of the King Study Guides and videos

Order enough booklets and videos on usb stick for everyone, and deliver or post them to your group members. You are welcome to share one usb stick between different groups. However, you may want to order one usb per group, to save having to pass it round.

2. Keep it small

To ensure everyone has a chance to share their thoughts, aim for 10 or fewer people in the group, just as you would with a face-to-face group. If interest is high, form two or three groups that meet at different times, providing more alternatives for people with busy schedules.

3. Expect technical mishaps

Bad wifi-connectivity and poor sound quality are bound to happen. Expect them, and it won’t be so bad when they occur. Spend time before your first study checking everyone’s equipment and helping them learn how to use it. It often helps to be connected by Zoom, or whatever platform you are using, and telephone at the same time. People may need to purchase microphones, speakers or headsets. Perhaps there are a few people in your group who could help do this. Give yourself 30 mins in your first session to iron out technical issues and remind people how to use the platform.

4. How to run the session

Begin by ensuring everyone can see and hear each other. You may need to ask people to mute themselves when they are not speaking, or the host may need to mute people – politely tell people that this is what you are going to do for some, if not all, of the meeting. During the discussion sections you may want to ask people to use the ‘hand raising’ option so as to allow all to have a chance of speaking.

The leader, who might be a different group member each week, runs the session using the leaders’ notes. When the video is played, for Zoom, this can be shown using the sharing option, described here

5. Keep to time

Being online rather than in-person is more tiring. Keep the session to time – two lots of 40 minute sessions, if you are using the free version of Zoom, or two hours maximum. This may mean firm chairing, but your group will thank you! Perhaps offer to add on another 40 minutes session at the end for people who want to chat after the session is over.

6. Feedback

Finally, do let us know how you got on, with any suggestions for improvement of these tips!

Book Review: Climate Crisis: The challenge to the church

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Kevin Shang reviews Climate Crisis: The challenge to the church for Operation Noah.

Climate Crisis: the challenge to the church, a new book by David Rhodes, the Anglican priest and former journalist, provides a clear and powerful argument that the Church has buried the real Jesus under centuries of hierarchical structures and protective dogmas. The Church could make a crucial difference in fighting against climate change, but the first step is to rediscover the real Jesus of the Gospels and rethink the Church’s attitude towards the world. 

David argues that centuries of dogma and tradition in the Church has separated most of us from the true meaning of Jesus’life and teachings. This hinders us in knowing the real Jesus. An emphasis on sin and personal salvation in the institutional Church has stolen our attention from ‘love your neighbour’, the great commandment of Jesus. Our world contains myriad examples of groups who only love those within their ‘tribe’, including the Church. By contrast, when we love across all lines of race, class, wealth, social class, gender and nationality through our actions, we reflect something from beyond this world – God’s unconditional love. Responding to climate change is a great way for us to learn to love our neighbours and the planet.  

This book is easy to read, but not comfortable to read. It encourages us to get out of our spiritual comfort zone and re-examine our understanding of Jesus. In 1 John 3:18 we read, ‘Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth’ (NIV). Personal salvation and dealing with sin are important, but an emphasis on these issues can leave us satisfied with staying in a self-protective bubble while remaining apathetic to the suffering of the world. 

Written with a journalist’s courage and integrity, Climate Crisis: the challenge to the church challenges us to rethink how to follow Jesus with passion in our time. It is a great book and definitely worth the time of every Christian who is concerned about climate change. 

Buy Climate Crisis: the challenge to the church

Climate Sunday: giving a voice to local churches

Posted in: Articles, Blog

We’re marking World Environment Day with the launch of Climate Sunday, an initiative organised by Churches Together in Britain and Ireland with support from Operation Noah and other charities including CAFOD, Christian Aid, Tearfund and A Rocha UK.

We’re encouraging local churches to hold a local Climate Sunday at any time during the 12 months starting on 6 September 2020 (the first Sunday in the annual season of Creationtide). Climate Sunday will provide free resources to suit every tradition and style of worship to help each church do this. During their local Climate Sunday, we invite each church to do one or more of three things: 

  1. Climate service: Hold a climate-focused service, to explore the theological and scientific basis of creation care and action on climate, to pray, and to commit to action.
  2. Commit: Make a commitment as a local church community to taking long term action to reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions.
  3. Call: Join with other churches and wider society by adding its name to a common call for the UK government to take much bolder action on climate change in this country in advance of COP26, and to strengthen its credibility to lead the international community to adopt a step change in action at COP26. The culmination of the campaign will be a national Climate Sunday event on Sunday 5 September 2021, to share church commitments and pray for bold action and courageous leadership at COP26. 

More than 3,400* local churches are already registered with the main church greening schemes, but with the climate crisis accelerating and the UK due to host the rescheduled COP26 climate talks in November 2021 in Glasgow, we believe the time has come for all churches across the UK to pray about and act on the climate crisis.

Director of Global Advocacy at Tearfund, Dr Ruth Valerio, author of Saying Yes to Life: The Archbishop of Canterbury’s 2020 Lent Book, said: ‘The current crisis has changed the way we see the world. It has reminded us of the fragility of life, exposed the gap between rich and poor, and revealed the damage we’ve done to the wider creation. But it has also helped us love our neighbours and brought communities together. Climate Sunday is a great opportunity to respond to these societal shifts; to pause and reimagine what life could be like; to commit to living differently ourselves and to call on the UK government to rebuild our economy in a way that tackles the climate emergency and builds a better world for everyone.’

Chief Executive of A Rocha UK, Andy Atkins, and chair of the coalition, said: ‘Our vision is to leave a lasting legacy of thousands of UK churches better equipped to address this critical issue as part of their normal discipleship and mission; and to make a very significant contribution to civil society efforts to secure adequate national and international action at the COP26 conference.’

Register for Climate Sunday 

Read a blog about Climate Sunday by Andy Atkins, CEO of A Rocha UK and Chair of the Climate Sunday Steering Group.

* As of 31 May 2020, more than 3,400 of the UK’s 50,000 churches were members of one of the following schemes: Eco Church (England and Wales) 2,800; Eco Congregation Scotland 500 and Ireland; Live Simply (Catholic Churches in England and Wales) 120 parishes.

What Will It Take to Cool the Planet?

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Bill McKibben. This article originally appeared in The New Yorker on 21 May 2020. It is reproduced here with permission.

This week’s newsletter is a little different, in that I mainly want to encourage you to watch a video and then play with a Web site. Both come from the remarkable people at Climate Interactive, a project that grew out of M.I.T.’s Sloan School of Management. I’ve admired the group’s co-directors, Elizabeth Sawin and Andrew Jones, for many years, and watched their En-roads simulator grow from fairly crude beginnings into a truly sophisticated and useful model. It allows you to change different variables to see what it would take to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions enough to get us off our current impossible track (screeching toward a world something like four degrees Celsius hotter) and onto the merely miserable heading of 1.5 to two degrees Celsius envisioned in the Paris climate accords.

I pointed out last week that the covid-19 pandemic has taught us something interesting: even locking down most of the planet didn’t cut emissions as much as we might have thought. (By early April, daily CO2 emissions decreased by seventeen per cent.) This suggests that a great percentage of the trouble is hardwired into our systems, and not solely a function of our habits and choices. Indeed, the simulator shows that, if you reduce the growth of both populations and economies to the lowest level the programmers considered possible, the planet still warms almost 3.5 degrees Celsius.

But now reset the variables and go into the submenus for coal, gas, and oil, and perform a little experiment: stop building any new infrastructure for these fossil fuels beginning in 2025 and, all of a sudden, you’re at a world that warms only 2.8 degrees Celsius by 2100. That’s why it is such good news, for instance, that New York State last week quashed plans for the Williams natural-gas pipeline across the New York City harbor: if you keep building stuff like this now, it locks in emissions for decades to come, busting our carbon budget. It’s why the climate movement has fought so hard against pipelines and fracking wells and L.N.G. terminals: with ever-cheaper renewable power, when you manage to stop such projects, sun and wind have a chance at filling the vacuum.

And, once you’ve made this basic course change, you can go back to work on other steps that the simulator can model. Stipulate an all-out effort at making buildings and transport more efficient, and cut way back on deforestation—and now you’re at about 2.5 degrees. Figure out some ways to “highly reduce” methane emissions from oil and gas wells, cows, and other sources, and suddenly you’re nearing the two-degree mark.

None of these things are easy, of course. In fact, all of them are very hard. But stopping new infrastructure is possible—it’s basically a battle with the fossil-fuel industry, which, as I’ve been pointing out, is losing financial muscle with each passing week. Last week, according to the Financial Times, in a fascinating interview with Bernard Looney, the C.E.O. of BP, “Looney noted that as crude prices have plunged, renewable energy projects had been able to attract funding, suggesting the pandemic has weakened the investment case for oil. ‘It’s the model that is increasingly respected and admired by investors as being resilient and having a different risk profile,’ he said.”

Working together for a just and green recovery

Posted in: Articles, Blog

At Operation Noah we believe in working alongside others to achieve a better world. In the past month we’ve been co-signatories on a number of letters calling for a just and green recovery from COVID-19.

  • RSPB and the Green Alliance organised an open letter on a green recovery to the Prime Minister. Amongst other things, the letter called on the Prime Minister to create a more resilient economy that contributes to a climate-safe future and to build global ambition on tackling the climate crisis and restoring nature by bringing global leaders together in the run-up to COP26 in Glasgow in 2021. Read the letter.
  • Biofuelwatch organised a letter responding to a consultation on the future of biomass subsidies. Biofuelwatch are calling for an end to subsidies for high carbon biomass power in the UK. Operation Noah supporters are welcome to participate in this consultation too, although you’ll need to be quick as it closes on 29th May. More information.
  • We co-signed a letter to First Minister in Scotland, calling for the country to lead on a radical response to the double crises of climate change and Coronavirus. This letter was organised by Friends of the Earth Scotland.
  • We co-signed a statement stating that the phase out of fossil fuel production is a key pillar for a Just Recovery. The statement was organised by Global Gas and Oil Network.

The Church Still Needs to Lead on Action on Climate Change

Posted in: Articles, Blog, News
Date posted: 23 April 2020

A new poll has found that almost half the public believe the Government should respond with the same urgency to climate change as it has with Covid-19. Forty-eight per cent of those polled agreed with this statement, with only 28 per cent disagreeing.

The poll, which was carried out by Opinium and commissioned by the Compassion in Politics Podcast, provides a green light to the Government to take strong action to tackle the climate crisis, even as we also tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

At the same time, a YouGov poll commissioned by The Royal Society of Arts, found that only nine per cent of the population want life to return to normal after lockdown. The overwhelming majority, 85 per cent, would like us to learn from lockdown and retain some of the personal and social changes we have gained, such as cleaner air, stronger communities and seeing more wildlife.

Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive of the RSA, said: ‘Amid the awful news and general doom, we must use this time to imagine a better future. This poll shows that the British people are increasingly aware that the health of people and planet are inseparable and it’s time for radical environmental, social, political and economic change.’

At Operation Noah we believe the Church, as stewards of creation, needs to lead on taking drastic action on climate change. The pandemic, and subsequent lockdown in many countries, is estimated to reduce global carbon emissions by 5.5 per cent in 2020, yet scientists are calling for cuts of 7.6 per cent every year to keep global average temperatures from rising above 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Clearly, we have a long way to go. We have joined a number of other organisations in calling for a ‘Just Recovery’ from Covid-19 which puts the welfare of people and planet at its heart. Individuals can also sign up to this call – will you join us?

Operation Noah Calls for a Just Recovery from Covid-19

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Operation Noah has joined hundreds of other organisations around the world to call for a Just Recovery from Covid-19.

We have signed an open letter written by 350.org calling for responses to the pandemic at every level to uphold five principles that will ensure a just recovery and help us transition to a better future. The five principles are:

  1. Put people’s health first, no exceptions.
  2. Provide economic relief directly to the people.
  3. Help our workers and communities, not corporate executives.
  4. Create resilience for future crises.
  5. Build solidarity and community across borders – do not empower authoritarians.

Individuals are also welcome to sign the letter here.

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