Survey Reveals Most Churches Do Little Environmental Preaching

Wounded Planet: Coventry Cathedral, which is hosting an environmental conference.
Wounded Planet: Coventry Cathedral, which is hosting an environmental conference.

Christians have a strong desire to protect the environment, but are given “precious little” to help them in the way of teaching and preaching, the Bishop of Coventry, Dr Christopher Cocksworth, says.

His comments follow a survey of regular churchgoers commissioned by Coventry Cathedral in the run-up to an environmental conference, Reconciling a Wounded Planet, to be held there next month. Results suggested that, while almost 41 per cent of the Christians who responded felt that they had more of a responsibility than non-Christians to tackle the environmental crisis, 43 per cent said that there was no opportunity to hear or discuss the challenge in their place of worship.

Sixty-five per cent of the 153 respondees thought that protecting the environment was very important to them personally, and 59.2 per cent felt “informed” about the issues. Scientists were regarded as most trusted on environmental issues (54.6 per cent), and environmental protection groups were next at 37.5 per cent.

The survey found that only 1.3 per cent of those questioned would trust the media on such issues. One comment spoke of the need for “real factual data, not biased, politically driven reports that are all too often passed as ‘settled science’ in the media”.

Opinion was divided on which issues posed the greatest threat to humankind. Climate change and natural disasters were put at the top of the list by 29.1 per cent. Man-made disasters such as nuclear accidents, oil spills, and war were considered to be the biggest threat by 19.2 per cent. Biodiversity loss and deforestation and urban sprawl and population growth were considered to pose lesser threats, as were population and waste (13.2 per cent). But 19.2 per cent identified the increasing gap between rich and poor as the greatest threat.

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SOURCE: Church Times
Pat Ashworth

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