The Diocese of Truro launched its new environment vision and strategy in February 2021.

Cherish Creation, Cut Carbon and Speak Up: a diocesan vision and strategy for creation care sets out three specific priorities for the future.

Cherish Creation: We will encourage the diocese at every level to care for those parts of God’s good creation for which we have responsibility, stewarding them for the benefit of plants, animals and biodiversity.

Cut Carbon: We will cut our carbon footprint year on year and to net zero by 2030.

Speak Up: At every level of the diocese, we will speak and act boldly to promote the enjoyment, cherishing and sharing of God’s good creation and, where possible and resources allow, we will work in partnership with others who share the same aims.

DEVELOPING LEADERS AND LOCAL CHAMPIONS

The new strategy will seek to develop leaders by growing their knowledge and understanding, empower local champions to be vision carriers and local change leaders, develop resources for church communities, develop the theological thinking around environment and provide routes for personal, community and organisational change.

An environment board chaired by the Rt Revd Hugh Nelson, Bishop of St Germans will oversee the work. Other members will come from key parts of the diocese including the parishes, Truro Cathedral and the board of education. A Net Zero group will lead on the detailed work of cutting carbon, a Creation Care group will share the vision at local level with support from the diocesan environment officer and a School of Creation Theology set up at Truro Cathedral with a new Environment Canon soon to be installed. All will report to the board.

Bishop Hugh said: “So much has changed in the last 18 months; the XR protests, David Attenborough’s powerful warnings, new commitments from local and national government to making carbon cutting a priority and Covid-19, which has confronted us with our fragility and given us the opportunity to make different choices for the future. These new priorities commit the Diocese of Truro to getting our own house in order, particularly by cutting carbon, and to playing our part in cherishing God’s good creation.”

NEW DIOCESAN ENVIRONMENT OFFICER APPOINTED

To support this vision and strategy, the diocese has appointed a new diocesan environment officer. Ben Lillie will start on February 22.

As well as being the new environment officer, Ben is also a husband, father and surfer and a local leader for Christian Surfers around his home near Bude.

Ben says it is his surfing that has brought him closest to the impact of climate change. “I’ve spent every free moment possible in the ocean. Between surfing in the sea and living near the farming communities who are struggling to get on their land because of flooding, we can really see the impact.”

“A REAL SENSE OF THE SPIRIT MOVING”

Ben, who is ordained, says he was drawn to the role because it was clear the diocese had put significant effort into a new diocesan environment strategy. “It’s obvious the environment is top of the agenda. It is not a by-product. When I read the strategy and saw the depth of thought that had gone into it, it completely bowled me over. This is not just some institutional remit – there is a real sense of the spirit moving.”

Ben is hoping that people will be excited to join in with his work and the new strategy. “I hope people will see the quality of thought and attention to detail that has gone into this and that they will want to join in.

“The timing of all this is brilliant. It comes on the back of a changing season. We’ve had months with nothing in our skies. We’ve all noticed the difference in the vibrancy of creation around us and there’s an awakening of what a different world could look like.”

Ben is looking forward to getting to know the diocese, church leaders and the communities. “One of the privileges of the role is getting to see the breadth of the diocese and having an overview. I am keen to bring people together because we all have a huge mandate and responsibility to care for this creation and ensure it doesn’t continue to be depleted.”

“WE ALL HAVE RESPONSIBILITY”

Ben is keen to emphasis the working together aspect of the climate work. “We all have responsibility. I can’t do this on my own but together as a diocese, we can do it. Everyone has a role to play.”

Bishop Hugh, who chairs the diocesan environment committee, said: “I am delighted at Ben’s appointment. The Diocese of Truro has been pushing boldly on with a vision for creation care for many years, and we owe a huge debt of thanks to Luci Isaacson for everything she has done. With Covid, the G7 coming to Cornwall, COP26 in Glasgow and the Church of England commitment to Net Zero by 2030 this is a critical time for our relationship with God’s good creation. Our new priorities ‘Cherish creation, cut carbon, speak up’ and Ben’s appointment to support the churches and schools, give us renewed momentum for the urgent task before us.”

Ben’s appointment is very much an investment in the diocese’s churches and it is hoped churches will draw on his expertise.

If you would like to Ben to come and speak at your Sunday service or to your church community, email ben.lillie@truro.anglican.org