The Diocese of Derby understands the challenge posed by the energy crisis to our worshipping communities.
We do hope that this overview is useful in terms of offering advice and practical help in meeting this challenge.
The Archdeacons’ Office will coordinate the diocesan response to the energy crisis and distribute further information as it becomes available.
Parishes and worshipping communities are encouraged to contact their archdeacon for support as required.
We know that many of our parishes have already taken steps to mitigate the impact of the energy crisis, so if your parish has a particular story of innovation or creativity in responding to either the energy or cost of living crises, please contact your archdeacon, who can share good practice.
Good ideas from across the diocese will bring encouragement and wisdom.
Saving Energy and Money
There are a number of cheap or free steps that parishes can take to reduce their energy usage.
Many parishes in the diocese are also exploring the environmental impact of their energy use.
The Cathedral and Church Buildings Division has issued the following guidance:
Energy Use Guidance
National church has identified a number of resources/guides for parishes to help reduce energy use and carbon emissions.
Whilst each church building is different, there may be a number of short to medium term actions PCCs can take that will temper the impact of the high fuel bills you are facing.
↓ Download resources and guides to help reduce energy use and carbon emissions (Appendix 1).
↓ Download a list of practical actions which as a PCC you could go through together, identifying the things that will help in your particular context (Appendix 2).
In the last two years, we have seen a significant shift in the way that we do church. We have adapted to changing circumstances and the Church showed remarkable adaptability and innovation in opening new missional spaces through online church.
This meant those who previously found it difficult to access church now had new ways to be present.
Out of the tragedy of the Covid-19 pandemic, we have seen the Holy Spirit working through His church to reach out to new people with the love of God.
The energy and cost of living crises present an equal challenge to think more simply, more boldly and humbly as we seek opportunities to be similarly creative in the way that we minister.
We welcome Bishop Libby and Bishop Malcolm’s encouragement to worshipping communities to be creative in how and where they meet as they seek to be Good News for All; to try new things and to stretch into new spaces and communities.
We can think about meeting in different buildings, in different locations and new communities, where local people can more easily access worship and events and where creating warm spaces is easier and more cost effective.
We may find that, in doing so, we are “expanding God’s tent” and sharing the Good News of Jesus in ways that we hadn’t previously considered.
You may wish to consider the following points:
- Blending the use of your buildings to ensure inherited spaces can be open (warm) and available at key moments of mission (Christmas, etc) whilst at other times using smaller venues.
- Giving strong consideration to using this opportunity to build ever deeper relationships with Church schools and other community partners. Places that others may actually feel familiar with and more comfortable accessing. By using other community spaces and halls that can be hired more cheaply than the traditional meeting spaces may be heated, the church reduced its costs and carbon footprint whilst forging new partnerships!
- Using different parts of your building, meeting in core spaces that are easier to heat (side chapels etc).
- Having the humility to recognise that rather than being a ‘provider’ of warm space that actually the need is to be a ‘recipient’ of the hospitality of others. This may include, sharing spaces with other churches and denominations across parish and community boundaries, using halls and centres that are more modern with more efficient heating systems.
For those anxious about the legality of this permissive thinking, download this guidance on Canon B40 (Appendix 3)
Temporary Closure of Church Buildings due to Cold Weather
Parishes faced with significantly higher energy bills may wish to explore alternative venues for worship during the coldest months ahead.
Moving worship away from the church building may be a wise, economically expedient, even missional step, but requires careful consideration by PCCs.
Legal, pastoral, missional and reputational issues affect the moving of worship away from church buildings either wholly or in part.
The Archdeacons, Bishops Office, and, Registrar have produced a guidance note and application form to be completed when parishes are considering moving worship to a non-church building.
For a pre-application conversation or to apply for the necessary permissions, please contact your Archdeacon.
If your parish is operating a Warm Hub in response to the energy crisis, you can register your hub at www.warmwelcome.uk to enable visitors to their website to locate local warm hubs.
Warm Welcome have also produced some helpful resources for churches planning to offer a warm hub.
↓ Warm welcome step-by-sep guide [PDF]