Speaking

At present, I am not taking on any new speaking engagements. I recently moved to a new pastorate in Newcastle and need to give time to settle in there.
I do, however, have some talks on video. You may make use of these in your church or group. (It would be nice if you let me know, especially afterwards – How did it go?)

Earth Church videos. Between June 2020 and March 2021, I posted a weekly short video (around 2 minutes), commenting on the coming Sunday’s lectionary bible readings from a green perspective. They can be shown in church services or small groups. Preachers, study group leaders and worship leaders may find them helpful for ideas. And – of course – they can just be watched and shared. Click here, or on the picture, to go to the Earth Church YouTube channel.

One World, God’s World – a reading of a sermon exploring, at an introductory level, how Christians can act prophetically in a world in crisis

Good News for All Creation – a ten-minute talk for Climate Sunday (or other environmentally-themed services). The reading is John 2.13-22

The rest of this page gives a flavour of the talks I used to give. If you’re interested in me speaking at your event after, say, summer 2022, use the contact form. But I’m not making any promises at this stage.

Introductory level talks and workshops

Introduction to Eco-Church

Eco-Church is an online audit tool that helps Churches consider the environmental impact of their congregational life – what they’re doing well and where there’s room for improvement. This 60-90 minute seminar explains what the scheme is and how it works, and uses case studies to show how it has benefited Churches, enhancing their discipleship and mission.

Faith in a Changing Climate

Gives a lay-person’s overview of the science of climate change and brings the audience up to date with the current situation. Then I look at how some themes in Christian thought can be applied to understanding the problem and to forming solutions.

Offered in three formats:

  • As a 90-minute overview talk, including discussion
  • As a half-day workshop consisting of talks, bible study and discussion
  • As a whole-day workshop including visits or presentations to find out more about how churches and others are putting environmental solutions into practice.

Keep Calm and Save the World: how to take action without feeling guilty or burning out

In the face of the urgency of the climate crisis, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and panicked, rather than listen to your heart and find a response that will be life-giving. This workshop explores a spiritual discernment practice that helps individuals find a path of action that is true to themselves and that helps form a celebratory and supportive community in a church or other group. This practice has enabled individuals and churches to avoid the judgementalism and guilty feelings that are so common in activism, and instead engender a culture of liberty, love and joy.

The practice is generic in that it can be applied to Christian prayer or other spiritual paths. I will tailor it appropriately for your group.

This workshop can be a 45 minute presentation, a longer presentation with space for prayer, or a half day retreat including private prayer and group work.
It can very usefully be combined with a presentation and discussion of some practical ideas for making a positive difference to the environmental crisis. This would need two sessions of 45-60 minutes each, ideally with some additional time for prayer.

This video gives an introduction to the idea of making this discernment of the action you’re being called to take:

Earthed

A quiet day based on Psalm 148, exploring the idea of the community of creation and how we might participate in it. Short talks on themes from the psalm will lead into times of silence for reflection and prayer.

‘Earthed’ can also be offered as a residential retreat, ideally over 48 hours.

Creation Psalms

Bible study seminars, based on my Creation Psalms resources, exploring Biblical spirituality for an ecological crisis. These can be offered in various formats, from an evening looking at one psalm, to a Church weekend or residential in which a number of psalms can be explored using a variety of learning approaches.

The Creation Psalms are ideally suited for quiet days and retreats, in which a short talk leads into space for private prayer, which can be guided if desired.

Slightly more specialist …

Worship on the wild side

Human life is increasingly detached from the natural world, especially genuinely wild nature. Yet nature writing is increasingly popular and the Forest School movement is growing too. It seems that many are feeling the loss of connection with nature and are wanting to do something about it. What lessons are there for the church, both in terms of mission and in terms of enriching our worship, discipleship and theology? This workshop will explore this in an experiential, practical way. Topics covered will include attentiveness to nature; learning to identify a few plants and birds; ideas for incorporating creation themes into worship; and ideas for moving your prayer life outdoors.

This workshop will be best as a full-day but a half-day cut-down version can be done. It is best run outdoors, or at least with easy access to a park or woods, but I can talk through options with you.

Investing for Creation

Brighthelm (my previous church) was the first UK Church to disinvest from fossil fuels. This workshop draws on my experience of that and also my involvement with the charity Operation Noah, whose Bright Now campaign was Brighthelm’s inspiration. The workshop looks at issues to do with ethical investment relating to environmental concerns. There are three elements to tackling carbon emissions, each of which is important. One is the demand side, which is about how we all use energy. Another is the supply side of energy. The third is how energy is financed. There is a growing movement to withdraw investment in fossil fuel, usually called divestment, as a way of cutting support for the development of the industry. For churches, the challenge is (in the words of former UN climate head, Christiana Figueres) to align their financial assets with their spiritual assets. Do we want our money to work for the good of creation or for its harm?

This half-day or evening workshop will give church members an understanding of how the finance of fossil-fuels works and some ideas for practical action for change, from examining what their own money is financing, to lobbying church and other investors and politicians for change.

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