We in Exeter Diocese are delighted that Martyn has been shortlisted for the Green Champion Award alongside Br Hugh Cobbett SSF (Hilfield Friary); Victoria Gilbert (St Catherine’s, Burbage); Suzanne Dalton (St Chad’s, Far Headingley); Judith Allison (St John’s Methodist Church, Settle). All five are doing amazing work, and making a real difference in the church’s care for creation. So it’s not at all a competition, more a celebration of them all.
Martyn’s is just one of six nominations for Green Awards in the EcoChurch Southwest area. Br Hugh at Hilfield is of course in Salisbury Diocese. St Wenn’s in Truro, Gloucester Cathedral, and Holy Trinity Bradford on Avon in Salisbury have all been nominated for the Green Buildings award. St Mary the Virgin Cannington in Bath & Wells has been nominated for the Green Futures award. Bravo all!!
Here’s the feature on Martyn in the Church Times on 25 August 2017. All the nominees are being featured during August and September.
THE director of church and society in the diocese of Exeter, Martyn Goss, has worked on environmental and social-justice issues in the diocese for almost 30 years. In 2010, he helped to found EcoChurch Southwest, a partnership that brings together seven dioceses and the renewable-energy provider Ecotricity. It has resulted in more than 400 renewable energy installations and more than 100 church buildings using green electricity and gas only.
“Whether it is community energy, food waste, climate change, land use, carbon footprints, or global justice, he is at the heart of ensuring that we live, speak, act, and learn in ways which promote the integrity of creation not just in the churches but across the whole of the south-west,” the Bishop of Crediton, the Rt Revd Nick McKinnel, wrote in the nomination. Activists from other churches and denominations paid tribute to the support he had given them.
Mr Goss dates his interest in the green movement to his student days: he applied to study ecology, before swapping to theology. In 1987, he set up the Devon Christian Ecology Group. “In those days, the number of Christians and churches interested in the environment was much smaller than today, and that engagement was fairly limited,” he recalls.
“Today it’s much more of a mainstream activity, which is more helpful in some regards, but our depth of understanding around being green Christians is not always as sharp as I would like it to be.” Over the course of the past six years, he estimates that work to rescue food from shops, farms, and companies in Devon and Cornwall has saved £1 million of food from being destroyed. It is redistributed to community groups. The diocese has also trialled heater cushions to warm parishioners (News, 8 November 2013).
He considers himself a “critical friend” of the national Church, which “could and should do more” in its use of land “in relation to sustainability and resilience for the future”, among other things. Beyond the Church, he is concerned about the direction of travel in Britain: “We have a national political system so focused on itself and not on communities or families, or biodiversity or habitat.”