Face to faith – Simon Court

Published on: 1 March 2017

A degree in Environmental Science, a career in teaching, and volunteering for many different charities has contributed to Churchwarden Simon Court's passionate concern for environmental issues.

How did you come to faith?

I came to faith gradually and mostly unspectacularly. I was brought up in a Christian family, learning about God and Jesus in church, through Pathfinders and church youth work. God has always been with me, and I have been there with God. As a questioning twenty-something I struggled to hear God’s voice and follow where he leads and it took me a while to understand how God might not be working to my timescale. I have learned to trust and be thankful that God does and will provide for our needs.

How does your faith express itself through your concern for environmental issues?

Love for God and loving my neighbour are at the root of my concern for environmental issues. Living in rural Norfolk, on a clear night I can look up and be overwhelmed by just how incredible the universe, our planet and all of creation are. Everything humans need to live and thrive has been provided and the wonderful diversity of life speaks to me of God’s love. In response to that love I believe we need to act as good stewards of the environment. There is plenty of evidence we are failing as stewards of creation such as habitat destruction, extinctions and man-made climate change. For me, the response to concerns for environmental issues is also a matter of social justice. We fail to love our neighbour as ourselves when the impacts of our stewardship of creation are particularly felt by the poor and future generations.

What are your hopes for the future?

I hope Christians engage in pursuing an environmentally sustainable future by adapting our lifestyles and challenging an economic system which fails to value our planet or meet the needs of all. More churches achieving EcoChurch status would be an encouraging sign.

Hope for a sustainable future drives my adoption of green techno-fixes. Installing better insulation, solar hot water, photovoltaics, using a more economical car or restricting your air travel might feel like you are doing something positive but is it enough? I’m working on buying less stuff and trying to purchase locally produced, organic and fairly-traded goods.

I hope that Christians will join others in seeking to become content with “enough” rather than conforming to consumerism. You could participate in Joy in Enough, an initiative from the charity Green Christian, described as “a challenge to Christians in Britain, and an invitation to all people of good will, to join in building a just economy within the ecological limits of the Earth.”

Speaking truth to power is a good Quaker tradition and I hope Christian campaigners can lead profound changes in where the Church invests its funds. With a clear move towards disinvestment from fossil fuels underway, is it acceptable for the church to seek to profit from investments in fossil fuel producers whose activities drive climate change and which still finance climate change denial? Perhaps the Church’s profits derived from climate change could be used to relieve the effects of sea level rise in Tuvalu, or Great Yarmouth!

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A sense of place


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