Speech on the Five Marks of Mission

I believe that the church needs to raise its voice in response to the climate crisis. You have seen the protests in the news – in March this year 1.5 million children took to the streets in the School Strike movement crying out for change.  Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old leader of the climate movement, said last month in the House of Parliament, "We children are doing this to wake the adults up. We children are doing this for you to put your differences aside and start acting as you would in a crisis. We children are doing this because we want our hopes and dreams back." As a church, we need to Act Now and respond to this crisis.  We need to have a clear message and mission for the age of climate breakdown. I am pleased to see the emphasis the Council of Mission has on the Five Marks of Mission. For we need to set a course, with all of the Five Marks of Mission as our guide. A clear presentation of the gospel of Jesus Christ that includes justice for the suffering and care for cr…

A fossil free Church of Ireland

Speech to General Synod on 17 May 2019,

I’d like to draw Synod’s attention to the investment performance in 2018 on pages 30 and 31. It was a difficult year but the RCB investment committee and staff must be thanked for their superb work on behalf of the church. The returns from invested funds helps to support the mission and ministry of the church.

This reminds me that last year synod passed a motion to fully divest from all fossil fuels by 2022.

Actually, following that successful motion, a member of our Diocesan Council asked me how he could ethically invest his retirement lump sum. I told him that his investment manager could exclude unethical investments like fossil fuels. Six months later, he told me his investment manager had looked into it the options and was himself surprised to find out that green investment packages had performed better than traditional ones. He was going to recommend to other clients that they too should exclude fossil fuels.

New evidence produced by the IPCC…

Greta Thunberg should win the Nobel Peace Prize for 2019

Today, hundreds of thousands of children are marching for a better future. They want immediate action on climate change and they understand how radical a change that needs to be.  The movement was started by a lone voice - Greta Thunberg - a sixteen-year-old from Sweden. She started the #Fridays4Future movement by leaving school each Friday to stand outside the parliament in Stockholm with a sign calling for climate action.

I proposed that she should be nominated for the Nobel Peace Price in February and just this week it was announced she was one of the nominees. If public pressure rises then she will win this prize - let's make it happen.

Dear Nobel Committee,

I’d like to nominate Greta Thurnberg for the Nobel Peace Prize 2019.

Her #schoolstrike4climate action will save millions of lives and reduce the suffering of millions — Stephen Trew (@stephentrew) February 15, 2019

Caring for the Planet - a Mark of Mission

This year, the Church of Ireland passed a motion at General Synod the effects of which have rippled across Ireland and beyond. It was a motion to divest from all fossil fuels.
Synod decided overwhelmingly that ending investments in fossil fuel extraction companies by 2022 was necessary because climate change is leading to disaster both for people and for investments. It is a significant change that affects €16m of funds.
Climate change, caused largely by pollution from burning fossil fuels, is beginning to impact at home. We had a very wet winter last year followed by a record-breaking summer heatwave. Furthermore, around the world, the poorest are suffering from storms, heat, drought, and floods that in some countries fuel conflict and refugee crises.
Air pollution from burning fossil fuels is also a serious problem. Thousands of people in the British Isles suffer from health issues and even early death from dirty air.
The RCB had already, wisely, excluded investments in coal and tar san…

Church of Ireland seminar on Climate Change and the Environment

Yesterday was the seminar on 'Helping parishes respond to climate change' organised by the Church of Ireland. It was very good to see this happen in Belfast and the was a lot of interest from attendees on how churches can do more on climate.

I was one of the speakers and it was great to have a full room in the Council Chamber in Church House in Belfast, beside the beautiful cathedral.

I have reproduced the slides and the text of the talk below.

A Biblical Perspective on the Environment [Slide 1] I have been asked to set the scene and provide a Biblical Perspective on the environment. But to be honest, I do not know why I was asked, for I am not a theologian nor I am not a clergy person.

But I think the reason might be this - several years I was impacted by what the Bible has to say on about creation, how we treat it, and how the church has responded to the crisis unfolding before us.

And we are facing a crisis. Be it climate change, pollution, or loss of biodiversity. As the …

Archbishop Richard Clarke, 'We are guardians of the earth'

During synod season I always read on the speeches of the various bishops in the diocesan synod presidential addresses. Today I was pleased to read that the Bishop of Armagh, The Most Revd Dr Richard Clarke, spoke about the health of the planet. It was a good speech that focused on various aspects of health – mental health, political health and the health of the environment.

Here are some of the best quotes,
"It will be our children and grandchildren who will pay a terrible price if we do not act as responsible guardians of the health of the earth on which we have been placed." This is one of the best quotes I have ever heard our archbishop on the state of the creation.

He goes on,
"We are nearing the point where the wasteful pollution and unnecessary heating of this planet is about to find a tipping point from which there can be no return. We have been placed on this earth by God to protect its health and wholeness. We are the guardians of its health, not the despoiler…

Helping parishes respond to climate change and the environment

Helping parishes respond to climate change and the environment Are you interested in how your parish can help the environment? The Church of Ireland’s Church and Society Commission is holding a climate change and environment seminar at Church of Ireland House, Donegall Street, Belfast.  Stephen Trew, one of the speakers at the event said: “The Church has a key role in tackling climate change. We can speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves and develop sustainable lifestyles and mission. This seminar will explain how your church can do more.” When: Wednesday 14 November at 10.00 am, concluding with a light lunch at 1.00 pm  Speakers Stephen Trew (environmental campaigner) – A Biblical Perspective on the EnvironmentDavid Thomas (Christian Aid Belfast) – Impact of Climate Change on the Developing WorldDavid Ritchie (Chief Officer, Representative Church Body) – Practical Action in Parish LifeAttendance is free but booking is essential.  Please email

Grantham Institute - Superb research on energy and climate

Here is another very useful resource for anyone interested in energy and climate change.

The London School of Economic is regarded as one of the most prestigious universities in the world and is the best for economics. The Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment is highly regarded for its work on the economic impact of global warming.

At a lecture in July 2018 Jeremy Grantham, the co-founder of the institute, gave a lecture on the Mythical peril of divestment from fossil fuels. He carried out a study to gauge the impact of divestment from the fossil fuel sector and found there was no negative impact at all. Furthermore, with significant pressure to reduce emissions and usage of fossil fuels he suggests now is the time to get out of coal, oil, and gas.

He concludes,
Investors with long-term horizons should avoid oil and chemical stocks on investment grounds.  It is time to divest from fossil fuels.