St Joseph's Action on Climate and the Environment


By submitting St Joseph's Action Plan, we have received our Livesimply award registration certificate.


To establish the process of the CAFOD Livesimply campaign throughout the Parish of St Joseph’s by:

  • Involving a number of people across the parish community to understand, take an active lead in Livesimply, and encourage each other

  • Linking up with like-minded local Eco churches, the Dorking Climate Emergency Group and CAFOD representatives who inspire and motivate

  • Gaining support and advice from la Roche Eco Church organisation about life style and what more we could do

  • Forming a Livesimply group to plan, review and monitor progress

  • By grafting a Livesimply ethos into established prayer groups, liturgies, discussion groups, information tools, and special events


  • To introduce the Livesimply ethos and to advance the Livesimply process as a continuing ‘Lifestyle Choice’ across our parish community

  • To respond to Pope Francis’ ‘Laudato Si’

  1. CREATION MASS, Main event

We launched our Livesimply campaign at our Creation Mass on 1st March 2020.  Fr Tony Milner, our Parish Priest, gave an inspirational homily.  We invited four after Mass guest speakers: two ladies, Hannah and Annabelle from different local Anglican parishes, who have achieved gold award from Eco Church, Pat, our local Climate Emergency representative, and Roger Morton from CAFOD, who all talked briefly to 270 people in church.  They then each spoke for ten minutes each, to a large number, about 100 parishioners, who came into the Hall for refreshments. Many people stayed behind to listen and chat to the speakers.  It has created a huge amount of interest and people are enthusiastically pushing recycling, fund raising, and eco ideas. The Parish Family Groups, (PFGs) are very keen to join in as well.

We have involved our school, St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School. Their Eco Group created a banner (using recycled materials), for our St Joseph’s Action on Climate and Environment (SJACE) Board, displaying our Livesimply and Ecological conversion information.

Other Parish Involvement

  • Lenten weekly ecumenical meetings using Operation Noah materials devoted to climate and environment

  • Each Sunday during Lent, parishioners were invited to make a pledge by choosing from a short list which had been published weekly in the newsletter

  2.   St Joseph’s Action on Climate and Environment updates

Updates are published regularly in the Newsletter, and on the SJACE Notice Board in the hall, (currently in the Church as the hall is locked during lockdown).  The Live Simply campaign is widely advertised on the Board and in the newsletter, and explained on the website.  Many different suggestions for Living Simply came from the online group, formed in time before the Covid -19 virus shut down.

  3a. Worship and Prayer with an awareness of Living Simply and of Justice and Peace


Prior to the Covid-19 lockdown, small groups had met for: Lectio Divina; Mary CAFE; Women Pausing for Prayer; Red Wednesday vigil for Persecuted Christians. There are also special opportunities for the isolated, elderly and sick in our communities: Mass &Meet met monthly for a home cooked meal for those isolated or needing some company during the day; annual Mass for the sick and housebound followed by sit down refreshments in the hall; those who are unable to come to Mass are visited by parishioners many of whom also take them communion.  These activities will be taken up again when the pandemic is over.

  3b. Series of talks


Father Tony delivered a series of talks - ‘The God Who Comes’.  Training was provided for the Welcome Ministry which was delivered by the diocesan rep.  Ideas for Lenten pledges were researched; the CAFOD website and A&B News were also researched.

Section 2  Live Sustainably

MAIN ACTION: we are an Eco Church to bronze level: there are 5 distinct categories:

1.  WORSHIP & TEACHING: relates to celebrating, praying and caring for God’s earth.

2.  BUILDINGS: refers to renewable sources, insulation, double glazing, LED lighting, water use, cycle racks, recycling.

3.  LAND: encourages wildlife, bird feeders, bat boxes, wild flowers.

4.  COMMUNITY & GLOBAL: engages with local environmentalists, Churches Together in Dorking, wildlife trusts, organises walks, encourages car share and minimising resources, participates in toilet twinning, informs the congregation about the impact of climate change and environmental degradation on other Christian communities.

5. LIFESTYLE: champions the cause of our church to become more environmentally sustainable; encourages walking, cycling, reduction of car use, limitation of waste, ethical investments.



Having been awarded the bronze level Eco Church award, we analysed our results of the Eco questionnaire, which enabled us to identify gaps.  We  realised that the CAFOD Live Simply campaign and award was our next goal because we needed to focus on involving our Parish families in Living Simply.

Currently, we are up and running with our Live Simply group of parishioners, who are coming forward with ideas for the Action Plan and Lenten pledges. We have an on-line group, of whom about 20 are actively participating.  We reach probably more than 50/60 families, as we also include the Parish Family Groups in our emails.

As background:

  • Many parishioners attended the December 2019 Election Hustings with other local active Christians.  The candidates were invited to give us an experience of something they had done in response to the climate emergency

  • Red Wednesday was a 12 hour vigil Exposition & prayer for persecuted Christians, with an ecumenical closing. Visitors from neighbouring Anglican churches attended

  • The December Crib competition and display is an opportunity for children and/or families, to be creative in their simple presentations for Advent

  • The Welcome Ministry has been adopted by our church which enables friendliness, caring, and inclusivity

  • Lenten pledges are either ideas extracted from the 100 Living Simply ideas, or ideas Parishioners have thought of independently, written down, anonymously, and pinned on the Climate and Environment Board after Mass

  • Lent Operation Noah meetings and discussion on climate change and the purpose of God; groups around the town following the same course at different venues and times

  • Living more sustainably through education

  • Living more sustainably through practical changes to our lifestyle as individuals

  • Living more sustainably as a community

Section 3  Live in Solidarity with the Poor

HISTORICAL - from the parish diary, 2019

  • February Columban Missionary appeal

  • Interdenominational outreach e.g. Soul Connect Youth Work & Street Pastors

  • Shared International Lunch

  • 8-12 October 2019 Parish Pilgrimage to Assissi

  • APF boxes: over £1k per year is raised


  • What next for Parish Family Groups: A suggestion was made to hold a Grand Bring & Buy Sale, to recycle and raise funds*

  • Mass & Meet: Held on the first Friday of the month for all parishioners but with encouragement for the elderly/isolated to attend. Transport for the house bound is provided*

  • BESOM: a charity who channel unwanted, useable domestic goods to the needy

  • Foodbank: Offertory suggestion to send out fliers for desired food for bags.  An appeal was made for funds during the Covid 19 crisis, food is still being collected.

  • Whilst the pandemic is still ongoing, we have been researching recycling and intend to return to that in the future.

*Unfortunately due to Covid-19 some of these activities have been put on hold.


In the Autumn /Winter, 2020, we plan to:

  •  research our carbon footprints

  • Apply for our silver award from Eco church

  • Keep the Parish informed about Cafod and climate and environmental matters through the newsletter and from the pulpit until the pandemic has finished

  • Collect used crisp packets for recycling

Online resources are available at:

More Information here                    

For further information email Julie McCulloch, at or contact Penny or Fr Tony.