The Diocese of Port Elizabeth has been working for quite some time, to stand up and be counted  as far as environmental issues are concerned. The 5th Mark Of Mission, formulated at the 1998 Lambeth Conference asks people of faith to: 

“strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, to sustain and renew the life of the earth”,  is the cornerstone from which the diocese gets it,s cue.

Canon Vivian Malloy has been leading this ministry for quite some time, with an interim structure that has been holding meeting s at frequent intervals. The Bishop has recently elected one of the parishioners to be the Diocesan Environmental Coordinator. A meeting has been scheduled after the Diocesan Synod,  to formulate the environmental  policy guidelines, vision and mission statements.

Besides this, a lot of groundwork has been done at parish level, differing from parish to parish. All of these activities were aimed at shrinking ecological footprints. With a coordinator in place, planning is in place to initiate an environmental desk, from where all activities will be coordinated.


Amongst some  of  the achievements for the diocese, one of the parishes won a runner-up award of RIO,OOO  from a  competition that  was run by Hope Africa,. In this competition,  all dioceses of the Province had to showcase their community outreach programmes under different categories. This particular parish won under the category, “Environmental Sustainability”  This success could be attributed to working in partnership with local communities through ward councillors, Municipality, Government Departments, and a variety of environmental NGO,s.


In  September 2011 the Diocese was represented at the Provincial Seminar on Climate Change. The seminar was organized, courtesy of Hope Africa, in preparing all diocese for the COP 17 Conference  that was to be held in Durban in December 2011.  Through this seminar a platform was created for all the delegates to network with each other to share experiences, thereby learning from each other.

For the Arbor Week for 2011, the Mothers, Union volunteered to donate indigenous trees for the whole diocese. This was their way of shrinking the ecological footprints, as trees act as the lungs of planet earth, because of their ability to consume carbon, a greenhouse gas in high concentrations in the atmosphere, and give out oxygen, without which there will be no life. Such precious gifts need to be nurtured, treasured as they are like life investments.






“The Earth in is crisis: How can we contribute to sustaining the earth, our only home.”  An overview of the Environment Workshop held on Saturday 17 March at Koinonia Conference Centre in Botha’s Hill, and organised by the Diocesan Environment Committee.


The workshop was attended by 46 people, representing 12 different parishes, spread over the three episcopal areas, and including a number of young people.  Because of the distance to travel to the venue, 16 participants stayed over at the workshop venue on the night before.


On the Saturday morning Bishop Rubin presided and preached at the Eucharist, which was held outside, using a small loaf of bread and organic (and fair trade) wine.  A special Eucharistic prayer was written for the occasion. After some introductory exercises in which an opportunity was given for people to get to know one another better, Archdeacon Thulani Ngcobo led a discussion on the theological basis for the church’s involvement in environmental issues.  He also included a description of an African worldview of the environment.


After tea, Liz Mc Daid, environmental activist, scientist and educator, who was the invited speaker from Cape Town, made a power point presentation on a range of environmental topics, including water and energy, particularly as they related to climate change.  Participants were given an opportunity, in small groups, to interact with the material and share their own experiences.


After lunch the focus was on the way forward.  The following are some of the suggestions made:

  • Hold a similar workshop on an annual basis
  • Parishes celebrate, liturgically, days of particular environmental interest, such as World Environment Day – 5 June, Earth Day – 22 April.
  • There be a particular day on which we in this Diocese celebrate creation and reflect on our responsibility towards it
  • Become an eco-congregation (a short presentation was made on this subject by Karen Read)
  • Participants were invited to engage in Anglican environment structures: those present were invited to the next meeting of the Diocesan Environment Committee to be held on Saturday 26 May at 10.00 in Pietermaritzburg; contribute to the Provincial Environment Network (through Canon Dr Rachel Mash of the Cape Town Diocese –rmash@mweb.co.za); sign up to receive the Anglican Communion Environment Network (ACEN) newsletter (though Revd Tim Gray of  the Johannesburg Diocese -timgray@global.co.za)
  • Bishop Rubin offered a R250 prize for the best essay on the environment by a young person (to be submitted to his office by the end of April)
  • Bishop Rubin suggested that a litter clean up and tree planting ceremony be planned at which he would participate.


At the conclusion of the workshop, participants expressed their on-going commitment to the environment by planting a mahogany tree, which was blessed by Bishop Rubin.




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