As well as being of interest in and of themselves, the environmental views and actions
of local church leaders are important because they have the potential to influence
the communal lives of congregations and parishes and the lives of individual church
attenders. The 2011 National Church Life Survey asked approximately 500 senior church
leaders about their environmental views (concerning a diversity of ecotheological
positions) and about their environmental actions. Overall, almost two thirds of
leaders endorsed the view that caring for the Earth should be an essential part
of the mission of the Church, however, there were strong differences between denominations.
Dominion theology, stewardship, the presence of God in nature, non-human Creation
praising God, and the importance of Earth care for human wellbeing were all endorsed
by a majority of leaders. However, leaders were ambivalent about whether the most
important reason for Earth-care was human flourishing (anthropocentrism). When it
came to their environmental actions, roughly a third of senior leaders often or
sometimes preached about environmental issues, and a quarter did so occasionally,
although there was a marked difference by denomination, with leaders from evangelical
Protestant and Pentecostal churches least likely to preach on this topic.
Author/s: Pepper, M. & Powell, R.
Pepper, M. & Powell, R. (2013) Senior local church leaders’ environmental views
and actions, NCLS Research Occasional Paper 21. Adelaide: Mirrabooka Press.
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