The 5th Mark of Mission of the

Church of England

To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth.




The fifth Mark of Mission of the Church of England states:

To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth.

Without this mark at the heart of our common life as a people trying to live with integrity, the command of God to tend and care for the earth is ignored.

In every service of baptism, confirmation and the renewal of baptismal promises there is a commission where the whole people of God promise to live out our everyday faith.

The commission is a well used and familiar part our liturgy. However, it contained nothing about the vital importance of our care for the environment.

In 2022 the bishops of the diocese of Oxford, mindful of the primal biblical call to humankind for environmental care, called for a liturgical addition. Thus this question to the congregation is now inserted:

"Will you strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth?

With the help of God I [we] will."



A proactive response to any given call of goodness is driven both by a personal belief in its intrinsic merit and its benefit to society as a whole.

Each member of the Church is called back by their baptismal promises to regularly review their own practices and adjust their habits and lifestyle choices, with the support and cooperation of the wider community and the guidance of the Holy Spirit who leads into all Truth.

Therefore, that which each Christian individually practises , finds its fulfilment corporately so that 'I' and 'we' can, together, make a difference, and continue the task of building God's kingdom.

Sustainability is a call on individuals to consciously protect and nurture the environment not just for our own benefit but for the benefit of those who stand beside us and those who follow after us.

Being sustainable doesn't just mean not taking away from, or decreasing, natural resources; it means that the potential for long-term future growth and availability is not violated. And the decisions we each make will make a difference.



Holy Scripture is full of examples of the calling of God - often through his prophets - to return to God's way of living. This call to repentance, when heard and acted upon, always led to God being merciful, and averting the inevitable destruction that was headed for.

Jeremiah 26.3 is an example of this:
"Now therefore amend your ways and your deeds and obey the voice of the Lord your God; and the Lord will change His mind about the misfortune which He has pronounced against you."

So it can be in our age. Our world - at the current rate of resource abuse - may be headed for ecological collapse and the destruction of civilisation as we know it, but there is hope.

The prophets of our own day - be they scientists, women & men of faith, eco-warriors or laity with a passion for the environment - need to be listened to.

Maybe, just maybe, disaster will be averted.

Father Benji Tyler, 2022