Introducing our new Acting Bishop’s Adviser on the Environment

First published on: 18th December 2023

At Diocesan Synod on 2 December, The Revd Tim Mayfield was announced as the new Acting Bishop’s Adviser on the Environment for Newcastle Diocese. Here, Tim introduces himself and gives an insight into the role, while paying tribute to the work of his predecessor, the Revd Mark Nash Williams, who has stood down after four-and-a-half years in the role.

I’m honoured and delighted to have been appointed to this role. There is no more pressing issue – for any of us – than reaching carbon net zero just as soon as we can.

I joined the diocese in 2019 as vicar of Earsdon and Backworth, and Area Dean of Tynemouth. I’m finishing as Area Dean when my five years are up in April 2024. I’m finishing in part to be able to have much more time to devote to this new role.

I was first consciousness-raised at a seminar at Greenbelt. Once you become gripped by the impact of carbon dioxide on the planet there’s no turning back. We owe it to those coming after us to build a low-carbon economy. We simply have to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees. We’re already seeing the catastrophic effects of the current level of warming, in drought, flood and wildfire. Anything much higher than 1.5 and we really do get into scary territory.

In Newcastle Diocese I was struck by a highly effective presentation at a Diocesan Synod given by Mark Nash-Williams, Bethany Hume and Ella Vickers. On the back of it, I volunteered to join the Environmental Working Group. Recognising the load on Mark, I offered to serve as Vice Chair of the Group. I manage a Zoom network of Parish Environment Champions. I recently delivered the Church of England’s Carbon Literacy Project. This was the first time it had been rolled out in Newcastle Diocese.

On 12 December I had my first Zoom call alongside Diocesan Environmental Officers from across the country. The headline was a very helpful pamphlet, hot off the press. Called ‘A short guide to carbon net zero grants’ it does what it says on the tin. The national church is making a lot of money available in various streams. Please email me at if you’d like me to send you the pdf.

All of this has just become even more personal. My wife and I recently heard that we’re going to be grandparents twice in 2024. What will the planet look like when my grandchildren are 70? That’s the kind of question that makes me want to hit the ground running full tilt in this new role.

The Revd Mark Nash-Williams will continue to serve as vicar of Alston Moor.

Mark said: “In 2019, when Bishop Mark Tanner asked me to be the Bishop’s Adviser on the Environment, I was only just beginning to understand the magnitude and urgency of the climate emergency, and it wasn’t really on the diocese’s agenda. So much has changed since then. Together we’ve begun to rediscover our core Christian calling to care for God’s creation; the Church of England has committed itself to being carbon net zero by 2030, and we as a diocese have made significant progress towards that goal; 80 churches in the diocese have become Eco Churches and nearly half have earned a Bronze or Silver Award – as have Church House and Lindisfarne.

“We still have a very long way to go, both in limiting our environmental impact and in building resilience to meet the changes which the climate emergency will undoubtedly bring.  But I’m more hopeful now than I was four years ago, and thrilled that Tim has taken on this responsibility: I know he has the energy and commitment to guide us on the next stage of the journey, and I look forward to supporting him in that.”

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