The Parish as Oasis is a practical and accessible introduction to how local churches can contribute to the healing the environmental crisis. A notable feature of this book is that it does not engage with that crisis. “Climate change” can be a contentious cultural issue. And “climate despair” can be a pressing pastoral issue. By focusing on practical and accessible “experiments” that any parish can explore according to their own context and capacities, this book seeks to equip people with a hands-on understanding of the ideas unpacked in Laudato Si’. It is a book that aspires to inspire congregations to get their hands dirty, but it also plants those initiatives within a coherent eco-theology and re-locates how we think about faith and the role of church to the margins, serving as an oasis in those parts of our society that are parched and denuded.
It consists of three parts: an introductory essay that situates the theological vision of the book, a practical array of experiments that congregations can undertake to care for our common home, and a conclusion pointing people to further resources. While being intellectually rigorous, it is written in an accessible, non-technical fashion. The practical experiments draw on real-world examples, including interviews, to give each of these sections an easy magazine-like feel.