Green, Bronze, and Silver

by Gerry Lynch last modified 20 Feb, 2018 03:14 PM

Churches large and small make progress with their Eco Church awards

Parishes and churches around the Diocese, of all sizes and flavours, are making progress on their Eco Church awards scheme.

One recent winner that demonstrates the scheme isn’t just for big churches is St John the Evangelist in Sutton Veny, part of the Upper Wylye Team, which received a Bronze Award last month.

Richard Jackman from the church says, “It is in fact quite easy to make a number of small changes that together aggregate towards a church that can hold its head up as one that is trying hard to make the right decisions and to set an example within the community.

“Apart from the fact that ours is a cold and draughty Victorian church with little scope to improve its thermal efficiency!

“In addition, we have found the need to engage the wider community in the parish to be both a challenge and an opportunity.

“Using the same tools used to measure the carbon footprint of the church buildings to obtain one's personal figure has been very instructive. At least one member of the group made a switch to an energy supplier using a higher percentage of sustainable energy.

“Now, onwards to silver!

Another recent Bronze winner is St James’ Church in Trowbridge. They found it easier than most – they had already taken most of the steps they needed to reach the standard!

“Although an active town centre church”, says Deputy Warden John Joy, “St James’ had not considered consciously adopting a green stance. This all changed, however, when David Morgan, Chair of the Diocesan Environment Group, addressed the Bradford on Avon Deanery and provided literature about Eco Church. 

“With the backing of the Rector, Rev. Rob Thomas, and the PCC, a small group looked into it and found that we were already doing so much of what was required for a Bronze Award that there was little more to be done, and so we applied for one and now have it.”

Unexpected benefits of gaining the award included;

  • Church members who already believed in a cleaner, greener earth were pleased.
  • Some work already approved on cost grounds also helped reduce our carbon footprint - it can pay to be green.
  • The church could show children and young people, who learn about ecology at school, that such concern for the world is a natural part of Christian faith.

“Most of all”, John concluded, “we show respect for God by respecting His creation.”

Meanwhile, having received its Bronze award just over a year ago, Salisbury Cathedral is now going for Silver.

“We are on course”, says Canon Treasurer, the Revd Rob Titley, “but we are not quite there yet.

“The scheme helps us take better care of the God’s earth in the daily work of the Cathedral. It also asks us how we might do that in our home lives.

“It should be revealing – and save us some money.”

The Cathedral will be providing regular eco tips in its notices in the coming weeks.

UPDATE: It was announced on Sunday 18 February that the Cathedral has achieved its Eco Church Silver award.

As part of the Eco Church initiative, churches complete a unique online Eco Survey about how they are caring for God’s earth in different areas of their life and work. Churches collect points toward Eco Church awards at various levels.

For more information about Eco Church visit ecochurch.arocha.org.uk.

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