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More Eco Church Awards

by Gerry Lynch last modified 15 May, 2018 02:44 PM

More parishes win bronze and even silver awards as Salisbury closes in on becoming an EcoDiocese

More Eco Church Awards

Gillian Perrott and Team Rector, the Revd David Baldwin, with Beaminster’s EcoChurch award.

Beaminster and Holy Trinity, Bradford on Avon, have won EcoChurch awards as the Diocese, as a whole comes closer to the goal of winning the first ever EcoDiocese Bronze Award.

This will be achieved if only a relatively small number of parishes registers for the EcoChurch award scheme, and an even smaller number achieve the EcoChurch Bronze Award. Chair of the Diocesan Environment Group, David Morgan, would be glad to discuss how to take things forward with any parish considering whether it wishes to take part.

The most recent awards showed yet again that the awards are achievable by parishes of any size, location, or tradition, and are a powerful tool for helping people live up to their responsibility to protect God’s creation.

Holy Trinity, Bradford on Avon, achieved an Eco Church Silver Award, while St Mary’s, Beaminster, took a Bronze Award.

Jane Jones, who led the EcoChurch project for Holy Trinity, Bradford on Avon, said, “This gave us a chance to look at how we could incorporate one of the Five Marks of Mission into the life of the Church. It brings to the fore how important it is to care for and teach about God’s creation.

“We are a mostly older congregation, and it helped them understand the importance of issues like recycling. People say they see things on the news and don’t know how they contribute to making things better practically themselves; this helped us show people how.

“It has also has helped us save some money!

“We are lucky enough to have Christine’s Sustainable Supermarket here in Bradford on Avon, and we have formed a nice partnership with Christine. We get all our fairtrade and cleaning goods from there. Quite a few of our congregation have started buying Fairtrade goods from there on the back of Fairtrade and EcoChurch.

“We found that when we set out to reach the standards required for the award, that we were already reaching the required standards in many areas. It was a shot in the arm to see written down exactly what we did.

“I attended the Church Times Green Awards in Lambeth Palace because we were shortlisted. I was so inspired by the people I met there. We were also supported by the wider community and by other churches – for example, a worshipper at the Quakers, who is involved in Climate Friendly Bradford on Avon was very helpful.

“We are running an event with our local MP, Michelle Donellan, in church later this year.”

Joanna Abecassis, Rector of Holy Trinity, said, “I’m thrilled. It has been quite a journey, but Jane picked up the ball and ran with it and enthused everyone.

“Getting the award has required a bit of a culture change, encouraging people to change behaviours and showing how small changes can make a big difference.”

In Beaminster, Gillian Perrott took the lead moving the parish towards a Bronze Award.

“I’ve had a long standing interest in the environment and conservation, being a supporter of A Rocha for many years”, she says.

“Last summer our Rector, David, asked me if I would like to take on the task of registering our church in the A Rocha Eco Survey. With a bit of trepidation I agreed and that’s where our journey began! 

“It seemed a little daunting at first and I thought the best way to start was to submit articles for our Team News magazine. So my monthly contribution began last July. Then the business of working through the survey and gradually bringing some small changes. 

“In the autumn I was joined by 5 others to form an Eco Team. This was excellent as it helped share the load and provided new ideas. 

“As to the survey the section on Land was already very high scoring. We have a keen church gardening group who achieved the Living Churchyard Gold Award 2017. The most difficult section was that of the buildings as our church is listed and church office is rented. However the recently revised survey, which addresses the Listed Buildings issue helped us with that.

“About a month ago, to raise the profile of Eco Church and inform our congregations we set up a board at the back of church.  At about the same time I was able to submit our signed application form for the Bronze Award and we are now the proud owners of one!”

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