Think Eco, Go Eco

by Gerry Lynch last modified 24 Jul, 2018 03:39 PM

West Dorset parish hosts Eco Fair as West Wilts parish gains Eco Church silver award

After recently winning an Eco Church Bronze award, a West Dorset parish went one further by hosting an evironmental fair in the town square.

The ecological committee at St Mary’s Beaminster hosted the event under the title Think Eco, Go Eco. The fair marked the first major expression of the growing partnership between the church and the local community on environmental matters.

The well attended event was jointly opened by Sir Oliver Letwin, MP for West Dorset and Bishop Karen. Sir Oliver praised the beauty of Beaminster and its surrounding area and the dedication of all the local volunteers putting so much effort into keeping it that way.

Bishop Karen stressed the commitment of the diocese to environmental issues as amply demonstrated by St Mary’s working with the community in Beaminster to raise awareness and take action. She then led all those present in a prayer to thank God for the wonderful world he has given us, one that we need to look after for our descendants.

The fair showcased the wide range of organisations with an interest in caring for the environment including Dorset Waste Partnership, Beaminster’s primary and secondary schools, the local beekeepers and allotments associations, Friends of the Earth and Litter Free Dorset, as well as A Rocha, the charity behind the Eco Church initiative.

Dr Gill Perrot, Head of St Mary’s Church Eco Group, said, “The response has been overwhelming. We’ve been working hard as a church to get the environmental message across. Teaming up with the community through Think Eco, Go Eco has allowed us to reach many more people through this exciting event”.

The Revd Canon David Baldwin, Beaminster Team Rector, said, “It was a fantastic day. A great example of how the church can work with the local community on an issue of vital importance. Let us hope this is first of many such environmental collaborations.”

At the other end of the diocese, St James’, Trowbridge having also recently won a bronze, stepped up to an Eco Church Silver Award in recognition of their commitment and work to care for God’s creation.

Making their church environmentally friendly, parishioners learned about their carbon footprints, with some even recording on the noticeboard their own impact, as well as hearing preaching on what is means to live in harmony with nature.

For Peter Martin, who leads the parish’s work on the environment, it was an opportunity to ‘practice what you preach’ and as a former environmental professional he was more than keen to take part, saying “as Christians, we acknowledge God created the earth and we need to do him proud.”

Taking part in Eco-Church’s online survey, the church found it was doing many of the tasks already, and that the award was recognition of what was already in place. As Peter comments, “the survey was very user-friendly, and easy to fill out, so don’t hold back.”

Eco Church is an A Rocha UK project designed to help Christian churches and communities in the UK reflect on the environment and embed good practices. It’s run in partnership with Christian Aid, The Church of England, The Methodist Church and Tearfund. Learn more here.

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