In the Parish of Radipole, there are two Churches. St Ann’s is a historic building, some of which dates back to the 13th Century where traditional services are held. St Aldhelm’s is a 20th-century building, hosting the family Breakfast@9 service and with strong links to local schools. Collectively the community of Radipole, Weymouth, and other local areas are served by both churches.
In November 2021, the Radipole Parish formed an Eco Church team, with Colossians 1:15-17 as their inspiration:
The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For in him, all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him, all things hold together.
The parish has gone on to achieve both Bronze and Silver Rocha Eco Church Awards!
One of the goals Radipole set out to achieve recognition via A Rocha Eco church awards, which evaluate the behaviour of our Churches in the areas of Worship and Teaching, Buildings, Land, Community, and Global Engagement and Lifestyle.
The parish began the journey by evaluating the Rocha survey and assigning a church to every question. They were delighted to find they were very close to achieving Bronze awards! Next, Radipole decided where they could make improvements. They decided to prioritise choices if they were guaranteed to have a positive effect, rather than just for the sake of achieving the award. Radipole soon achieved Bronze awards and has recently achieved the Silver awards for both churches.
To celebrate the parish hosted a joint church lunch and a tree planting! On Good Friday St Ann’s and St Aldhelm's celebrated the silver award with the planting of silver birch trees in St Ann’s churchyard, an occasion marked by prayers for God’s creation, a dedication of a prayer space around a bench, and a blessing of the trees themselves. At St Aldhelm's, the repair of aisle roofs took on a different dimension with the installation of solar panels. Safely installed they have already made an impact on energy bills and usage.
Progressing into the summer, St Ann’s has pioneered the growing of wild spaces in the churchyard. This allowed the rapid growth of flowers and grasses and the butterfly count recorded at least 6 different types. Furthermore, Peter Kirby, a woodwork specialist and St Ann's parishioner, made a bug church, with the project completed by the 2nd Radipole Guides. An incredible demonstration of the positivity partnerships with young people can achieve. A journey of discovery and learning together. Despite a small committee coordinating the award applications, the success has been put down to the whole church being on the journey. Congratulations Radipole!
In celebration of Creationtide, see how your parish can get involved on the Eco Church website: Eco Church - An A Rocha UK Project