The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. Psalm 24:1
We are living in the midst of a climate and environmental emergency. As Christians, we believe that we are creatures created by a loving and good God to be part of His good creation. As humans, we are aware of the part we have played in harming the world around us. As members of God’s kingdom, we believe that we have a responsibility to love and care for the whole of the earth. We believe that Jesus came not just to bring redemption to humanity but to redeem the whole of creation and that God calls us to partner with him in the journey of bringing about his kingdom on earth. As a church, we are on a journey of challenging and encouraging one another to care for God’s creation.
Our approach to environmental issues is something we are taking very seriously. We have taken great strides in the last couple of years towards becoming more environmentally responsible, and we are committed to making progress in all areas of church life. Part of our strategy is to establish our Eco Church Ministry which will address issues including environmental damage and climate change.
Eco Church is integral to who we are and how we ‘be’ church. It’s not a one off project, it’s our future. Please do take a look at the ideas, resources and links we have shared. Most importantly though we request your prayerful consideration in how you might play your part in caring for creation.
Would you join us as we give some thought to areas of our lifestyles known to be environmentally damaging.
• Walking or cycling to church – Leave you car at home
• Use less personal energy in your home
• Reduce your waste – REDUCE -REUSE- RECYCLE!
• Buy Fairtrade goods such as tea, coffee & sugar
• Be more mindful of the origins of the clothes we buy
The Eco Team would also like to encourage all members of the church family to audit their carbon footprint. We are looking towards putting in systems to monitor our church buildings and activities and encourage you to do the same at home. The Eco team and some of the Youth have given some of these simple tools a go…
Find out more about some of the things you can be doing at home and other eco ideas & news here and more about our local eco community and events here!
Taking part in the Eco Church – An A Rocha UK Project award scheme is certainly a journey rather than an end in itself. It is the combination of many actions that show, as a church that we care for God’s world.
A Rocha UK has five core values:
Christian – Underlying all we do is our biblical faith in the living God, who made the world, loves it and entrusts it to the care of human society.
Conservation – We carry out research for the conservation and restoration of the natural world and run environmental education programmes for people of all ages.
Community – Through our commitment to God, each other and the wider creation, we aim to develop good relationships both within the A Rocha family and in our local communities.
Cross-cultural – We draw on the insights and skills of people from diverse cultures, both locally and around the world.
Cooperation – We work in partnership with a wide variety of organisations and individuals who share our concerns for a sustainable world.
The Eco Church Survey provides a really useful framework on which to measure our current status as well as helping us to shape and prioritise our next steps towards attaining a Net Zero Carbon Footprint by 2030. The survey is designed to equip our church so that we might express our care for God’s world through our worship and teaching; how we look after your buildings and land; how we engage with our local community and in global campaigns, and in the personal lifestyles of our congregation – that’s you! The actions we take will all count towards us gaining a prestigious Eco Church Award. Take a look at the survey here.
A Rocha UK’s vision is for churches of all denominations to care for creation as an integral part of loving their neighbours and following God faithfully.
So, what positive activity has there been so far?
The Eco Team
We have a team headed up by Janet Todd have been working very hard behind the scenes looking at the survey, completing various pieces of work with the help of the Diocesan Environmental Advisor including utilising and completing a new Energy Footprint Calculation Tool to begin the process of becoming carbon neutral. We have also played an active part the Emly Deanery Eco Group, pooling ideas and resources, sharing the workload and supporting each other with Eco ambitions!
The Eco Team are also working closely with the Gardening Team headed up by Mary Felstead, the Operations & Admin Team, the PCC, the staff team and the preaching and leading team as well as looking out to the community where we hope to link up with the local schools and their Eco Councils, WoTTA and other local eco initiatives.
Many of the changes we have made already or the things we are reviewing with a view to change may not be so obvious but a lot of the work being done we will aim to share so you can get an idea of the work being done. Look out for articles in the Monthly Newsletter, links and updates on our social media channels and of course here on the website. If you are interested in getting involved we have more ideas than we do people to implement them so get in touch via [email protected]
We will continue working on the survey, in particular we want to concentrate on the two categories that need work – Community & Global Engagement and Lifestyle.
2022 started well with Emma K taking on the role of ‘Eco Energy Champion’ a great example of progress that has come out of this is that we have changed our energy suppliers so that all our electricity requirements are now being met from 100 per cent renewable sources supplied by a company that has won many prizes and plaudits for its ethically-led environmental work.
The consumables (disposable cups, plates, cutlery etc) used at all our Sunday services and other church events are being sourced (as much as is possible) from suppliers that specialise in biodegradable, carbon neutral products and we are working towards ensuring all our all our tea and coffee is Fair Trade.
Other things we are working towards include:
– Transitioning to 100% recycled paper
– Transitioning to eco friendly cleaning equipment including those being used by independent cleaners and contractors.
– Water Butts and other projects instigated though working alongside the gardening team including ongoing discussion and consideration as we plan for new kitchen builds to take advantage of such things as new guttering and soffits as well as making the most of the opportunuty to upgrade equipment and eco
friendly building regulations.
Hopes & Challenges for 2022:
– To gain our Bronze Eco Award!
– Engage with more people across the parish as we seek to embed creation care throughout the whole of church life. Amongst which we hope there will be those who are willing to ‘champion’ the other areas of the Eco Church programme.
– Create meaningful and active links with other local eco initiatives happening in and around our community.
Find out more about some of our projects, things you can be doing at home and other eco ideas & news here!