In 2020, shortly before the start of the pandemic, we committed to improving Christ Church’s environmental footprint. We are delighted to announce that we are now the proud holders of an Eco Church Silver Award.
In order to follow a structured framework for our environmental journey, we have been using the survey from the Eco Church award (https://ecochurch.arocha.org.uk). Eco Church is a project setup by the environmental charity, A Rocha (https://arocha.org.uk). They describe it as an “award scheme for churches in England and Wales who want to demonstrate that the gospel is good news for God’s earth…Our vision is for churches of all denominations to care for creation as an integral part of loving their neighbours and following God faithfully.” The survey asks churches to consider five different areas of church life; worship and teaching, buildings, land, community engagement, and lifestyle (of the congregation). Given the breadth of the survey, it really does ask you to consider everything that is going on in the life of the church and so seems a good way to comprehensively review the church’s impact on the environment. In the survey, there are a series of questions relating to each area, and the more of these you complete more often, the more prestigious award you can achieve. We worked out that without changing or improving anything, Christ Church would qualify for a bronze award. So, we decided to aim for silver, in the knowledge that it would require us to act in a number of ways.
As a result of working on our Eco Church award, not only have we taken steps to improve our environmental footprint (e.g. working out our carbon footprint and offsetting that amount, switching to environmentally friendly cleaning products, putting up wildlife feeding stations, buying water saving devices for toilets etc), but perhaps more significantly, we have focussed on developing a programme of engagement to involve our congregation in this journey. Our strategy for actively taking this initiative forward will be presented to our new Church Council in May; bedding in the new working group with individuals taking responsibility for different areas of the survey, developing a programme of engagement to involve our congregation in this journey.
We hope that by engaging with this issue – raising awareness, prompting conversation, and taking action – we will demonstrate that we agree with A Rocha in seeing “care for creation as an integral part of loving their neighbours and following God faithfully.”
If you'd like to get involved with our environmental work or are interested to hear more, please email Pippa at email@example.com.