‘Our church is an Eco Church’ If someone asked you, could you tell them what Eco Church is all about? There have been several reminders this past year filling you in, but I wonder whether you have picked up the emphasis: WE are part of Eco Church. It’s not just that our church is an Eco Church, but we are an Eco Church.
Yes, that’s right, you and me, we are all in this together.
Read on to discover more about how you can be actively involved.
(If this is all news to you see later for a summary of the story of the last two years…..)
In April we invited Simon Brown from
A Rocha to preach and he gave a clear call to redoubling our efforts to confront how our western lifestyle is causing serious damage to the global environment including the UK. He taught from scripture how God has called us to work to care for his environment, and to become champions of the cause.
Getting Drastic on Plastic
Following David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II series on TV, in this past year we have organised two litter picks (one after a delay due to snow in March!) and we have focussed on plastic pollution. Of 14 bags collected recently, five were filled exclusively with plastic waste. We displayed some of these bottles on the notice board outside, and also inside the church, to draw attention to this unacceptable waste, and the environmental harm it is causing.
This has become a No 1 environmental concern because of the harm to aquatic and airborne wildlife, as well as the cost to the countryside. Only this month, a whale starved to death with 80 plastic bags found in its stomach – over 8kg of plastic! This was documented, but many more animals of many more species are affected by this pollution. It has been estimated that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the sea than fish!
We also invited you to consider a Lenten fast from Plastic (see last magazine). I wonder how this worked for you? Has it begun to change your lifestyle?
Shrinking our footprint and going for Gold!
The next step is a Gold Award, and I am confident we could achieve this within the next two years. But, inevitably, the next stages are more difficult and will require some real effort. Our plans for the church interior will help to show our commitment to become more eco-friendly in that they have been drawn up with energy conservation in mind.
But that leaves our individual commitments to address. Around Harvest time this year we will launch a survey of our individual carbon footprints, using a useful recently developed simple app. We shall suggest ways we might each, as households and as individuals, reduce our carbon use during the next twelve months by modifying our lifestyles. The following Autumn we shall repeat the measurement of our eco-footprints. With prayer and a ground-swell of congregational support, we anticipate that collectively we shall have made a significant reduction, which will provide further essential data for our Gold Award
So will you join in enthusiastically? Will you help to make our world a more carbon neutral world? Will you shrink your use of resources and production of waste by reducing purchases, by reusing all that you can rather than buying new, and by recycling a greater percentage of your discards. Who knows… you may find you shrink your waist as well!
LET’S DO IT TOGETHER!
What is Eco Church all about? And Why us?
A Christian basis
In the first chapters of Genesis we read that God created all things. Into this wonderful creation, God put mankind and gave us the care, protection and preservation of the world. God saw that ‘everything he had made was very good’. Throughout the Bible narrative we are reminded of the creator God and our responsibility to him to live righteously and justly before him. But we also know that humans from the start have not handled this freedom and responsibility well, and today an environmental crisis is seen largely caused by human selfish misuse of the creation’s resources. Christians are called to follow Jesus in his relationship to the Father, who has given us both the means and desire to focus on doing so.
The ‘heart’ of Eco Church
Our life in the church should reflect our desire to treat our precious planet, on which all life depends, with care and respect. That is the heart of Eco Church. It takes us into addressing our church buildings and use of resources, our church land use, our reaching out to our local community to join with us in caring for the environment, campaigning for changes in society and lastly, but by no means least, addressing our own individual lifestyles to reduce our ‘carbon footprint’.
Our Eco Church journey
Our PCC agreed that we should join the Eco Church movement almost two years ago. So how are we doing two years in? In some ways we have done remarkably well. We had already begun to focus on some aspects of the direction of Eco Church long before we signed up. As we reviewed each of the areas of church life we were able to make some relatively small but essential changes to strengthen our position. Quite soon within the first year we found we had achieved the first stage of Eco Church, the Bronze Award. And just six months ago we were able to apply, and were awarded, our Silver Award. We have much to be gratified in this speed of progress. Many people have contributed to this success as the concept of Eco Church has embedded itself in our collective thinking. But as you may have realised, there is much more yet to be done to change ourselves, and to convince our neighbours of the importance of these actions.
Paul Watson, Martin Dudley, Martin RichTags: Environment, Magazine, Watson