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Eco Church: Drawing others into the community

St Paul’s Addlestone were awarded the Bronze Eco Church Award in October 2018.

Rev Ben Beecroft, Vicar at St Paul’s said: “Working and achieving the Bronze Award has had a really positive impact in our church in people feeling better informed and energised about climate change and making a difference locally. 

“We have seen some church members who weren’t very involved get more involved because it’s something that they feel passionately about. 

“Over the last few years, we have built a bug hotel, wildflower meadow area and tree boxes in the grounds. We’ve also made some big changes to reduce our emissions, such as addressing lighting and heating issues in the church. Low energy infra-red heating panels have been installed to replace one of our gas boilers and utilise power from our solar panels mounted on the church and our Pay As You Feel coffee shop and Community Fridge radically reduce food waste through Fareshare donations.

“We’ve even had an Ecomonth, which was really well received. The church community has really taken hold of this work and are excited to do what they can.” 

Ben would encourage other churches to become an Eco Church: “Go for it! You won’t be disappointed. You may be worried about overloading your already busy core team, but you’ll find others drawn in who care passionately about this issue. 

“The beauty of the awards is that they allow you to go at your own pace in a manageable way, and as awareness and concern increase, it is likely donations will increase too as our members and community see the need to significantly reduce the carbon footprint of all our churches. The website is easy to follow and helps you identify an action plan, with some things that are actually very easy to implement and others that are more challenging.”

Eco Church is a way in which we can turn back, as Christians, to our first task set in scripture. It is an award scheme run by the Christian charity, A Rocha UK, and supported by Christian Aid, The Church of England, The Methodist Church and Tearfund. It encourages us to pursue better environmental stewardship by setting goals that enable congregations to reduce their environmental impact – both as churches and in private life.

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