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Eco Church

 
"As Christians we are called to be stewards of God's wonderful creation. The challenges facing this creation are numerous and well reported, but there are plenty of small steps that we can take to help care for our planet.
"Often this starts with ourselves, as individuals and churches. Simply evaluating how our lifestyle impacts the planet and making changes to minimise our negative impact where possible can make a big ​difference.
"That's what Eco Church is all about. Packed full of useful resources and suggestions it is a great tool and I'd encourage churches to sign up and join the drive to care for God's Creation." - Bishop Andrew
 

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What is Eco Church?

Eco Church is A Rocha UK's award scheme to encourage and recognise churches in England and Wales that demonstrate the gospel is good news for God's creation.

To become an Eco church each church completes a simple, free, online Survey about how they are caring for God's earth in different areas of their life and work. The answers a church provides will collect points towards an Eco Church Award. If the score doesn't gain an Eco Church Award straight away this isn't a problem - further actions can be completed and added to the survey response in order to gain the points necessary for an Award. The survey takes churches through five key areas of church life:

  • Worship and teaching
  • Management of church buildings
  • Management of church land
  • Community and global engagement
  • Lifestyle

There are three levels of Eco Church Award - Bronze, Silver and Gold.

 

Becoming an Eco Church

To become an Eco Church all that needs to happen is to take the Eco Church survey. To access the survey please register with the Eco Church website and then take the survey - this should take less than an hour and may be returned to at any time.

​View the survey questions.
 

Resources

There are lots of resources available to help churches on their eco journey on subjects varying from worship materials to guides to carbon footprint reduction on the Eco Church website. Their interactive map of Eco Churches is especially useful and interesting. 

A PCC Guide to Eco Church (PDF)

A Flyer for Eco Church (PDF)

Creation Matters Small Group Studies (PDF)
A series of useful studies on Creation Matters, including worship, scriptural readings and practical actions on environmental matters.

 
Eco Diocese Launch

Churches across Surrey and Hampshire are going greener as Guildford becomes an Eco Diocese News News

21 November 2018
"Gaining Eco Diocese status is proof that all of those little acts add up to much greater impact and real ...
 

​About the Eco Church Experience:

  • The Opportunity of Eco Church

    by Daniel Taylor | Jul 29, 2019

    By ​Hannah Mayo, Eco Church Lead Holy Trinity, Westcott

    Hannah Mayo

    I used to be an ostrich, sticking my head in the sand about climate change. I’m sure that’s the case for many people. Maybe because they’re happy with their life and don’t see why they should live differently... or life’s already too complicated and they simply have no energy left for something that feels so overwhelming.

    Ostriches

    But as a Christian I believe in God as creator, who’s given us the planet to nurture, steward, and enjoy. And I’m embarrassed that people of faith have not been actively, and loudly, leading the fight against climate change.

    Over the last few years, I’ve found a way to not feel overwhelmed. The Eco Church award scheme helps churches, and people in them, look honestly at how we walk on the earth we believe was created by God, to take seriously our responsibility to it, and to each other. The commandment, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’, clearly meaning our neighbours not just where we actually live, but across the planet, who are devastatingly and disproportionately affected, right now (even if it feels as if we’re not), by the effects of climate change.

    At Holy Trinity Westcott, just outside Dorking in Surrey, I’ve been leading the Eco Church team since 2016. Eco Church challenges us to examine 5 areas of church life: worship and teaching, management of buildings, and of land, community and global engagement, and personal lifestyle.

    ecochurchlogo

    Once registered, there’s an online questionnaire to help us look at what we’re doing in each of those areas, and what we’re not…make changes…some small, some more significant…and we revise our survey answers as we go along, accumulating points which change the colour of gauges to bronze, silver then gold.

    On 5th June, representatives of churches from Dorking/Surrey Hills met at St Pauls Dorking, for a quarterly Deanery Synod, this time focussing on the Climate Emergency. 


    "Our congregations have been motivated to grab hold of the issues themselves, make lifestyle changes, believe there is a way forward, and take that message out to the wider community."


    My friend Annabelle South (the Eco Church lead at St Paul’s, Dorking) and I explained what we’ve done in each of our churches and together (it makes such a difference to be collaborative - Dorking’s first Eco Fair was a joint venture!), how our congregations have been motivated to grab hold of the issues themselves, make lifestyle changes, believe there is a way forward, and take that message out to the wider community.

    It was fantastic that local Lib Dem and Conservative Councillors joined us for the meeting, speaking with passion about their plans for a more sustainable Mole Valley and Surrey, and answering questions about how to make those plans a reality.

    We hope all local churches will register with Eco Church. Thousands of people worship at UK churches every week, and what a difference it could make if every one of us grabbed hold of our responsibility to live differently, and campaign for change. At Synod, Annabelle and I talked about what had worked and what hadn’t in our different contexts…our joys and our frustrations…but we both agree that there is simply no downside to churches registering with Eco Church. It just needs one person to take it on, and a supportive vicar who also feels challenged by climate change issues (I’ve heard of some that aren’t, which seems frankly unfathomable), who will invariably be delighted that someone else is taking the lead! Then go to go to the website and sign up.


    "I guarantee you will be able to tick several of the boxes already, which will hopefully encourage you to be proactive about doing more... Once you start, one action leads to others."


    Your first mission will be to go through the online survey - I guarantee you will be able to tick several of the boxes already, which will hopefully encourage you to be proactive about doing more. We’ve found, for those of us on the team, and in the congregation, that there’s a domino effect. Once you start, one action leads to others.

    Just start somewhere. Don’t do nothing.

    At our Synod meeting, the Environment lead for Mole Valley District Council, Claire Malcolmson, talked about her plan to present a motion for the council to declare a Climate Emergency.

    On 18th June, at an extraordinary meeting of the council, she did….and it was passed, unanimously. It includes pledges to make the council and its contractors carbon neutral by 2030, but working towards it happening well before that, and to lobby Surrey County Council to provide resources to make possible that target date. To place climate change on agendas more widely across council business, and work with local businesses, community groups and residents to make a positively beneficial impact on the environment and biodiversity in the District.

    We’re so glad to be building relationships with our local government representatives. Collaboration, and a shared vision, is the only way we’re going to bring about change.


    "I dare to imagine a world that is clean and unpolluted, where all life can not just survive, but thrive."​


    I believe in a God of hope, of love, of redemption, of new beginnings and life in all its fullness. I dare to imagine a world that is clean and unpolluted, where all life can not just survive, but thrive. And where we all work together, as people of faith or none…as churches, community groups, local councils….to build a better, sustainable world.

 

Get in touch

We are here to help churches on their eco journey. If you have any questions or would like any support please get in touch with Lesley Crawley, Diocesan Environment Adviser.

Lesley Crawley Lesley Crawley

Diocesan Environment Adviser

Lesley.Crawley@cofeguildford.org.uk

01252 820537

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