St Paul’s Church in Dorking has recently been awarded a Silver Eco Church Award as part of A Rocha’s UK award scheme, the first silver award for a church in the Diocese of Guildford.
The Eco Church scheme is for churches in England and Wales who want to demonstrate that the gospel is good news for God’s earth. Churches must demonstrate how they are caring for God’s earth in five key areas of church life: worship and teaching, management of church buildings, management of church land, community and global engagement, and lifestyle.
The Diocese of Guildford is committed to becoming an Eco-Diocese – a diocesan-level initiative of the Eco Church scheme.
Environmental Advisor for the Diocese of Guildford, the Revd Dr Lesley Crawley says:
“Guildford Diocese is definitely taking the care of God's creation seriously, with 28 churches registered for Eco Church and 12 with a Bronze award. St Paul's Dorking is leading the way with a Silver award, huge congratulations to all involved.
“Eco Church is a very easy way to start on a journey towards making our churches more environmentally friendly, it is also very encouraging and can be great fun. I would recommend it to all our parishes.”
The Revd Ruth Bushyager, vicar at St Paul’s says:
“We are so thrilled to receive this award from A Rocha. We have been on an exciting journey over the last few years as we felt convicted by the Holy Spirit to do more to reduce our environmental footprint.
“I have been proud of the way that we have made budget decisions at PCC level with our environmental responsibilities in mind. Sometimes this has led to savings, for example in changing our energy supplier to a renewable source. Sometimes this has meant short term expense for long term gain - for example replacing all our energy-hungry bulbs with LED ones.
“Changes have not just been indoors at the church building - we have worked to make our church grounds a more wildlife friendly environment and we have focused on stewardship teaching that inspires the whole congregation towards lifestyle changes at home.
“We have plenty more of the journey ahead of us, and are now working towards our Gold Award, but I highly recommend the process to any church.”
Could your church become an Eco Church? You can find out more here. Or would you like to learn more about making environmentally friendly lifestyle changes at home? A member of the congregation, Annabelle South, has written a series of bible studies for people at home to use, to understand that environmental stewardship is a vital part of our discipleship and worship as Christians.