St Hugh’s, Old Brumby, Scunthorpe has been awarded a Bronze Eco Church award and The Haven (formerly known as Westcliffe) has just received its Silver award.
For those starting out on their Eco Church journey, who may feel daunted at what is required, ordinand Jenny Camm wants to encourage everyone that it’s not as hard as you might think.
“I was on placement in Nettleham, as part of my formation training,” she says. “The team who are there thought this would be a great mission project. Richard Crossland, Vicar and Rural Dean, is indeed looking for the whole Deanery to get this award. We had the whole congregation involved, produced an action plan, including having a day in May making bug hotels, and much more – and then it all had to stop!”
“Reflecting on this,” she adds, “I realised that my own church, St Hugh’s, was already doing most of what was required.”
The Eco Church awards help you look at what you do in worship and teaching, with your buildings and land, community and local engagement and our lifestyle – what do we do that has a positive effect on wildlife, the needs of the world and its people.
Jenny continues – “We have just had LED lighting installed in our church buildings, our toilet is now ‘Twinned’ with one in Uganda, we use recycled toilet paper, have screens for many services, and cut down paper use in many other ways too. We manage the green area around church for the benefit of the local wildlife and community.”
Vicar, Cameron Martin explains “We regularly address the issues of renewal of creation and social justice in line with the fourth and fifth marks of mission that has been adopted by the worldwide Anglican Communion. In the words of Pope Francis – ‘To protect creation, to protect every man and every woman, to look upon them with tenderness and love – is to open up a horizon of hope.’ Global Engagement is very important to me and as a church we support Fairtrade, WaterAid and Tearfund. We have links to the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust, have a monthly Ramblers group, do regular pilgrimages including St Cuthbert’s Way and St Hilda’s Way last year, have outdoor services and generally encourage people to appreciate the countryside.”
“It hasn’t been a big stress for the congregation to do this,” Jenny concludes. “It was harder to agree to move to recyclable cups for coffee rather than plastic. We switched because we thought that was right, but now we’ve decided to go back to washing up the china ones as that is even more eco-friendly!”
“We will definitely be going for Silver award when we get back into church again.”
The Church of England, as part of its Annual Returns, is currently carrying out a Energy Footprinting exercise. Perhaps that will be the trigger for your own church to look at becoming an Eco Church? And the national church has set itself a target of becoming Carbon Neutral by 2030. That may seem a real ‘stretch goal’ but, as a certain supermarket chain says – ‘Every little helps.’