“Thank you for your application for a Silver Eco Church Award and for all the additional comments. It was wonderful to read through all the eco initiatives you are involved with especially around your plans for the lifestyle section and all that you have done with your land and your plans to build local community links.
I have now checked your survey scores, and am delighted to confirm your award. Well done to everyone involved in reaching this milestone!”
Sara at EcoChurch Team (A Rocha UK)
In 2020 we made good progress on including care for the creation in our worship and teaching. We had two sermons specifically on care for the earth, we invited a local environmental campaigner as a guest speaker (on Zoom), and we searched out creation themed hymns which we now sing regularly. We realize that it would be easy to let these things slip so our Eco-Church team has asked the PCC to add an Eco-Church update to the PCC standing agendas twice a year – to hold ourselves to account!
In 2017 we completed a major building project – part extension and part refurbishment, including new double-glazed windows and LED lighting throughout the premises, new A++ rated boiler, high insulation standards to all the new construction and some of the existing.
In 2019 we increased insulation to the hall ceiling as a by-product of adding 80 sound adsorbing panels to improve the acoustics of the hall.
In 2020 our regular monthly monitoring of energy usage showed an unexpected increase in two months. We found and rectified the cause and also significantly increased insulation in the boiler room.
Our main environmental sustainability work in 2020 was on our church land. We installed 2 beehives, planted a fruit orchard with 17 trees, installed four benches for people to sit and enjoy our land, built a raised herb garden from reclaimed pallets …
We built compost heaps, installed four mini-ponds, introduced large no-mow areas, installed rainwater collection from a shed …
installed 3 nesting boxes and a hedgehog house (hidden under leaves) …
and reported regularly to the congregation on what was flowering in our wildflower garden
And finally we drew up a land management plan for the whole site.
During 2021, Covid permitting, we are planning to have our first fruit pressing day(s) on which we will be extracting juice from the produce of our new orchard – and inviting people from the local community to bring fruit from their gardens for juice extraction.
Community and global engagement
In 2020 we established an Eco-Church team for our church, with five members, and this team has been responsible for our application for the Silver Award. We also joined a local sustainability group – Sefton Climate Action (linked to Friends of the Earth) – and in partnership with them arranged a group Zoom session with the local MP on environmental issues. We also became leading members of the Sefton North Deanery Eco-Church group. As a church we added A Rocha to the charities that we support with our outward church giving (we already supported Christian Aid and TearFund). We have also committed to issuing a bi-monthly supplement to our weekly church news on Fair Trade and the impact of climate change on the poorest communities in the world.
This was one of our weakest areas, so in 2020 we committed to adding a bi-monthly eco-supplement to our regular church newsletters. The first issue encouraged our people to measure their carbon footprint.
In the second issue, one of the Eco-Church team shared their personal experience of using two different carbon footprint calculators and offsetting their carbon footprint. They also reported how they’d got on in response to a sermon early in 2020 on reducing household plastic waste. Future issues will give more practical guidance on treading lightly on the earth.
Andrew Thompson-Smith (21 February 2021)