By Lissy Webb
Eco Synod was developed in partnership with the URC church as a tool for Synods to encourage local churches to engage in wider creation care through Eco Church as well as to demonstrate this commitment at Synod level. We’re delighted that all 12 United Reformed Church (URC) synods have now registered as part of this denominational award scheme. The award encourages Synod-level change and complements the local church-level engagement with Eco Church. We anticipate that registered Synods will follow suit of URC West Midlands Synod, the first to achieve a Bronze Eco Synod Award in 2021.
It is great news that there are a growing number of URC churches participating in Eco Church with almost 300 churches, including those in Local Ecumenical Partnerships, registered by the end of 2021. 93 of these have achieved bronze awards and 38 have achieved silver awards. Three churches have achieved gold awards, with St John’s Marsh Green as the first URC church to do so in 2019, followed by Tavistock URC and Emmanuel Church in Bungay (a URC and Methodist LEP) in 2021.
Some inspiring recent examples include Cores End URC who achieved their bronze award in March 2022 and have exciting plans to turn their newly acquired field into a wildlife area. Beulah URC, who achieved their silver award in August 2021, have been working actively with their MP, participated in The Climate Coalition’s ‘Show The Love’ campaign and grow vegetables on their church land with their junior church. We’re also really encouraged by the inspirational leadership from the URC Youth Assembly, which A Rocha UK recently acknowledged in a letter of endorsement when they met for their 2022 annual conference.
Watch this space for further announcements from our denominational award schemes.