Eco Church is continuing to grow apace and not a moment too soon given the urgency of the climate crisis. And this month we welcomed the 4000th church to the Eco Church community.
Our 4,000th registered Eco Church is Lindley Methodist Church in Huddersfield. They signed up to Eco Church as part of their commitment to action following their Climate Sunday service.
Lindley’s eco journey began in 2007, when a green group was established after a building refurbishment project sparked a call to become more environmentally friendly. They achieved an Eco Congregation award in 2010, and rather symbolically, some of the fruit trees planted by the junior church over a decade ago are still bearing fruit today! Over the pandemic period, Lindley refocused their creation care efforts and launched an online gardening and wildlife club. Their churchyard now provides a green oasis for wildlife and people alike in their urban village.
Lindley Methodist Church is a shining example of a church committed to taking action. “We have chosen to join Eco Church because of the worldwide climate situation. Our young people are concerned about the climate crisis, and many of us have grandchildren. We know now is the time to do our bit,” says Hilary, member of Lindley’s Green Team.
Lindley is just one church’s story, and everyday the Eco Church team encounters churches playing their part in so many other ways. Now that Eco Church has reached this very significant milestone of 4,000 registered churches, our next aim is to reach 6,000 churches registered in three years’ time (or 15% of all churches in England and Wales).
We are deeply grateful to All Churches Trust for recently awarding A Rocha UK a £150,000 grant over the next three years towards reaching this ambitious goal. Their generosity will enable us to appoint an Eco Church mobiliser for Wales and the north of England and to support many more churches to respond to the environmental crisis practically and together.
An important step for any church is gaining their first (bronze) Eco Church award. With some planning and thought, reaching bronze level is achievable for every church. We find that reaching this first milestone greatly encourages a congregation and whets the appetite for further action, as well as providing a good basis for making links with the wider community. If your church is not part of Eco Church, or is registered but has not yet got its first award, could you commit to action in this critical year for the climate and nature? If you register on the Eco Church app, you can fill out a survey to see where your church is currently against five key areas (worship and teaching, management of church buildings, management of church land, community and global engagement and lifestyle). You could then work with your church to aim to achieve bronze within, say, six months. You might be surprised by how close you already are!