In tandem with Eco Church, we run eco denominational award schemes for the Church of England and the Church in Wales (Eco Diocese), the United Reformed Church (Eco Synod) and the Methodist Church (Eco District and Circuit). Through these schemes, denominations are committing, at a regional level, to encourage their local churches to become Eco Churches and, just as importantly, to put their denominational houses in order. Whilst denominations vary in hierarchical structure, these awards underpin their structure and the missional remit of creation care with policies, practices, and training, for example.
In the Church of England, becoming an Eco Diocese is now included as a milestone in the CofE Route Map to Net Zero. The equivalent counterpart is also referenced in the Net Zero commitments of other denominations, Eco Synod for example. Helping church members develop a deeper love and understanding of creation will play an important role in enabling the Church of England to steer its large number of buildings towards Net Zero. It is making good progress. Fifteen CofE dioceses have achieved a bronze award, but there is still a way to go if all 42 are to achieve bronze by the end of 2023 (a Net Zero milestone). The Church in Wales has six dioceses and four of these already have bronze award status.
Although these awards may sound top-down or ‘leadership’ heavy, no award is granted without rich evidence of on-the-ground change. Take the case of the North Western Synod of the United Reformed Church (URC) for example, which recently became the second URC Synod to achieve a bronze award, though all twelve have registered. The North Western Synod’s work is led by a multidisciplinary team and dedicated ‘green apostles’/environment leads who, between them, lead on providing annual environmental training opportunities for clergy, engaging with URC youth and engaging in a breadth of ecumenical and interfaith work through many events. Finally, and this is an important role for all denominations, they support and celebrate how churches are getting involved by sharing wonderful stories in their newsletters, which encourages even more churches to get involved.
Further information can be found here.