Eco Church is the successor to Eco-Congregation (in England and Wales only) and we’d love your church to take part in this exciting initiative, which will challenge and equip you to care for God’s world in all areas of your life together.
To participate in the Eco Church scheme, register your church at Eco Church. You can then begin completing the online survey by indicating how your church is caring for God’s earth in your worship and teaching, around your buildings and grounds (if applicable), in your community engagement at local and global level and in your personal lifestyles as church members.
As you complete the survey, your church collects points towards an Eco Church Award. You can save your survey responses and update them as you complete additional actions. The survey serves as both a record of actions achieved and as a ready-made plan for future action that can be updated as and when new initiatives are undertaken. Accompanying the survey will be a whole new suite of resources to help churches undertake the actions recommended in the survey.
Once your church has amassed sufficient points, you will qualify for an Eco Church Award at Bronze, Silver or Gold level. Bronze and Silver Awards will be granted on receipt of written confirmation from your church leader that the survey responses are a true reflection of the current work and witness of your church. Gold Awards will only be granted following a visit to the church by Eco Church Assessors who need to be satisfied that your survey responses are an accurate reflection of your work and witness.
Award-winning churches will receive a certificate to mark their achievement and will have the option of purchasing (at cost) an Award plaque fashioned from recycled church pews to display on their premises. Read the stories of some churches who have started out on such a journey...
Children can be champions of ecology, says Max Birchenough of Trinity Church, Leek. That's one of the discoveries made by this Methodist/URC church when they embarked on their eco-journey.
'We discovered further steps we could take,' said Max, 'such as fitting foil behind radiators, fine-tuning the heating timing settings, and weighing the pros and cons of washing cups after coffee on a Sunday versus the energy and socialising-time saving of recycling plastic or paper ones.'
The choice of cups was not a trivial issue, said Max, who took on the role of co-ordinating this work at Trinity. 'The church community is also part of the ecological remit.'
Trinity found it was ‘chasing a moving target', as new developments emerged in eco-friendly cleaning materials, recycled office paper and green energy supplies. 'These all need to be investigated,' said Max.
‘The idea of getting the children involved in creating a bug hotel had also been suggested. In general, children are the most receptive to the need for ecologically-friendly ideas,’ he added. (Photo: David Beattie)
A Midlands church is now trying to make the rest of their town as environmentally-friendly as possible.
‘We've become involved in Eco Centres, an initiative by Keep Britain Tidy,' said Carol Linfield, part of the Eco Group at St Philips Dorridge and St James Bentley Heath.
'One family worshipping at two centres' is how this Anglican church describes itself on its own website.
'We started this journey through the "Big Green Group Solihull", a partnership between green organisations in the area,' she explained. ‘We work together to achieve a greener Solihull in our different ways.'
To gain Eco Centre status, they were required to improve their use of energy. 'We're building on our strengths,' said Carol!
'Throughout this process we're fostering links with community centres and, with the support of two council officers, local "Green Flag" schools. We hope by working together we can become an Eco Community – so plenty of work ahead!'
Making Olympic scarecrows from recycled materials was just one of the ways a York church started their eco-journey.
St Luke's is an urban church located a mile from the city centre. 'The church Green Group emerged from a Lent course on "the five marks of mission", which includes creation care,' explained Deacon Revd Liz Carrington.
Conservation awareness already featured in their children's work, so they adopted a tiger and cheetah cubs. 'An audit of congregational concerns showed energy saving topped the list,' said Liz, 'so we started by linking up with Yorkshire Energy Partnership for advice on reducing church and domestic consumption.'
Other activities have included parish litter picks, give-and-take freecycle events and promotion of greener transport with a ride to a local Fairtrade cafe. 'We're also a registered Fairtrade church,' Liz pointed out.
The wider community were involved in making the Olympic scarecrows to welcome the torch to York, and in a scheme to promote container gardening.
'We invited schools, businesses, individuals and church groups to join in and display their efforts in the street,' said Liz. 'Both projects concluded with an all-age service on environmental themes.'