Eco Church: an introduction
Eco Church is an interdenominational Christian environmental awards scheme for churches. It is run by A Rocha UK. St Sampson's was registered and began working towards the bronze Eco Chruch award in March 2023. (The award has three levels: bronze, silver, gold.)
Eco Church provides tools to help churches respond to environmental issues through their worship, buildings, land, community engagement and individual lifestyles. Our website includes resources published by A Rocha UK. Additional information is available at www.ecochurch.arocha.org.uk.
In a time of unprecedented environmental stresses, Eco Church enables churches, including ours, to respond to God's mandate to human beings to care for His creation, by integrating environmental care throughout our church's life and mission.
With support and encouragement from A Rocha UK and the Diocese, Revd Canon Debbie Dewes, Revd Shirley Danby, the PCC, church wardens and other key individuals will work with church members and visitors to raise awareness and develop more eco-friendly practice within our church community.
Eco Church update: November 2023
Congratulations St Sampson's....we have been awarded the Eco Church Bronze award. The Bible speaks of how much God loves and delights in his creation. Christians believe that we have a responsibility to care for it. With this in mind, let us think back over our work towards the Eco Church bronze award and consider the importance of working towards silver!
In recent months there have been many news items which illustrate how the climate is changing. For example, we heard about the destructive flooding that struck eastern Libya on September 10 and 11, 2023. More that 4,000 people were killed and some 10,000 were missing after heavy rains generated by Storm Daniel (a strong Mediterranean cyclone) drenched the area, brought flooding to the region and caused dams to burst. The people are still struggling and will do so for a long time.
Such events are catastrophic and remind us of the importance of Eco Church. We are - in lots of little ways - making a difference by being aware that our actions affect the environment and altering our behaviour. That is why it is important that we continue to: reduce car journeys by walking, cycling or sharing lifts; reduce waste by buying less, re-using and recycling; try to use locally grown produce; choose environmentally friendly cleaning products; reduce energy use by fitting LED lights and insulating our buildings; respect living things by managing our church grounds thoughtfully. We have made a start. There is more to be done and our Eco Church work will continue.
St Sampson's was previously recognised as a Fairtrade church. A new and updated system has been introduced and it was necessary to apply to be recognised as a 'Fairtrade Place of Worship'. Our application was successful and St Sampson's has a smart new certificate. We remain committed to the priniciples of making trade fair and protecting our shared environment. We will continue to use Fairtrade tea, coffee and sugar along with other products such as biscuits and fruit, where possible. We will promote fair trade especially during Fairtrade Fortnight (which is moving to September in 2024). Our Eco Church noticeboard and website page display information from www.ecochurch.arocha.org.uk about Fairtrade. If you want to know more, you may wish to visit the Fairtrade Foundation website at www.fairtrade.org.uk or sign up to the organisation's Churches Newsletter.
Our focus for 2024
It is good to see that efforts are being made by people at St Sampson's to be more eco friendly. As promised, the recycling bins are now available in the church; thank you for remember to use them. It is great that so many church members arranged lifts to recent services and events. Car sharing is an important way of reducing pollution and saving energy (and money!).
Having achieved the Eco Church bronze award, we will continue to consider ways in which we can become more eco-friendly. We are thankful for God’s creation and we know that we must take good care of our world. In the coming months we will revisit and remind ourselves of actions we have already taken such as reducing car journeys by walking/ cycling/ car sharing and recycling waste. We will raise awareness of new subjects including ethical investment and auditing our carbon footprint. But our main focus will involve global engagement. Information will be shared monthly via newsletters and in church services. Church members will be encouraged to learn about the WWF Earth Hour, to pray for specific overseas projects and to remember our commitment to Fairtrade
The Eco Church website has lots of information. During harvest, we will think about our food. Two booklets are particularly helpful: 'You and your food' and 'Fairtrade'. These can be found on the Eco Church website or by clicking on the links below. They are also on the St Sampson's Eco Church noticeboard.