“God in the beauty of Nature” from the Bryn a Mor Mission Area, St Asaph Diocese

Spring flowers in Llanasa Churchyard

Image: Llanasa churchyard. Photo credit Gregor Lachlann Waddel.   “…So I will build my altar in the fields. And the blue sky my fretted dome shall be, And sweet fragrance that the wildflowers yields Shall be the incense I will yield to thee…” (To Nature, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, c 1820) Part of the Bryn a Mor Mission Area is set in an area of outstanding natural beauty. Therefore, in amongst all this beauty, it is important that we as a church continue to conserve, preserve and look after God’s creation. Conservation has always been at the forefront of many of our churches. Some of our Church family has strong links and membership with the local conservation society in and around Llanasa. Together we take care of the plants and wildlife around our village and in our churchyards. We spend time in the churchyard and the village weeding and planting bee-friendly plants, cleaning and picking up litter. Under the stewardship of the Llanasa Conservation society, we have worked with the probation service in the care and upkeep of the cemetery, which has involved a programme of encouraging natural wildlife, semi-wild fauna, and flora. This special relationship is ongoing, and we hope …

Avenue St Andrew’s United Reformed Church share their history of caring for creation over many years, before achieving their bronze award in January 2023

Members of Avenue St Andrews URC at a climate march, holding a black and yellow banner which says 'act now on climate'

Image: Members of Avenue St Andrew’s URC at a climate march in November 2021. Photo credit Bernie Collins.   Avenue St Andrew’s United Reformed Church in Southampton achieved a Bronze Eco Church Award in January 2023. Their church has a history of caring for creation, achieving their first Eco-Congregation award (the scheme that pre-dates Eco Church. Eco Church began in England and Wales in 2016) in 2011! They shared some of their journey with us below:  We have had an active concern about climate change for many years, encouraged by a few keen and knowledgeable individuals. There have been some particular milestones along the way:  in 2011 we became an Eco Congregation;  in 2019 we installed solar panels in 2020/21 we ran the Dorset Green Living Course online during lockdown, where we had time to study in-depth and grow in our understanding.  From this, we formed a Green Living Group, which has provided the impetus for our Eco Church journey.     Some of our recent journey:  In the United Reformed Church, decision-making power rests in the Church Meeting. In 2021 our Church Meeting adopted a Climate Emergency Declaration and action plan, as part of which we have a large banner …

Act for Nature Dates in 2023

A Rocha UK are hosting several ‘Act for Nature’ days on our reserves and in collaboration with Partners in Action and Eco Churches. Join us for practical conservation activities for individuals and churches which are relevant to both small and larger patches of land. Come along to learn and share your own experiences of campaigning for nature – and to ‘speak up’ together though a simple action. And each event will be a great opportunity to meet and share a fun day with other A Rocha UK supporters in the region, as well as A Rocha UK staff and volunteers. The remaining events for this year include: – Wolf Fields, West London on Saturday 16 September. Find out more and register to attend here. – Nettle Hill, Warwickshire on Saturday 14 October. Find out more and register to attend here.   

Registration open for Churches Count on Nature – June 3 to 11, 2023

Flowers overlooking a churchyard

Churches across all denominations in England and Wales can now register to participate in Churches Count on Nature, an annual scheme where people visit churchyards and record the plant and animal species they encounter. Read the full article and find out how to register your event on our A Rocha UK noticeboard here.  

Eco Church goes on tour in North Wales

Delyth, Eco Church Officer for Wales, speaks to a group at the Eco Church event in Bangor

Delyth Higgins, our Eco Church Officer for Wales, shares about her recent visit to North Wales. Delyth hosted several sessions, bringing together local churches and chapels at various stages of their Eco Church journeys, sharing stories and providing an opportunity to connect and encourage one another.   It was encouraging to see the turnout and response to the recent Eco Church sessions in North Wales. Following an invite to speak to the Bangor Diocese Clergy’s Grwp Cadfan meeting in Nant Gwrtheyrn, two additional ecumenical sessions were arranged – one in Porthmadog and one in Bangor.    The sessions were a blend of information-giving about A Rocha UK’s work and, more specifically, about the purpose and workings of the Eco Church programme and hearing directly from churches already involved. Several churches from the area shared their stories and experiences about how they reached a bronze award. They gave examples of how they started, what they achieved first, and how they progressed. They also included tips, such as ensuring you have support from a small group of enthusiastic individuals rather than trying to do it all alone. Also, acknowledge small steps taken and progress made, and involve people in aspects of the scheme according …

A pop-up cafe, revamping the village phone box, and more from silver-awarded Llanpumsaint Church, Carmarthen

Llanpumsaint Church achieved a bronze award in March 2020, continuing on their Eco Church journey to achieve their silver award two years later in February 2022. They shared a few of their recent Eco Church activities with Delyth Higgins, our Eco Church Officer for Wales.    Eco-themed Open Church Event Our small rural church in a village with a population of about 800 people partnered with other churches in our Local Ministry Area, Plant Dewi, our diocesan children’s charity, our local allotment association and the local bus company (who provided free transport), to host an eco-themed open church event.  The event attracted over 60 people and focused on the Biblical creation story in Genesis and our call to be good stewards of God’s Earth as an expression of love for God and our neighbour. There was a Godly play session on the creation story, we made recycled bird feeders, planted wildflowers and vegetables, made and shared local, organic, animal-friendly and fair-trade (LOAF) cawl together, established our bug hotel, had a fair-trade stall, and a host of other activities and games. A great day, all in all!    Pop-up Cafe Llanpumsaint Church hosts a pop-up café every Tuesday from 11.30am – …

Hope Valley Faith and Climate Group – “Working together gives us a louder voice when we declare His love for His creation.”

We include representatives of almost all the churches in the Hope Valley in the Peak District. We realised that many Christians were involved in the Hope Valley Climate Action group and wanted to create an opportunity to share ideas and inspirations amongst ourselves. At our first meeting we decided to commit to every church on the valley becoming an Ecochurch. In two years we have gone from one to four bronze awards and 9 out of 11 churches registered. We meet roughly every three months in each other’s churches to share ideas on worship, building and land management and lifestyle. As a visible part of Hope Valley Climate Action we have an opportunity to demonstrate God’s concern for His creation within a secular group with over 800 supporters. Working together gives us a louder voice when we declare His love for His creation. We hope this can be a helpful model for others to follow. Written by David Hughes

St Peter’s Church, Alton – Eco Project with the local cubs group

St Peter’s Church, Alton, achieved their silver award in September 2021. They shared the following story with us: We’ve had some very good engagement with the local cubs, who have taken on an Eco Project for the land in our graveyard. They have created display boards of their ideas to improve the churchyard for wildlife and the public use of the space. There were some common themes running through their ideas: – Planting more flowers and fruit in the churchyard to attract insects, birds, other animals, and people – Providing more homes for the bugs and mini-beasts that the fruit and flowers attract in – Providing homes for larger animals like hedgehogs – Having a pond for frogs, newts, toads, and all the other interesting pond wildlife See the photos below for how they developed their ideas and the final display boards they produced, which are now on display in the church.