Beacon of Hope ahead of COP26: 4,000 Eco Churches announced, Lindley Methodist Church, Huddersfield

We’re thrilled to announce Lindley Methodist Church in Huddersfield as their 4,000th Eco Church. Lindley Methodist Church signed up to Eco Church as part of their commitment to action following their Climate Sunday service on 5 September. This milestone of 4,000 churches committed to undertaking practical action to care for the earth comes at a critical time for the climate, ahead of the UN COP26 climate negotiations in November. 

In Eco Church’s sixth year, A Rocha UK believes that Eco Church can help bring about a step change in Christian action on the environment. The Eco Church initiative is an ecumenical scheme helping churches to make the link between environmental issues and the Christian faith, and to respond in practical action. It has three award  levels, Bronze, Silver and Gold, and considers how the environment is addressed within worship and teaching, buildings and land, community and global engagement and lifestyle. More than an award scheme, it is also a growing learning community of churches all wanting to play their part in responding to climate change and biodiversity loss. 

Lindley is just one church’s story, and every day the Eco Church team encounters churches playing their part. Now that Eco Church has reached this very significant milestone of 4000 registered churches, 10% of churches across England and Wales, its next aim is to reach 6,000 churches registered within the next three years.

Lindley’s eco journey began in 2007, when a green team was established after a building refurbishment project sparked a call to become more environmentally friendly. Lindley achieved an Eco Congregation award in 2010 and some of the fruit trees planted by the junior church over a decade ago are still bearing fruit today. Lindley share eco-lifestyle tips during school visits and in their weekly church notices, including suggestions on personal consumption and carbon footprint reduction. They have made alterations to the heating and lighting in the church building to improve efficiency and are installing water harvesting systems. Hilary Wilson, member of Lindley Methodist Church’s green team explains why they chose to register with EcoChurch: “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.”

Reverend Sue explains “Over the pandemic period, Lindley launched an online gardening and wildlife club. Our churchyard provides a green oasis for wildlife and people alike in our urban village. More than ever, the natural world has been a comfort to many and I am pleased that, as a community, we are working together to do what we can to help protect our environment. We are proud of our market stall on Saturday mornings focused on recycling, and during Lent we explored a series during our services called ‘Faith and making Your Lifestyle Count’ which challenged the congregation on a number of environmental issues.”

Helen Stephens, Church Relations Manager for A Rocha UK, said We are thrilled to welcome the 4000th church to the Eco Church community.  Eco Church is for all church communities, from small rural parishes to those on urban estates, regardless of where or how they meet and whether or not they own land.  An important step and very achievable for any church is gaining their first (bronze) Eco Church award which Lindley intends to do in the next few months but they are also committed to doing much more beyond this. This first bronze award milestone greatly encourages a congregation and demonstrates what’s possible, inspiring them to take further, deeper action, as well as providing a good basis for making links with the wider community.”