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.                      

Green Christmas Market – St Margaret’s Church, Horsmonden

St Margaret’s Church achieved their silver award in September 2022. Read more about their Eco Church journey here. “This will be the second year we have held a ‘Green’ Christmas Market. Last year it was hugely successful and raised a lot of interest, money and support from other organisations in our village. The principles of the event are: To bring Christmas joy to our community through the market To spread a green message into the heart of the Christmas season We manage this by all our stalls having an eco-ethos and being as plastic free as possible.” The main stalls are as follows: Homemade edibles – delicious cakes, jams, chutneys Natural decor – wreaths, poinsettias, potted bulbs,  and pinecones Re-gifting – anything nearly new or in good condition which would make a good present (no electrics or clothing) Handmade – crafts, knitting, willow weaving, woodwork, artwork Re-homing good quality toys (with kite mark) and children’s books This year we have invited OXFAM to have a free stall, and our local Citizens Advice Bureau will have a table and be available to talk through how to keep warm this winter with anyone who wishes to receive advice. We have a real …

Harvest at St Michael and All Angels, Ravenstone (Bronze Eco Church)

All photos were taken in the autumn around the harvest festival by Becca Riley We had a wonderful harvest festival during October last year in our church. Our local farmer from the village kindly agreed to come to along church to address the congregation. We hosted a question-and-answer session with him during the service. He was able to describe and help those present to understand more about his farm – a mixed farm, growing crops and managing livestock. He talked about challenges faced by farmers, particularly the weather, and he shared things that help local farmers, for example, villagers being tolerant of tractors moving around the village. Non-perishable foods were gathered from our congregation and the wider community and donated to the local food bank. Thank you to Becca Riley, Eco Church Lead and member of church PCC at St Michael and All Angels Church, for writing this piece and providing photos. 

Celebrating Creationtide at Christ Church West Wimbledon (Silver Eco Church)

(Creationtide Display Board 1) Creationtide is celebrated at Christ Church West Wimbledon with an annual display of pictures and artefacts in the church. Members of the congregation contribute photographs, paintings and other artworks and objects they have found or made relating to Creation. These are displayed with Bible verses about Creation Care on boards hung around the church. The backgrounds on the display boards were painted by the Sunday morning children’s groups. Everyone is invited to contribute and a wide range of people join in. (Creationtide Display Board 1 Most years, we also have an art installation, inviting further contribution and commentary on environmental themes as we think about these during Creationtide. Last year we had a water-themed installation, and the congregation were invited to write a prayer and make an origami prayer boat in support of the Young Christian Climate Network ‘Rise To The Moment’ campaign and Relay to COP26. This year we have a Prayer Tree – everyone is invited to write a prayer on a paper leaf celebrating creation or about the environment, climate change, biodiversity, pollution or whatever is on their heart and then to hang the leaf on the tree. Prayer Boat Installation for ‘Rise …

Ludlow Methodist Church (Silver Eco Church) share about their Circuit’s ‘Care for Creation’ weekend on a farm

In September 2021, the Shropshire and Marches Methodist Circuit held its first Care for Creation Day Away on a farm in the south of the circuit. As this was a first, we weren’t sure how many people would attend, so we were delighted to have 60+ from all over our large Circuit. We were blessed with good weather, meeting in the garden due to Covid restrictions at the time. The garden lent itself to three groups meeting in the different ‘rooms’. The three speakers moved from group to group, speaking on Forest Church, Eco Church and the farm’s sustainability plans. Forest Church is active in the northern part of the Circuit, and our speaker explained that it follows the Celtic Year. We looked at trees, seeds and hedges (each group choosing one of these) and contemplated and shared what we had found. We also received an introduction to Eco Church and were shown examples of the questionnaire. We explored questions like how to reduce our carbon footprint, where to make changes and how to encourage the congregation to get involved. Father and son Gwatkin (John and David) told us about the development of their farm from being tenants to owner-occupied, …

How one church counted on nature this June

(IMAGE: Buff-tip and a Privet Hawk-moth as photographed by Emily Best) Churchyards and church spaces are some of the UK’s most unpolluted nature sites. From 4-12 June 2022, Churches Count on Nature (CCON) brought communities together to discover the wildlife in their local churchyard. Over 250 churches across England and Wales took part, counting many species, including rare and endangered ones, in their churchyards, spaces and burial grounds across England and Wales. Emily Best from St Michael’s Church Eco Team shared about their experience of welcoming hundreds of school children to their church grounds: During Churches Count on Nature week, the Eco Team ran biodiversity monitoring workshops for their local C of E school and village pre-school. These are located next door to St Michael’s church in the centre of Aldbourne, Wiltshire, and approximately 230 children participated. Each session began with a welcome from one of the clergy, who shared God’s creative nature and how He has loaned the natural world to us to enjoy and protect. We sang, “He’s got the whole world in his hands”, and thanked God in prayer for his beautiful world. Each group spent 1.5-2.5 hours with us being “wildlife detectives” using their senses and …

Creation care meets local mission: an Eco-Church project from Holy Trinity Claygate

‘Coming soon to a tree near you!’ was our headline on social media this February. 200 small cotton gift bags had been filled with seed balls and tagged with a label explaining that they were a gift for the person who found them, to help care for God’s world.  We were inspired by a similar project carried out in 2021 by St Mary’s and St John’s, Walton, but took a slightly different approach, encouraging church members to take a bag and prayerfully consider where they might leave it for someone else to find. Perhaps on a tree near a friend’s house, on the way to school, or on a popular dog walk. In this way, we hoped to not only bless the community with the gift of seed balls but also to encourage our church members to think in a missional way about their local communities. The project generated a sense of excitement amongst our church members, as bags were taken, hung on trees around the village – and then disappeared a few hours or days later. Our social media accounts were buzzing too, with positive comments and ‘likes’, and the project has helped to raise the profile of creation …

Encouragement at the start of 2022 – ‘’Lots of small things’’ poem by St Luke’s, Hedge End 

St Luke’s Hedge End, who received their Silver award in December 2021, found a creative way to share their eco church journey through this wonderful poem ‘lots of small things.’  As we approach the year ahead, take inspiration that the ‘lots of small things’ add up, and consider the ways your church can come together as a community this year to take action.  ‘Lots of Small Things’  The folk at St Luke’s know we must Take action, pray, and thus be just Prayer means action, so we’ve started To make our God less broken hearted Climate change has made us think Of ways of drawing from the brink Climate change weighs on our heart So onwards we must play our part First we started Eco church And in small ways began our search To find the ways to change our practice And thus to become climate active  We aimed first for bronze award, And soon found we had worked towards Carbon neutral, less emissions, And this is coming to fruition,  We do not own a large church yard, But have a strip of green grass sward Now there is home for bugs, Tho eagerly welcomed by the slugs Our building …

The 12 Days of a Green(er) Christmas

A 12 days of Christmas poem for some green inspiration, written by Jean Burrows, a member of the Eco Church team at recently awarded Bronze Eco Church, Hutton and Shenfield Union Church The 12 Days of a Green(er) Christmas On the first day of Christmas Buy a real Christmas tree from a sustainable source. After Christmas plant it, or take it to a local recycling centre On the second day of Christmas If you need some new Christmas lights or electrical goods don’t bin the old ones, donate them or take them to your local recycling centre.    On the third day of Christmas Buy recycled Christmas cards, send an e-card or make your own.  On the fourth day of Christmas There’s nothing worse than smiling a grateful thanks for a present you don’t really want, so give consumable presents, buy a membership or an experience day or go for a luxury meal and/or the theatre. On the fifth day of Christmas Are you buying presents that use batteries? If so, why not add recycled batteries and a charger? On the sixth day of Christmas When shopping use your LOAF (Local ———————– Organic ———————– Animal friendly ———————– Fairtrade) On the …

Eco-friendly Christmas Wreaths – Pershore Abbey

This is part of a Diocese of Worcester campaign backed by Bishop Martin Gorick for churches to take a more sustainable approach to flower-arranging and to stop using floral foam – often sold under the name Oasis – in displays. Bishop Gorick said: “Like many, I love to see flower arrangements in church, and always admire the ingenuity and skill of flower-arrangers; however, I have recently been made aware of the damaging impact of floral foam. As a diocese, we are committed to playing our part in tackling the climate crisis, and stopping using floral foam is one change that we can make in the fight to reduce single-use plastics. The Royal Horticultural Society have now banned floral foam in their displays at shows, such as Chelsea and Malvern, and I urge churches to also take a lead in this area to ensure our wonderful floral displays are as sustainable as possible.” Creative Abbey members have made wreath rings using willow from a branch that broke from one of the trees during Storm Arwen. The storm also brought down large branches of Cedar and other pieces that were used to create stars and cross frames. Foliage was used from the …