Christmas Tree Festival: Our Natural World – Hutton and Shenfield Union Church

In the summer the burning question for Hutton and Shenfield Union Church was “What shall we have as the theme for our Christmas Tree Festival this year?” Almost immediately God answered – “Our Natural World”. Fast forward to December and the Festival had 32 trees and the entrants had really taken the theme to heart with knitted birds, animals, sea creatures, fruit and veg, plus handmade fish, stars and snowflakes or dried autumnal leaves adorning many trees. A local secondary school, St Martins, ran a competition for the Year 7s to design a tree on the theme of the natural world. The winning entry came from Zara and Georgina who highlighted the devastating effect of rubbish on marine life. The church deacons set up a prayer tree for people to write their prayers on the back of a star and add it to the tree; this was covered in prayers by the end of the festival.  Each person who came to the festival was invited to vote for their favourite adult and junior trees. Children were also given a quiz sheet with a question about each tree; for example, “what recycled items have been used to decorate this tree?” or …

Christmas Tree Forest – Croxley Green Baptist Church

Croxley Green Baptist Church, a recently awarded Bronze Eco Church, has found a great way to help people wish one another Happy Christmas in a sustainable way. For many years they have run a Christmas Post Box where cards could be shared with members of the church. “We were looking for new ideas as to how we could share Christ’s love at Christmas” says Dave Gregory, minister and member of the church’s Eco-Church Team. “This year, we’ve set up a Christmas Tree Forest in the church foyer. People write Christmas greetings on tags and tie them onto the trees. It is more covid secure and continues our journey to reduce our environmental footprint, saving paper and re-using some old Christmas Trees that might have been thrown away”. The church works with BUEN – the Baptist Union Environment Network – and locally with the school-led group “Green Croxley”. Dave added, “being in the front windows of the church, the forest raises environmental awareness with the community and helps them to know Christians care about environmental issues”. The church is continuing to look for other fresh ideas as they aim for a Silver award in 2022! Written by Dave Gregory

St Mary’s East Grinstead

We hope that our efforts have converted what was a pretty sterile environment into an area where wildlife is beginning to find a home, and one that changes with the seasons. Many of our congregation are elderly and live in flats; we hope that by greening our churchyard we are, in a small way, bringing the countryside to them.

Market Harborough Methodist Church

Having taken part in a local Churches Together initiative in which Eco Church featured, Market Harborough Methodist Church made the decision to register.

St Stephen’s, Ealing

St Stephen’s Church in Ealing has long been passionate about caring for God’s world. Eco Church provided them with a very good assessment tool to see what they were doing already and to make good plans for progress on other things to be addressed in the future.

St Edmund’s, Roundhay

As winners of the Eco-Congregation Award (the precursor to Eco Church), St Edmund’s, Roundhay embraced Eco Church as a means of continuing their work to care for creation as an expression of Christian mission.

St John’s, Waterloo

Dealing with an old building and engaging the congregation in entering a ‘personal ecological conversion’ were the biggest challenges faced by St John’s, Waterloo in working towards an Eco Church Award.

Salisbury Cathedral

Commenting on Salisbury Cathedral’s success in gaining a Bronze Eco Church Award, Canon Treasurer, Robert Titley said: ‘We believe that the Christian gospel is good news for the whole of creation as well as for human beings.

Streetly Methodist Church

Having replaced an old heating system with new one fuelled by a biomass boiler, Streetly Methodist Church began thinking about a 20-year future plan and how caring for the environment might feature in it.

Wymondham Abbey

Wymondham Abbey in Norfolk received a Bronze Eco Church Award in July 2016. Hilary Hunter describes some of the work involved…