The Labyrinth contemplation area.
St Peter’s Church in Llanbedr Dyffryn Clwyd, near Ruthin and part of the St. Asaph Diocese, has become the first church in Wales to achieve their Gold Eco-Church Award.
As part of their work towards a gold award, they have developed the churchyard into a welcoming green space to support wildlife and biodiversity. They encourage native wildlife by providing bird boxes, a bug hotel, sowing wildflower seeds, and a labyrinth area with a seat and space for quiet contemplation. The church is a very popular spot for the start and end of walks in the area, and visitors can get a Fairtrade coffee inside. The ‘Capel Beuno’ area is popular amongst the youngsters of the church and wider community, where they meet regularly around the fire pit, sitting on seats recycled from wood pallets. Fallen trees have been crafted into two altar tables used for outside services.
One of the Vicars at St Peter’s, Father Huw Bryant, shared, “We are delighted to have achieved this award and become the first in Wales. We have been working for several years towards this award, not for its own sake, but to embed good care for creation and stewardship of our resources into all that we do as we aim to be carbon-positive by 2030.
Getting the gold award has been a real journey that began with opening up our churchyard, getting the local community and school involved in planting bulbs and wildflowers and creating new spaces as a sanctuary for both wildlife and people. But it developed into so much more than that, from making sure our energy supplies are from renewable green sources to finding environmentally friendly cleaning supplies. We’ve not only measured our own carbon footprint but encourage our community to measure their footprints too, and to take steps in their individual lives to live out their faith by reducing their consumption and doing little things to benefit the environment, from car-sharing to taking part in no-mow-May. With an online tool like ‘360 Carbon’ it couldn’t be easier for everyone to get involved.”
The Capel Beuno worship space. It is also where ‘Wild Church’ and ‘Teen’s Go Wild’ groups meet.
Delyth Higgins, Eco Church Officer for Wales, celebrated: “Our huge congratulations to St Peter’s on their well-deserved Gold Eco Church award and for being the first Gold award in Wales. Everything about their approach sets them out as an exemplar of what it means to be a gold awarded church. They are an important part of a close rural community in northeast Wales where what they do rubs off on others around them, and great teamwork is evident here. It is encouraging to hear that they have been blessed with growing numbers, and much of this is down to their practical activity outside – caring for creation and providing lovely spaces for people to meet and contemplate. There is still so much for us all to do, as they recognise, but, in the meantime, we hope they enjoy celebrating this award and seeing others inspired from all around Wales to join them in taking action to care for this amazing world.”
The Bishop of St Asaph, Gregory Cameron said: “The Environmental Crisis is one of the biggest challenges that humanity faces, and it is becoming increasingly urgent. It is so good to hear of a congregation and their clergy making a success of hard work to ensure that the care of the environment is a central part of their mission, and I congratulate all involved on this significant achievement.”
The Eco Team at St Peter’s.