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 to continue with this.
As a rural church, we had a conservation report drawn up by the Wildlife Trust, which gave us recommendations on how to manage the land around the church. From this report and through the hard work of our wardens, the church family, and the conservation society, we have created an environment which is beautiful and tranquil for both humans and wildlife alike.
In Prestatyn and Ffynongroyw, our town Churches continue to turn their green spaces into gardens of peace and sanctuary encouraging biodiversity. They have planted fruit trees, vegetables, and herbs, created bug hotels, hedgehog houses for the local hedgehogs, bird boxes, water stations and feeders.
Each church continues to encourage their communities to come and find peace and rest in their spaces, showing through example the importance of caring for creation.
We have established a forest church which takes people out into nature and teaches us all to be better stewards of the King. As part of our teaching for the Mission Area, we have led a lent course from the organisation ‘Operation Noah’ called Tenants of the King. We have also led prayer sessions in lent, which have taken our people out into nature, where we connect to God. These courses have helped us have open and honest conversations about what purpose God has planned for us, his Church and his creation. During Harvest, Creation Sunday and throughout the year, we focus our prayers and teaching on the environment and care for creation.
As part of the bigger picture within the Diocese of St Asaph, we have taken part in ‘Shore to Shore’, a mass litter pick along the North Wales Coast where we walk, pray, and share the gospel with the people we meet and pick litter. This is not only a pilgrimage, but it incorporates caring about the environment and being a presence in the communities we pass through.
All of our seven churches are registered with Eco Church, and we have four silver awards and three bronze awards. We are encouraged by this, and the church family is collectively pushing towards Gold.