Delyth Higgins, our Eco Church Officer for Wales, shares about her recent visit to North Wales. Delyth hosted several sessions, bringing together local churches and chapels at various stages of their Eco Church journeys, sharing stories and providing an opportunity to connect and encourage one another.
It was encouraging to see the turnout and response to the recent Eco Church sessions in North Wales. Following an invite to speak to the Bangor Diocese Clergy’s Grwp Cadfan meeting in Nant Gwrtheyrn, two additional ecumenical sessions were arranged – one in Porthmadog and one in Bangor.
The sessions were a blend of information-giving about A Rocha UK’s work and, more specifically, about the purpose and workings of the Eco Church programme and hearing directly from churches already involved. Several churches from the area shared their stories and experiences about how they reached a bronze award. They gave examples of how they started, what they achieved first, and how they progressed. They also included tips, such as ensuring you have support from a small group of enthusiastic individuals rather than trying to do it all alone. Also, acknowledge small steps taken and progress made, and involve people in aspects of the scheme according to where their interests lie.
At the end of the presentations, it was great to see much chatting and mixing among the participants. There was a keenness to hear and learn more from each other about what different churches in the area were doing. I’m sure many ideas were shared, providing encouragement where previously, starting out on an Eco Church journey may have felt like a daunting or overwhelming task! Many felt it was especially helpful to know that other churches around them were already taking action and now had more of a feel for what was possible and realistic in their congregations.
The feedback from both days was positive. Della Fazey, a member of the Eco group at St John’s Methodist Church in Bangor, said;
“The Eco Church session at St. John’s Bangor was easy to host with the support of Delyth and enabled us to meet with others in the area who are considering embarking on the Eco Church journey. We now have a list of enthusiastic people from a variety of churches and are following-up the contacts to encourage further dialogue. By sharing our experiences, if we can motivate and support other churches in the area to consider their carbon footprint and plan to reduce it, we will feel we have achieved part of our wider mission.”
Films in English and in Welsh, created by Rev. Gwyn Rhydderch, Head of Communications and Engagement at the Presbyterian Church of Wales, during the Bangor session, can be seen below: