Congratulations to Christ Church on their Eco Church Gold award!
Rev. Keith Hitchman recognised that the people of Christ Church, Toxteth Park have long been committed to promoting environmental awareness and practicing sustainable living, stating: “As Vicar it has been my privilege to be involved with church members in working towards receiving this prestigious award. Our work does not stop here. We continue to partner with the Diocese and local community groups in fulfilling the biblical mandate to care for the Earth as God’s creation, and to campaign on green issues and for climate justice.”
Sam Illingworth who helped take Christ Church through the process of audit toward the Gold award said: “This is a great opportunity to demonstrate to the city of Liverpool (which declared a climate emergency earlier this year) the role that the church can play in helping to protect and repair the environment.”
Christ Church has served the local community, covering part of Toxteth, St Michaels, Princes Park, Lark Lane, and Aigburth for almost 150 years.
This award is the culmination of much work by the congregation at Christ Church TP, who have learned together and worked for years to make the building more welcoming and more effective. In 2005, the congregation dug up the tarmacadam around the church and planted flowers and fruit which local people are very welcome to harvest and enjoy. In 2008, pews were removed from both side aisles and the rear of the building, providing space for exhibitions and flexible worship. In 2017, we erected our first marquee inside the church; as well as creating a more intimate space for worship, the tent is also far less wasteful of light and heat. In 2018 Christ Church TP received a Heritage Lottery Grant for urgent repairs and renovation of the aisle roofs, which has made the building watertight enabling the stone and wood to dry out as the ambient temperature rises. When this work was complete, a second marquee was erected, a dedicated space for our innovative Sunday School.
Annie Merry CEO of Faiths4Change commented, “Faiths4Change have led a partnership approach to working towards Bishop Paul’s call for the Diocese of Liverpool to become a Gold Eco Diocese. In January 2019, we had 1 bronze awarded church – St Martin’s, Kirkby. We now have 41 registered churches including 9 bronze and silver awarded churches. Christchurch Toxteth Park has set the bar at the highest level by achieving a Gold Eco Church award.”
When applying for an Eco Church Gold award, an A Rocha UK staff member must visit and assess the church. Simon Brown, A Rocha UK’s Speakers Coordinator, who assessed Christ Church TP said, “What was inspiring was that the team saw this not as an achievement, but as a recognition of where they have got to so far. They discussed their next steps, and it was apparent that the ethos of creation care was embedded into their lives, both within the church and the communities within which they live. It was evident that the Gold Award, that I would have no hesitation in recommending, is only seen as a stepping stone in the church community’s work to care for God’s world.”
Christ Church Toxteth Park are the eighth church to receive the gold award since the Eco Church programme started in January 2016. Over 2000 churches are now registered on the scheme.