Eco Church

The earth is the LORD'S, and all it contains, The world, and those who dwell in it. For He has founded it upon the seas And established it upon the rivers. Psalm 24:1-2

St. Peter’s Church Norbury, Has recently become a Silver Eco Church Award winner and is now working towards gaining our Gold Award and we would love it if you could help support us on this Journey.

How do we become an Eco Church?

To become an Eco Church, Churches complete the unique online Eco Survey about how they are caring for God’s earth in different areas of their life and work. The answers a church provides will collect points towards an Eco Church Award (Bronze, Silver, Gold) – the more our church does, the more points we get!

The survey takes you through five key areas of church life:

1. Worship and teaching

2. Management of Church Buildings

3. Management of Church Land

4. Community and global engagement

5. Lifestyle

Why do it?

We are all Stewards of God's Creation and have been given responsibility to care for our Planet and try and hand it over to the next Generation, better than we found it. There is no Planet B.

Since the start of the Industrial revolution in Ironbridge, Climate Change and the warming of the planet through our actions, has created a number of significant issues.

Including the huge loss of habitats on a global scale and mass extinctions of creatures that have coexisted with Humans for millennia. For us in the UK, the heating of our atmosphere is also causing more droughts, as well as more extreme weather, leading to increased flooding. Warmer winters are also allowing pests and diseases that would be usually killed off, to survive and flourish.

It is not only beneficial to the environment that we should try live more sustainable lives, but financially beneficial too. For example, insulating your home properly and having an efficient heating system, can save you more money than you could currently earn in interest, from an ISA or savings account. 

So, what exactly does it involve?

Becoming an Eco Church is so much more than looking after buildings in an environmentally-friendly way – though that’s a key part of the process. This journey affects every area of our church lives, including how we engage with our community and the wider world. It is about holistic mission.

1. Worship & Teaching

This area of the award looks at what we preach

What we have done/already doing…

• We have special Sundays relating to the care of God's Earth (e.g. Harvest)

• We regularly have hymns and songs that celebrate God's Creation

• We pray and have sermons about environmental issues and caring for God's Creation

• The leadership have made a formal commitment to improving the environmental credentials of our church by endorsing the undertaking of work towards an Eco Church Award

• Have items in our newsletter/magazines that relate to the theme of caring for God's Earth

What more can we do…

• Host guest speakers from Christian environmental organisations

2. Management of Church buildings

What we have done/already doing…

• Installed LED bulbs in the Nave and Chancel of the Church

• Switched to a Green Energy Supplier

• Our Vicarage is insulated (Walls & ceilings), double glazed and has LED bulbs throughout.

• Recycling facilities are available inside and outside of Church

• We are trying to do more double-sided printing on recycled paper wherever possible.

• Measured our energy usage

• Calculate the carbon footprint of the church (approx. 1.4T per year) and set sufficient targets for reducing it.

• Offset the carbon footprint of the church for those things we can’t reduce

• Always do double sided printing/copying

What do we need to do…

• Change the Alter spotlights and outdoor light to LED bulbs

• Switch (if possible) to environmentally friendly cleaning products

• Cut out the use of all disposable/recyclable paper cups, plates etc

3. Management of Church land

What we have done/already doing…

• We have some plants in our Churchyard for the benefit of birds/bees/butterflies

• We maintain some areas of land for native wildflowers.

• We have occasionally had/undertaken wildlife surveys on our land

• There are composting facilities available (the brown bin)

• Established a management plan for the Churchyard to encourage more native wildlife and wildflowers (including establishing a mowing regime)

• Grow plants that benefit birds, bees, butterflies

• Encourage churchyard users not to use weed killer, except on paths

• Actively encourage members of the church and local community to use the Churchyard for recreation/contemplation (e.g. picnics, prayer, etc)

What else we could do…

• Install bird boxes, bug hotels, hedgehog boxes

• Install wildlife (bird) feeding stations

• Undertake a wildlife survey of the Churchyard

• Grow fruit and vegetables in the churchyard. Possibly as part of a community garden.

4. Community and global engagement

What we have done/are already doing…

• Members of our Church take part in local litter picks

• We occasionally organise/take part in events, providing an opportunity for local people to get out and enjoy God’s earth in our local area (e.g. ride & stride, Cream Teas).

• Our Members regularly share offer to share lifts to services and meetings

• We minimise the amount of energy we use in Church

• The meals we provide at our events often include Fairtrade and/or ethically sourced goods, food that is grown locally, organic ingredients and animal friendly

• Our meals always include a vegetarian/vegan option

• Our church takes steps to reduce food waste (e.g. through composting all waste, minimising leftovers at church meals), and we encourage our members to do likewise

• We have commited to pray for a specific overseas environmental projects

• we promote regular sustainability initiatives (e.g. Carbon Fast, WWF’s annual Earth Hour event)

What more can we do…

• We could organise events providing an opportunity for local people to engage with local leaders on local environmental issues

• Arrange for local environmentalists to speak in our services

• Organises environmental awareness-raising events (e.g. film evenings, Fairtrade events etc.) and Green fairs (showcasing local produce and highlighting local environmental issues)

• We could help with local conservation work (eg. at an A Rocha UK Partner in Action or RSPB/Wildlife Trusts nature reserve)

• Organise more events providing an opportunity for local people to get out and enjoy God’s earth in our local area (e.g. walks, cycle rides etc.)

• Participate in campaigns national and global environmental issues

• Use more Fairtrade/ local produce at our events

5. Lifestyle

What we have done/are already doing…

• We encourage walking and cycling to services and events

• We offer to share lifts, to reduce car usage

• Our coffee mornings allow members of the community to donate items they can no longer use to others who may be able to, instead of throwing them away.

• We encourage members of our community to carry out a personal carbon footprint audit

• We encourage members of our community to reduce their personal energy consumption

• We encourage our community to limit waste by reducing/reusing/recycling

• Our church newsletters/on our church website include practical lifestyle tips and advice on caring for God’s earth

What else do we need to do…

• Promote the use of Fairtrade/ethically sourced goods for personal use

• Ensure that our funds are ethically invested

Our Aims

Over the next 12-18 months, with your help, we would like to gain the Gold Award.

How can you help

You can help us care for our planet - God’s Creation in many ways. Even if it is only in a small way it will all add up.

For example, can you help with the management off our Churchyard? On the first Saturday of the month (March-October) we have Churchyard day.

In the future this may involve:

• Cutting the grass following the mowing plan (and collecting the cuttings) to encourage more wild flowers

• Installing bird boxes, bug hotels, hedgehog boxes, bird feeding stations

• Planting more plants that will benefit birds, bees and butterflies

• Please don’t use weed killer, except on the paths (gravel or slabs only)

• Help us by spending an hour undertaking a wildlife survey in the Churchyard

You could also help us by joining us at future ‘green’ events.

Finally, you could help our planet by carrying out a personal carbon footprint audit and reducing your personal energy consumption (switching to LED bulbs the next time a bulb blows), insulating your loft/installing water butts.

Eco Church Website

Thank you

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