St Mary’s is set in a large churchyard in an area of outstanding natural beauty on the North Norfolk coast.
Six years ago, the PCC looked at the A Rocha Eco Church survey and felt that over the decades, conservation efforts had been made. Encouraged, it decided to pursue a bronze award. Mostly it had to explore the last two of the five categories - Community and Global Engagement and Lifestyle. So for instance it undertook a Plastic Challenge for Lent and later, an Eco Quiz - with the first prize being a vegan meal which no one much wanted to win!
In the lead up to COP26 in 2021, St Mary's committed to fully divest from fossil fuels to become part of the largest ever joint-divestment by faith organisations.
The most inspiring aspect of Eco Church is the structure it offers for conversations.
In September 2021, the leaders of the Orthodox, Catholic and Anglican communions of churches issued a rare joint statement on the need to protect creation which included the following:
"The current climate crisis speaks volumes about who we are and how we view and treat God’s creation. We stand before a harsh justice: biodiversity loss, environmental degradation and climate change are the inevitable consequences of our actions, since we have greedily consumed more of the earth’s resources than the planet can endure. But we also face a profound injustice: the people bearing the most catastrophic consequences of these abuses are the poorest on the planet and have been the least responsible for causing them. We serve a God of justice, who delights in creation and creates every person in God’s image, but also hears the cry of people who are poor. Accordingly, there is an innate call within us to respond with anguish when we see such devastating injustice."
This statement alone, alongside everything else we know, would suggest a conversation is a good idea?
St Mary's is grateful to the Norfolk Wildlife Trust for including us in The Norfolk Churchyard Conservation Scheme last year. Their report is available to read at the back of the church.
We have pledged the two and a half acres of the churchyard to WildEast's Map of Dreams. Wild East's mission is "to return 250,000 hectares of land to nature and radically change how it is seen - to slow, stop and reverse the alarming ecological declines that are happening all around us and now."
If you have any ideas, or expertise, or would just like to help, please contact Tim at Friends of St Mary's.
Some useful links:
M Witting '22