St Andrew’s URC has registered as an Eco Church, and begun a journey to reduce our carbon footprint and bring our concern for God’s good Earth into all aspects of our church life.
Our draft Environmental policy statement is available for guidance and comment.
‘Eco Church’ is a project of the Christian environmental group A Rocha, which provides a lot of resources to support ‘greening’ the church and an award scheme to celebrate progress.
The Eco Church Steering Group welcomes comments and feedback about our green commitments from all members of the congregation and users of the Church Centre to: [email protected]
Eco Church key areas
The Eco Church process is built around 5 key areas of the church’s life –
Worship and teaching:
- making opportunities for special celebrations of Creation;
- incorporating into our regular services preaching, prayers and songs about caring for God’s Earth;
- including our human responsibility of caring for the Earth in teaching for children, youth, and adults, including exploring related themes in small groups.
Management of church buildings (both church premises and manse):
- finding ways to reduce our consumption and to meet our energy needs from renewable sources;
- committing to making environmentally positive choices in all aspects of our work;
- using eco-friendly products;
- reducing waste;
- improving energy efficiency;
- encouraging environmental awareness among all users of the Church Centre.
Management of church land:
- exploring creative options for encouraging native wildlife on our church land;
- committing to an eco-friendly management approach to church land.
Community and global engagement:
- creating opportunities for our local community to engage with environmental issues
- providing an example in our neighbourhood of how to make a meaningful response to the challenges posed by climate change and the need for a more sustainable lifestyle;
- working with others in our local community to identify environmental issues which should be addressed in our area and help develop actions to tackle them;
- supporting charities and campaigns to address the global impact of the climate crisis (e.g., Christian Aid).
- encouraging individual members of our congregation to examine their own lifestyle and take appropriate actions in their personal lives;
- promoting walking and cycling to reduce car use;
- encouraging the use of ethically sourced food that follows the LOAF principles (Locally grown, Organic, Animal-friendly, Fairtrade);
- managing each household’s carbon footprint.
Eco Church Steering Group
We have a small Steering Group consisting of:
Peter Skerratt (Convenor)
Anne Byfield (leading on Worship and teaching)
Revd Sue McCoan (leading on Buildings)
John Mitchell (leading on Land)
UPDATE April 2023
Thames North Synod
The Synod has continued to develop its response to the climate and ecological crisis through the work of the Green Apostles Team, encouraging churches to register and progress as Eco Churches, and more finance is available for ‘green’ building improvements. It has been encouraging to see some of the initiatives around the Synod, particularly where church buildings are in a much more challenging state than ours at St Andrew’s.
The Green Book Club
The green Book Club continued to meet: fortnightly year with seasonal gaps.
This year began with pope Francis’s encyclical, Laudato si, then continued with Climate change is racist by Jeremy Williams. The biggest challenge so far was to tackle Doughnut economics: seven ways to think like a 21st economist by Kate Rawlings. From our previous reading it had become clear that the roots of the ecological crisis lie in an economic system that is designed to take out more than it puts back. Doughnut economics showed us that there are other possibilities, even if politicians are cautious about embracing them.
The book group is open to all. Please feel free to join us if you are interested in exploring the way for Christians to respond to the environmental crisis. The next book will be Saving us: a climate scientist’s case for hope and healing in a divided world by Katharine Hayhoe, which we will start after EASTER
Next steps at St Andrew’s
The energy crisis has brought home the need to improve our energy efficiency. We have already increased our draught proofing and will continue to look at options for approaches that will both reduce our carbon footprint and reduce our running costs.
Convenor, Eco Steering Group