In the heart of our parish lies a world teeming with life, from the rustling trees to the buzzing bees. Our natural surroundings are not just a backdrop for our lives but the very fabric that sustains us. As stewards of this earth, it is our duty to protect and preserve the ecology that supports our community and the broader environment.

Our ecosystem is a delicate web of interdependent species and natural processes. Trees and plants purify the air we breathe, and bees and other pollinators play a crucial role in our food supply. The health of our environment directly impacts our own well-being. When we protect nature, we protect ourselves. In an era where environmental concerns are at the forefront of global discussions, the Church of England has taken a proactive stance in promoting ecological stewardship through its Eco Church Awards. This initiative reflects the church’s commitment to safeguarding God’s creation and inspiring communities to adopt sustainable practices.

The Eco Church Awards, developed by A Rocha UK, a Christian conservation charity, encourage churches to integrate environmental care into all aspects of our mission. The awards recognize and celebrate churches that demonstrate a commitment to environmental sustainability.

The Eco Church Awards are structured in three levels: Bronze, Silver, and Gold.

Bronze Award: This level recognizes churches that have made a good start in caring for God’s earth in each of the five key areas.
Silver Award: Achieving the Silver Award means the church has made significant progress and has implemented a range of sustainable practices.
Gold Award: The highest level, the Gold Award, is awarded to churches that have thoroughly integrated environmental care into every aspect of their mission and operations.

The Eco Church initiative is deeply rooted in Christian theology. The Bible speaks of the earth as the Lord’s and everything in it (Psalm 24:1), and humankind’s role as stewards of creation (Genesis 2:15). “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” Hence the view I expressed above that protecting our environment is not just a practical necessity but a spiritual duty.

We are in the process, as a “first step”, of seeking a Bronze Award. As Lao Tzu, the ancient Chinese philosopher, and the founder of Taoism, wrote “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” A simple practical step in seeking a Bronze Award is to reinforce the churchyard as a habitat for birds and bats by installing, bird and bat boxes on some of the existing trees; by doing so we embrace a role as caretakers of God’s creation. Together we can make a significant impact on the environment, promoting sustainability and inspiring others to follow suit.

What would be wonderful in this “call to arms” would be find individuals or groups of people who would be willing to sponsor the cost of a Bird (circa £15) or a Bat (circa £25) boxes or to make one. If that is something, you are able and willing to do please speak either with me or with Mark Knight our environmental champion.

If we answer this call with dedication and faith, we can ensure that our actions today contribute to a healthier, more sustainable world for future generations. Thus participating in the Eco Church Awards, allows us to celebrate our collective efforts and reaffirm our commitment to caring for the earth, our common home.

Richard

Find out more here: https://arocha.org/en/theology-churches/eco-church/