Eco Church Gold
Tamsin Morris reports on the first two United Reformed churches to win the highest award for care for creation
United Reformed churches have been achieving gold in the Eco Church award scheme run by A Rocha UK. St John’s Marsh Green URC in Kent was the first in 2019, then in July 2021, Tavistock URC in Devon became the second. These gold award winners demonstrated care for creation in multiple ways – through their worship and teaching, buildings, land, community and global engagement and lifestyle.
St John’s and Tavistock URCs have long been committed to addressing environmental issues. To complete a gold award often requires sustained action over many years. Their worship continues to celebrate creation. They pray for action to address the climate crisis and engage with the local community.
The most visible signs of eco-credentials at St John’s Marsh Green are such things as the rows of solar panels high up on the slate roof, which mean that the church is a net exporter of electricity, and the rainwater tank that flushes the toilets, and another that waters the plants.
St John’s has a nature reserve which is managed to promote a wide diversity of native flora and fauna. It has a wildflower meadow, log piles, fruit trees and numerous bird, bat, bug and butterfly boxes. There are several hedgehog homes as well – part of the scheme to encourage the whole village to become ‘hedgehog friendly’. There are compost bins, a wormery, a recycling centre, double or secondary glazed windows, insulation, LED light bulbs, and Fairtrade supplies in the kitchen. Less obvious, but equally important, are ethical banking, using green energy suppliers, involvement of the children, environmental services and film evenings, and green ‘spots’ in the newsletter and weekly bulletin!..
Tamsin Morris is Press and Communications Officer for A Rocha UK and Climate Sunday Coalition. Since these two awards, Emmanuel Church, Bungay, Suffolk, an LEP, has also won gold. For more information about Eco Church visit ecochurch.arocha.org.uk
This is an extract from an article published in the November 2021 edition of Reform