Our churches are committed to the environment and at St Mary’s we have a team dedicated to that under the leadership of Rosie Winyard, our Inspiring Love champion.
The team have been working hard through 2021 to complete the work needed for our Eco Church award and we’ve been given a silver award. As part of this application we’ve had to consider our response to a number of different areas. One of the great outcomes already is that the process is causing us to think more deeply about how we can improve many of these still further.
Worship and Teaching
Our most recent service devoted entirely to environmental issues took place on 13th June. The service included a brilliant presentation by Rosie, included music dedicated to the environment and concluded with a wildlife survey of the churchyard for Caring for God’s Acre.
In many respects we score highly in this area. Almost all the buildings we are responsible for are double glazed, well insulated and are lit by efficient LEB lighting. We have worked hard at these things in recent years. The constraints of a Grade 1 listed building of course mean there are limitations – UPVC windows don’t look great in medieval window openings!
In particular we need to give some attention to the way we heat our main church building and to get a better balance between having a warm, welcoming building through the winter months and saving energy.
Other areas that our survey has shown we could improve are:
- Rainwater collection
- Better use of recycled paper
- Fewer services where we use single use orders of service (Covid has unfortunately increased these)
- The provision of cycle racks for those prepared to cycle to church
- Consideration (once again) of energy conservation on our many hidden south facing roofs.
We’re working hard here. This year we are:
- Setting aside large parts of the churchyard as wildlife areas (less mowing – not entirely appreciated by all members of the local community, so:
- Having signs made to make it clear why the grass is now longer (Our local charity, EnviroAbility are helping us with this)
- Putting up bird boxes around the churchyard. (Our local charity, EnviroAbility are helping us with this)
Community and Global Engagement
We have been working closely with Enviroability to develop a partnership with St Marys. The charity has kindly agreed to make our bird boxes and signs for the churchyard to explain why we are leaving the grass to grow longer and to enable the wildflowers to grow as well to attract insects and improve biodiversity.
We have also partnered with the charity Gods Green Acre to carry our our wildflower count which will be inputted into the nation bioscientific diversity website.
For the future we are planning to repeat this survey in the Autumn to identify fungi and other insects in our churchyard at that time of year.
St Marys also partners with Traidcraft to promote the sale of goods and support Traidcraft projects in other countries.
We also embrace Fairtrade and try to ensure that all refreshments served in St Mary’s are ethically sourced.
I will send you my presentation as an attachment
In a recent service in June we discussed ways in which we can reduce our carbon footprint as individuals and as a church. We need to begin by calculating our own carbon footprint and this was discussed in a recent service and notice sheet, including ways in which we can reduce our individual impact and also the carbon footprint for our church. Members of our church have offset their personal carbon footprint to contribute to offsetting the carbon footprint for St Mary’s church, which is very encouraging, but we recognise we need to do more as a PCC to take up this issue. We are encouraging the congregation to take part in Earth hour events and to pray for environmental projects both locally and nationally as we approach the next Summit on the Environment in Glasgow.
Here’s some information from Arocha about the things you can do to play your part.