St Peter’s Church in Stratton has become the next church in the Diocese of Gloucester to achieve a Bronze Eco Church Award from A Rocha. They are part of a growing movement of churches that recognise that care for our planet is integral to our Christian faith.
Stratton Church undertook work in 2007 to build an “eco loo,” involving a trench arch drainage system. Then in 2011, solar panels were installed on the church roof. These projects were all at the inception of David Edwards, who had great foresight in the need to care for creation. The Church is really thankful for David’s hard work and vision – in 2019, the Church was a net provider of electricity to the grid.
As a result, when registering with “A Rocha” in 2018, the Church found it scored highly in the “building” section, but then needed to concentrate on many other areas of church life in order to meet the criteria for an award. They were already using FairTrade products and supporting specific environmental charities like Christian Aid, but they needed to go a lot further.
So, work commenced on such varied things as reducing paper usage, organising communal recycling, using environmentally friendly cleaning products and installing a cycle rack. They use a communal Christmas card and have plans to further reduce their carbon footprint. They have had specific teaching from the diocesan Environmental Advisor, the Revd Arthur Champion, about caring for creation.
Iona Edwards received the award, on behalf of her late husband, David Edwards, who worked tirelessly to promote an environmental agenda at the church.
Sue Hudson, a member of the congregation at St Peter’s said, “All of this has taken place against the recent backdrop of much environmental political activity and publicity about climate change. Whilst serving to help us realise that no action is too small to make a difference, our motivation remains to help sustain God’s wonderful creation for future generations.
“We are now considering the challenges of going on to work for a Silver Award and to help and collaborate with the other eight Parish churches in the Churn Valley Benefice to make progress with caring for creation. We are also hoping to meet with pupils from Stratton school to consider if any further initiatives can be made.”
Has your church signed up for the EcoChurch awards scheme yet?