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CEL home > News and Archive > Bradford Diocese > EcoCongregation at Burley October 2005

Earth CareBradford Diocese
Earth Care

20 Oct 2005: EcoCongregation Meeting

 

*** Does the Environment matter? ***
*** Do others in your church think so? ***
*** Wondering what you can do about it? ***

On Thursday 20 October a discussion/preparatory/facilitating
meeting for churches and individuals in churches who are thinking of taking
part in EcoCongregation was held at St Mary's, Burley in Wharfedale

A good sign: So many people (over 40) turned up, that the meeting had to move from the Parish Rooms, into the church itself. 20 different churches were represented and three different denominations.

Jo Rathbone, the National Coordinator for England for EcoCongregation told people about the scheme:

Representatives from two churches that have already gained an EcoCongregation Award told about their experiences.

From Hurst Green, near Clitheroe we heard

  • It started as a seed of an idea in a house group
  • They thought they would be disheartened when they had to do the audit, but they found the opposite - they realised how much they were doing
  • Posted their results on a big display board at the back of the church
  • Held a Creation Sunday Service to inspire the Congregation and involve the children
  • Held an Environment conference at the church
  • Had a trip to the South Lakes Animal Park with the children
  • "Once we had started it gathered momentum"
  • Held a "Worship in Wellies" event
  • Had a celebration of light and switched on the energy efficient light bulbs
  • (and more...)

From Holy Trinity, Skipton - who have only just received the award last month, but who have been doing green things since 1996 we saw their display board of activities and heard:

  • It started in a house-group who had run a sort of four session evening class "How green is your faith". After this they did not want to stop and started meeting on an irregular basis.
  • They Formed Holy Trinity "Christian Ecology Group"
  • They produced "Skipton Green Pages" - A booklet showing where to obtain environmentally friendly products in Skipton, where to recycle products, how to get fair trade goods. - This has been a lot of work but now is in its ninth edition. they are really pleased when local organisations have given gifts of recycled paper for it to be printed on, because it show community involvement
  • The Tree Planting Day was a lively event
  • The group were the major working force in the Bradford Diocese "EarthCare" day conference held in October 2004
  • The next big project is to be a Fair Trade Fashion Show in Spring in Skipton
  • "After a while some of these green ideas, just become "the way you do it", a natural part of life. The group are pleased that the filter coffee served in their church is now Fair Trade filter coffee."

Jo asked for other stories and ideas from people present:

John Anderson from the Shipley and Bingley Methodist Circuit is a local preacher. He told

  • how he had preached about the environment around the time of Environment Sunday (First Sunday in June).
  • Now he has proposed that his Methodist church and each church in the Circuit should appoint an Eco-Officer (voluntary), just as each church has officers for Overseas Missions, Finance etc. He has written a job description for the post. His Church Meeting has adopted this proposal, as has the circuit.

Questions were received from the floor about Photovoltaic cells. There was strong feeling that these were not yet economically or energetically efficient enough yet. Others said the church ought to take a lead.

However solar panels for water heating are now very efficient and low tech, and it is possible to get small grants from such organisations as Clear Skies.

One church recounted how they are investigating getting a small wind mill.

See www.christian-ecology.org.uk/earthcare.htm for information about Bradford Diocese Earth Care

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