When St Michael and All Angels Church in Bishop’s Cleeve completed its initial Eco Church Award questionnaire, they were delighted that they immediately qualified for a Bronze Award. The church was already doing a lot of work around environmental awareness and action, fast-tracking them to their first initial award.
The aim of the Eco Church Award scheme is to celebrate the ways that church communities have been engaging with caring for the earth as a key part of our Christian faith.
Ann Jessop, Churchwarden at St Michael’s, says, “The PCC has always acknowledged that caring for the planet was part of our Christian life and we signed up to be an Eco Church in 2021, but with other tasks and projects needing attention, plus coping with COVID and covering for staff vacancies, we were not able to take the formalities much further till this year.
“The process was relatively simple, with an online form to complete and an immediate response from A Rocha that we had gained our Bronze Award based on what we have already been doing. The time taken was on gathering the information needed from the various teams at the church, but we’ve all been greatly encouraged by this news.”
Members of the churchwarden team have also completed training offered by the Diocese of Gloucester to help them in their understanding of carbon emissions and other ways to save energy.
“I took part in a really interesting Zoom workshop run by the central diocesan service team, which was largely about churchyards. This year, two of the Churchwarden team went to Gloucester to attend a workshop on zero carbon emissions and we are going to follow this up by having a DAC adviser coming to see us on site. It’s good to feel supported by the central diocesan team with training and advice.”
In their response to the survey completed by St Michael’s, the Eco Church Team said they were particularly interested in the monthly Church on the Hill gatherings, where worship leaders meet with members of the worshipping community on Cleeve Hill to talk about faith and worship out in creation. They have invited the church to submit a short piece for the Eco Church stories web page, to encourage and inspire other churches about ways to meet outside in nature.
The Revd Tim Garrett, Team Rector of St Michael’s, says, “Being awarded the Bronze Award is really wonderful news and the brilliant work by the Churchwarden team and the PCC, getting the award so quickly, is a significant achievement. It’s also exciting that A Rocha are interested in Church on the Hill, as we explore ways to expand this ministry.”
The church is now looking at ways to gain their Silver Award.
As a diocese, we are asking all our churches to be part of our #EcoChurchInAnHour campaign, which breaks down Eco Church into small, manageable steps. Find out more here: Eco Church in an hour – Diocese of Gloucester (anglican.org)