Lifestyle survey helps church aim for Eco Church Silver Award

Published: Tuesday September 5, 2023

St John's Chipping SodburyAs an Eco Church, St John’s in Chipping Sodbury has embarked on a journey towards a greater care for God’s creation, achieving their Bronze Award in August 2022.

To support their efforts in gaining their Silver Award, the Eco Church team sent out a Lifestyle Survey to discover more about the worshipping community’s lifestyle changes and contributions they have made to living more sustainably.

The Revd Christine Axford, Eco Church Lead at St John the Baptist Chipping Sodbury, says, “Achieving Bronze was relatively easy but, as we continue the journey, we know the path to Silver will be more challenging. Earlier this year, in a sermon on the theme of creation, the congregation was asked to write a brief note of how they take care of God’s world. They produced some great ideas which we shared more widely. We then thought it would be a good idea to find out more about what people were already doing and so devised a very simple survey.

“Eco Church includes us all, as we strive to be more environmentally aware and live more sustainably on this beautiful planet.

“We do this corporately as a congregation and individually as we each make our own lifestyle choices. The aim of the survey was to encourage people to think about their own lifestyle; to think about what they were already doing and what they could do in addition, and for the Eco Church group to see if there were areas where they could offer encouragement or information to help people with their own lifestyle choices.”

The Lifestyle Survey was launched at the Rogation Service on 14 May and was open for around eight weeks. It was distributed at Sunday services and to other church groups with hard copies available in both the church and the church centre.

A pile of completed Lifestyle surveysThe survey was divided into four categories: Travel; Home; Shopping; Garden and Environment. Each category had a different number of statements which included things like ‘use public transport where possible’, ‘take shorter showers’, ‘use environmentally friendly cleaning products’, and ‘use less peat and plastic’, with each statement having two optional responses: ‘do now’ or ‘will do’.

Christine says, “We received 41 replies, representing households and couples as well as individuals. We didn’t ask for exact numbers or ages as we were only looking for an overall picture.

“The responses were very encouraging and show that people already consider the environmental impact of their own lifestyles and are willing to do more. We also looked for any overall patterns which would help us to provide relevant support, information or resources as we move forward. Some individual questions were obviously more challenging with fewer responses so we will be able to address some of these during the next year.

“We have plenty of material to work with over the coming months. We are now on the way to Silver and this information will really help us explore areas that need greater focus.”

Signing up as an Eco Church is easy, visit Eco Church in an hour to find out how you can get involved.

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