Environmental Engagement Officer Cate Williams shares an update on where we are at with achieving our Silver Eco Diocese Award – and, crucially, how you can help us get there.
“The Eco Diocese Award is part of A Rocha’s Eco Church award scheme. Whereas Eco Church is for local churches, Eco Diocese is – just as it sounds – for a diocese.
“Since registering, we have come on in leaps and bounds as an Eco Diocese and supporting churches with working towards their individual Eco Church Awards, but there is more to be done. As I write in June 2023, we need 31 more churches to register, 57 more Bronze and 21 more Silver to be able to celebrate an Eco Diocese Silver.
“It involves two main things: the first is for a certain proportion of local churches to have signed up and achieved an award, so that across the Diocese we are showing that we are working on this together. The second is for tasks related to office buildings and how we work as Church House staff.
“We achieved our Eco Diocese Bronze Award in early 2021, and rather ambitiously gave ourselves two years to get to Silver. Shortly afterwards, Eco Church raised the bar considerably – quite rightly because as we respond to climate and nature crisis, it is necessary that we set ourselves some challenging ambitions. This raised bar, together with the longer than expected tail of COVID, made our two-year target unrealistic. However, we are making steady progress and are currently hoping that by the end of 2024 is a realistic goal.
To date, changes include:
- Making a disinvestment commitment
- Commissioning a 2030 carbon net zero plan for the Diocese
- Making changes to loo roll and cleaning supplies for the offices
- Making the first steps towards an environmental policy for glebe land
- Putting eco tips into our staff internal newsletter
- Ensuring that we are offering environment-themed training of various kinds
The target for Eco Diocese Silver in terms of local church awards looks like this:
- 40% of churches have registered
- 30% have a Bronze Award
- 10% have a Silver Award
“We have a steady stream of churches achieving awards – huge congratulations to you all! But with the bar this high, we are still some way off the target. Therefore, we’d love to encourage more local churches to work with us towards the Diocesan goal by actively working towards the next award:
- Want to get started?: If you are not yet registered, sign up and start the process
- Already registered?: If you are registered but not yet achieved Bronze, make a plan that gets you there
- Have your bronze award?: Bronze churches can make a plan towards achieving Silver
“We will be hugely grateful to any churches who take the next step. This is both for the sake of the ripples of mission and ministry that extend outwards from this locally, and for the indication of how seriously we are taking this as a Diocese, in achieving Silver.
“As for current Silver churches, the challenge to get from Silver to Gold is considerable, but not impossible. We have churches that are close and we hope to be able to celebrate with them before too long. We currently have 18 Silver churches and have recently drawn them together into a peer network, dedicated to supporting one another to get from Silver to Gold. We plan to gather roughly termly, sometimes online and sometimes in person, with specialist input as well as time and space to support one another with the shared ideas and problem solving.
“Thank you all for what all you are doing to care for God’s creation. Together, we are rising to the challenge of the climate and nature crises, choosing to prioritise our response as people of hope, for the sake of people and planet.
Read more about Eco Diocese on the A Rocha UK website: Eco Diocese – Eco Church (arocha.org.uk)