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To mark the first anniversary of the Eco Church initiative ‘green communions' took place across the UK on Sunday 4 February.
As part of the scheme, churches undertake positive environmental steps which demonstrate that the gospel is good news for God’s earth and are awarded bronze, silver and gold awards accordingly.
Dr Ruth Valerio, Churches and Theology Director for A Rocha UK, which leads the scheme with support from the Church of England, the Methodist Church, Christian Aid and Tearfund, said:
“Looking after our common home is an essential part of living out the Gospel, and Eco Church can inspire and equip us to do that well. I’m thrilled with how Eco Church has taken off this year, and it has been exciting watching churches of all shapes and sizes getting involved. I’ve particularly loved visiting churches that have gained awards and seeing the impact that taking part in Eco Church has had on them as a church and in their communities.”
On Sunday green communion services were held across the country including cathedrals in Canterbury, Salisbury and Ely, York Minster and Bath Abbey.
A special order of service was written by the Precentor of Canterbury Cathedral, Matthew Rushton, containing bible verses, liturgies, and prayers and there was even an earth-friendly bread recipe on the Eco Church website.
Wymondham Abbey were awarded a Bronze Eco Church Award in July 2016. Esther Prendergrast from Wymondham Abbey said:
"We've found that becoming an Eco Church has been really easy and that actually making positive choices has been much easier than we originally thought it might be. Small, simple and often inexpensive choices can make a big difference. For example, just by buying environmentally friendly soap you know that every time someone washes their hands you’ve helped to be a little bit more environmentally friendly. Another really simple thing is that we ask people to bring in their recycling so that the children can do junk modelling with it.”
Izzy Woodman, the Eco Church Rep for Lyme Regis Baptist Church said:
“What I have particularly enjoyed about Eco Church is how accessible and easy to use it is. It gets churches thinking about the environment on a practical, spiritual and missional level in a way that I don’t think the church has ever been challenged to before. It looks at all areas of church life and provokes you to think about areas you had never thought of having an impact on the environment.”