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Church Times launches 2024 Green Church Awards

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Those endorsing the awards include the Church of England’s lead bishop for the environment, the Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham Usher, and Dr Ruth Valerio, Global Advocacy and Influencing Director at Tearfund, who is a leading environmentalist and theologian.

The Church Times report regularly how individuals and groups have been responding to the call to reduce their carbon footprint and do more to protect biodiversity — showing by campaigning and action the changes that need to be made globally if the earth is to remain habitable.

These awards are a means of gathering together the best of these efforts and celebrating them, acknowledging the creativity and hard work involved to get projects off the ground, and the determination needed to sustain them.

Highlighting some of the best projects, it is hoped, will inspire more people than ever to a greater and more urgent response to caring for creation.

The 2024 Church Times Green Church Awards are organised jointly with the Church of England’s environment programme, the Methodist Church, the Salvation Army, and Eco Congregation Scotland. They are open to church groups and church schools of any denomination.

There are seven award categories:

  • Green building award: projects that have significantly reduced the carbon footprint of an existing building or strengthened its climate resilience, or a new building built to high environmental standards which can be shown to have been the better option than refurbishment. Prize: £1000.
  • Land and nature award: projects creating space for wildlife and encourage biodiversity. Prize: £1000.
  • Congregation and community action: projects where a church, school, or other group has taken a leading part in environmental action, benefiting the wider community as well as its own. Prize: £1000.
  • Green champion award: nominations are invited for an individual who has made a significant difference through their environmental efforts. Prize: £1000.
  • Training and education award: projects promoting understanding about some aspect of environmental action, or destruction, and its impact, either at home or on the international community. Prize: £1000.
  • Green health award: Projects making an active connection between faith, nature and health. Projects may be run by a faith organisation in association with a local health practice or charity. Prize: £1000.
  • Action on a shoestring award: projects where a church, school, or other group has achieved a great deal with a little. Prize: £1000.

The panel of judges will be looking for projects that have made a positive change in the past two years in buildings, outdoors, and in the community. A building project can be nominated even if it hasn’t been completed, with as much information as possible about known and projected environmental impacts. A group can enter in one or more categories.

The deadline for entries is 30 June 2024. Details of shortlisted entries will be published in the Church Times during the summer. The awards ceremony will take place during Creationtide next autumn, venue to be announcedPhotos and videos to accompany entries are encouraged.

We are pleased to announce the involvement of partner organisations and sponsors, chief among whom is Ecclesiastical. Others include A Rocha UK (Eco Church), Ecology Building Society, Inspired Efficiency, and the Conservation Foundation. Other partners are coming on board, and we will make further announcements in future weeks.

Backing the launch of the awards, the Bishop of Norwich and lead bishop for the environment, the Rt Revd Graham Usher, said:

The Green Church Awards will help to celebrate and encourage others to notice the wide variety of great work that is being undertaken by church communities around the country to care for creation.

“As I read the Gospels, I’m struck by just how much nature is noticed by Jesus. We can join with him in seeing our lilies of the field, the trees in fruit, and the birds of the air. He also told stories to help us understand important truths.

“We, too, have stories to tell to inspire others to take action for climate change and nature recovery. Why not put forward your church eco initiative so we can celebrate our care for God’s creation?”

Tearfund’s Global Advocacy and Influencing Director, Dr Ruth Valerio, said:

The Green Church Awards are a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the range of environmental achievements made by church communities. It’s also a timely reminder ahead of COP28 in the United Arab Emirates that there is no more time for silence, and that the Church can and should be doing more to fight the climate crisis.

“In the 30 years I’ve been working with the Church on the issue of environment care, I’ve been encouraged to see more and more Christians respond to the climate crisis, both in making changes in their own lives and in speaking out. But there is so much more we need to do.

“At Tearfund, we work in 50 of the world’s poorest countries where people who have done the least to cause this crisis are suffering the most. Our world leaders need to take urgent action to reduce carbon emissions and stop the crisis from getting worse. And, as the Church, we have a huge part to play in speaking out to governments, politicians, and businesses, to call on them to put policies and practices in place that don’t harm creation and people living in poverty.”

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