Norwich city centre church, St Stephen’s, started on their Eco Church journey after reading and discussing Ruth Valerio’s “Saying yes to life” book during the Coronavirus lockdown period.
“There was a sense that we were pushing at an open door: it wasn’t that people hadn’t thought about these things before, but that maybe they hadn’t thought about them in relation to their faith,” says Eco Church team member, Hannah Emmrich.
They’ve found it helpful to have a team, with individuals taking on different responsibilities from sourcing eco-friendly cleaning products to starting a longer-term, much bigger project seeking solar panels. “It’s so much more than ‘tick sheets’, there’s something for everyone to get involved with,” says Lisa Fifield. “People have been thinking about where this comes from scripturally and how can we apply it. People who had never considered campaigning on environmental issues have had a go for the first time and are living their faith through it in a new way.”
“It definitely engages a wider range of people in the community,” agrees Hannah.
“I like that it’s brought in a lot of younger people who’ve got a real passion for it, and I think it’s important that us ‘oldies’ look at that and actually say, ‘this is important for the next generation’ as well as work alongside you in order to do that.”
“We’re not the finished product at all. We’re on a journey and it’s a long-term commitment, but it’s one that we can do at our own pace, and bring people in when we find people joining us who’ve got expertise or passion in a certain area.”
“It brings everybody together and I’m really pleased with the process. It’s a long journey, but it’s an exciting one!” concludes Lisa.
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