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The triumphs and challenges of the eco journey in Reedham

Set in the beautiful marshlands of the Norfolk Broads, St John the Baptist in Reedham’s small congregation is not seen as barrier to progressing on their Eco Church journey.

Diana Gilder, their Eco Church Rep explains:

Our Eco Church journey started some years ago, before it had a label, with a churchyard survey and subsequent introduction of an annual “meadow cut”. Then came steps to alter our energy supplier, ditch single use plastic and oasis and use eco cleaning materials.

Starting the Eco Church dashboard survey increased our knowledge and lent structure and purpose to our ideas. Reacting to A Rocha’s advice that changing one’s bank account might be the single most effective step to take, the PCC reviewed where its investments lay.

Being the first halt in the COP26 pilgrimage from Gt Yarmouth to Kings Lynn and hosting a few hardy souls in church overnight, proved inspirational. We “Rang out for Climate”, twinned our toilets and planted some of the Queen’s Green Canopy in the churchyard! Early in 2023 we gained the bronze award. In fact we surprised ourselves by reaching gold and silver levels in a couple of categories, although we may not be able to attain those dizzy heights in the remaining sections. It’s nice to have awards, but that’s not the point.

The important question is, with a regular Sunday congregation of nine or ten people, most in their more mature years, how can we have more than a very limited impact?

Here are just four of the steps we have taken:

  • We inform the congregation and other church visitors
  • A permanent Eco Church information board gives ideas and provides leaflets for regulars, villagers and our many visitors
  • We involve other village organisations
  • A rota of litter pickers has been created with the WI and other dog walkers
  • We try to instil the habit of recycling into our local schoolchildren
  • Last year, we sent each child home with a bag labelled for collecting soft plastics, to be returned to school after a month. We repeated it for two more months. The response was good, and we hope some habits were formed. The school has now been inspired to reinstate some of its in-school recycling
  • We promote other local recycling.
  • A leaflet has been produced, using local knowledge and by trawling through the Terracycle website. It identifies 17 local recycling points and the products they take. This has been widely distributed to all villagers and the six other churches in our Benefice.

There are, of course, challenges. We eagerly seized on the Superdrug medicine blister pack recycling scheme and organised collection points in our churches. This was particularly relevant with the age profile of our congregations and people felt they were doing something positive. Unfortunately, that scheme and the subsequent postal recycling scheme with Aldi, proved “too popular”. We’re hoping a new contract with Terracycle is worked out soon, it’s painful to have to throw blister packs away. Time for a new campaign. Will you join us?

Have you started your Eco Church journey yet? Register as an Eco Church or find out more at:

Sign-up for our Eco Newsletter here
Join the conversation on our Facebook group here
Watch the message from Bishop Graham here
For any further help, contact