Local Church Receives Environmental Award
A church in North East Hampshire was recognised last Sunday for its environmental credentials when it received the prestigious Eco Church award.
St John’s, Hartley Wintney, was judged sufficiently ‘green’ in all areas of church life to achieve the Bronze Eco Church award, which it celebrated during its two services on Sunday 4th February.
The Ven Richard Brand of Winchester Diocese, who presented the award to some young members of the 9 o’clock congregation, said, ‘The Church is committed to constantly improving our care for creation and I’m delighted to share in celebrating with St John’s, Hartley Wintney, their wonderful achievement of a bronze Eco Church award. I hope what they have accomplished will encourage others in their community and many other churches.’
To meet the award criteria, St John’s holds an earth-focused service most years while its new church centre, with its own cycle racks, is grade A energy efficient. The church’s coffee shop serves ethical Fairtrade Kingdom Coffee and chocolate. Members of the church were recently involved in Christian Aid’s Big Shift campaign, when a coalition of groups visited the banks in nearby Fleet, presenting messages from the congregation asking the banks to move their money from fossil fuels to renewable energy. St John’s buys green electricity and gas and has an ethical food policy, which means it purchases free range meat for church functions.
‘We are a busy church, with lots of breakfasts, bacon butties and BBQs in the summer,’ said Ian Coster, a member of the Creation Care Committee at St John’s. ‘It’s fun to provide food and eat together, but even better now that we are doing so without causing unnecessary suffering to fellow-creatures.’
The award plaque, made from recycled pews by a community group that works with disabled people, was awarded to two children to symbolise that caring for the earth is a way of giving to future generations. Roselie (7) and Marieta (4) said, ‘God made all the animals so we think we should look after them.’
Eco Church is A Rocha UK’s award scheme for churches in England and Wales who want to demonstrate that the gospel is good news for God’s earth. Their free online survey and supporting resources are designed to equip churches to express their care for God’s world in their worship and teaching; in how they look after their buildings and land; in how they engage with their local community and in global campaigns, and in the personal lifestyles of their congregation.www.ecochurch.arocha.org.uk