Learnings from Climate Action on Churches Event
Nerys and Deryn McAndrew from the Rectorial Benefice of Eglwysilan & Caerphilly share their experience attending a Climate Action on Churches event and the journey to becoming an Eco-Church:
The church’s environmental drive has well and truly begun! Churches from all over Wales and from many denominations met online last week for a Climate Action on Churches event.
For those just beginning their eco journey as a church, this was a perfect introduction to resources to get you started. A Rocha UK gave a presentation on their Eco-Church award – many churches in our Diocese are already registering for this award as we work towards becoming an Eco-Diocese so if you haven’t done this yet, I strongly encourage you to do so. This provides a simple survey to help your church to think greener. But not only is it a survey, but also a “toolbox” of resources and information to help you achieve your eco objectives.
For those whose journey is already underway, this was a brilliant place to meet others, to share experiences so far and to learn about other organisations that can help you to grow even greener. We heard presentations from Renew Wales and two churches who have benefited from their help; St Asaph and St Paul’s, Sketty. Hearing about their re-ordering projects, involving solar panels, underfloor heating, roof insulation, replacement boilers etc. gave much encouragement…and food for thought! What was evident was that working with others like Renew Wales can provide expertise and the knowledge to progress projects that you may not have when working alone.
Following this we were able to attend 2 of 4 workshops. My colleague and I attended different workshops to get the best of everything on offer:
Worship & Teaching
Stuart Elliott provided a wealth of references of books, websites and initiatives to encourage each church to celebrate the environment, not just during Creation Season, but throughout the church year. It struck me that many of these could form creative worship opportunities with wider community groups, helping us to achieve some other elements of our Vision.
Managing church buildings & land
Noel Isherwood identified other ideas and questions – e.g. solar panels on church roofs, “de-stratifying” fans to push hot air back down from the roof, community collaboration and available grant funding. One thing that resonated with me is that we all need a “vision” of where each of our churches is going – and the phrase “lose the vision – lose the church” – a sobering thought!
Community & global engagement
Delyth Higgins focussed on why we should engage the community and how we can go about doing it. Lots of information was provided to get each church thinking; from engaging your local MP, twinning your church, working with Eco-schools or even campaigning for global issues. The environment is a key topic for many right now; by promoting these initiatives it seems the perfect opportunity for us as a church to work in harmony with our often disconnected communities.
Mair Jones started with St David’s famous saying “Do the little things” and how every little can help, like changing to Fair Trade coffee. Covid has also created many opportunities for online communications, which, in our experience, has saved much travel and printing. David Attenborough was suggested for inspiration - at the age of 93 he is still embracing and even extending the use of technology to film wild-life!
The message is clear to me; we are causing catastrophic damage to the world in which we were entrusted to care for. But it isn’t too late to turn the tide; we each have a part to play in this, individually and as a church and there is lots of support and ideas to get you there. So if your eco journey is yet to begin, why not go to A Rocha UK’s website and get started? Or check out Renew Wales’ website for future events you can join.