Greening Christ ChurchGreening Christ Church - Our ECO Church Journey

 

Why are we focusing on the environment at Christ Church?

God’s creation, our planet, is so important to us all. At Christ Church, we want to become better caretakers of God’s creation, so have started the journey towards Eco status.  Cop26 held in 2021 helped to put the environment in sharp focus for us all.

The Church of England’s 5th Mark of mission asks us to “strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth.” while the Rt Revd Dr Guli Francis-Dehqani, Bishop of Chelmsford has asked us all to pray and discuss what action we can take as a church to become part of the solution to the climate crisis. 

If we were in any doubt that the Earth is warming and in a climate crisis, then the graphic below makes it very clear.

 

A little bit of context

Global Temperature Change

“These ‘warming stripe’ graphics are visual representations of the change in temperature as measured in each country over the past 100+ years. Each stripe represents the temperature in that country averaged over a year. For most countries, the stripes start in the year 1901 and finish in 2020.
For virtually every country or region, the stripes turn from mainly blue to mainly red in more recent years, illustrating the rise in average temperatures in that country.
“ Source:  https://showyourstripes.info/faq

 

Welcome to Greening Christ Church

As a community, the congregation at Christ Church have made the commitment to work towards being better caretakers for God's creation. As part of this calling, we shall be working towards Eco Church status.

The Eco Church pages of our website details our work and progress towards the different levels of Eco Church status, divided into the six themes used by Eco Church.

To learn more about Eco Church – visit the A Rocha UK website

 

The Core Team

  • Rev Margret Fowler
  • Sue Goldsmith
  • Paul Hunt
  • Liz Slater

Please do get in touch if you want to be part of the core team

 

The Bronze Award

ECO Church Bronze Award WinnerChrist Church, Billericay - Eco Church Award Certificate BronzeOur journey towards the Bronze Award started in the middle of 2021 when we were discussing the theme of the Summer Series. It was decided to work towards the Bronze Award by reviewing and answering the questionnaire for Eco Church. We met and agreed the statements and the survey was then uploaded to the Eco Church website

We applied for the Bronze Award and were delighted to learn on the 28th November that we had been successful in achieving the Award.

We shall now continue our work towards the Silver and Gold Eco Church awards. Set out below is the progress we have made to achieve the Bronze award and our targets to reach the Silver award

 

Worship and Teaching

At Christ Church, environmental themes have been explored over the years, but this year saw a whole summer series of worship dedicated to God’s creation. We covered a range of important topics during the series, such as plastic pollution, caring for our local wildlife and reducing waste, always from a Christian perspective. It was a hands-on summer series with lots of activities each week, including:

  • Making bug hotels
  • Reusing plastic milk bottles to create doves
  • Reusing old tiles as coasters
  • planting wild flowers

At the end of the series each family was given a goodie bag full of useful information on caring for God’s creation, including the Green Christian magazine in a bag made from old newspapers

Our Church YouTube channel has our online versions available to view

Team Service ECO Pledges

During the Team service at Christ Church in the summer we asked the congregation to answer God’s call and become better caretakers of his wonderful creation by completing an eco pledge

During the year there are many different occasions where we celebrate God’s creation, whether that is through hymns and songs and prayers .

We have also started to hold a monthly Eco Slot highlighting small changes that we can make to help care for the planet. Here is Paul, our UN Climate Change teacher, explaining how meat free days can cut down on C02 emissions. These are also shared to the wider community via email in our emailed notice sheet, saving the need to print out and post copies

 

Team Service 1

How many plastic bottles is Paul wearing?

Team Service 2

Making a difference one meal at a time

 

Working towards the Silver Award - Worship and Teaching

We shall be working towards gaining the Silver Eco Award by working towards the following

  • Invite more outside speakers to talk about environmental issues.
  • Prayers for environmental issues are more regular
  • Develop environmental issues as a teaching theme for children’s groups
  • Have regular hymns and songs and liturgies based on environmental issues

 

Photos from the Summer Series

 

Summer Series 1

Poster outlining the series

Summer Series 2

Making bug hotels

 

Summer Series 3

Reusing old tiles

Summer Series 4

The final week goody bag

 

Summer Series 5

Making doves out of plastic milk bottles

Summer Series 6

Repenting of our past actions (black) and our pledges to do better in the future (green)

 

Buildings

Our buildings are a work in progress regarding Eco Church status. We do have green energy electricity and do not have a gas supply. In our recent roof repairs, better insulation was installed and the main church windows are all double glazed. However, our church office windows are single glazed.

Our lighting is LED and the DCC created a policy for the outside floodlighting, where there will be a low level light on, unless there is detected movement when the lights will become brighter.

We do have cycle racks available and the DCC have explored the possibility of generating green energy, but at present this is not something we are able to develop

Working towards the Silver Award - Buildings

We shall be working towards gaining the Silver Eco Award by working towards the following:

  • Introduce recycled toilet paper.
  • Move towards all cleaning products being environmentally friendly.
  • Reducing paper waste in the church office by creating notepads from scrap paper.
  • Install a number of water butts

 

Land

When completing the Eco Church survey we were pleased with the progress we have made, but it did highlight a number of areas to focus on.

We have made real efforts in recent years to encourage wildlife onto the church grounds, through the different planting areas. We have focused on planting that encourages pollinators and our wildflower meadow area will be looking amazing in the summer! 

We have recently planted 4,000 purple crocuses and have planned to plant cherry trees to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

We ensure that there are no harmful chemicals used on the grass and planted areas as far as possible.

The area is regularly used by the uniformed groups particularly in the summer for activities and we have in the past had community events on the grounds, such as Jubilee events and outside worship

Working towards the Silver Award - Land

We shall be working towards gaining the Silver Eco Award by working towards the following

  • We shall invite local primary schools to use our grounds for wildlife surveys.
  • We shall make and install a number of bird boxes and bug hotels.
  • We shall investigate wildlife feeding stations

Photos of our Church Planting

 

Church Planting 1

Improving the church grounds

Church Planting 2

The final product

 

Church Planting 3

Easter garden at the front of the church

Church Planting 4

Remembrance garden at the front of the church

 

Church Planting 5

The community planting 4,000 purple crocuses

Church Planting 6

The community planting 4,000 purple crocuses

 

Church Planting 7

Encouraging pollinators

Church Planting 8

Encouraging pollinators

 

Church Planting 9

Involving all age groups

Church Planting 10

Community support

 

Community and Global Engagement

We are part of the local Greening Church network, and often post our progress on facebook

Some of the church community take part in local community clean up projects such as the one organised as part of Billericay’s response to COP26.

We have also shared our Summer Series materials with other local churches to use

Working towards the Silver Award - Community and Global Engagement

We shall be working towards gaining the Silver Eco Award by working towards the following

  • Investigate the possibility of running a green fair.
  • Organise a series of walks for people to enjoy from our church.
  • Investigate whether a car share scheme would benefit the community.
  • Investigate supporting an environmental charity

 

Lifestyle

To encourage our church community in a greener lifestyle, we have introduced the Eco Slot once a month to highlight small changes that we could all make to be better caretakers of God’s creation. For example, eating less meat, reusing plastic bottles for other purposes and steps to reduce energy bills.

The church uses Fairtrade goods as much as possible, and is looking into extending this

Working towards the Silver Award - Lifestyle

We shall be working towards gaining the Silver Eco Award by working towards the following

  • Investigate promoting reuse schemes in church
  • Introduce a Community Christmas Card and Easter Card
  • Encourage the church community to use food at home that is LOAF
  • As a church community undertake a lifestyle audit

 

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