Eco Church takes root in New Zealand
Since its launch in July this year, A Rocha Aotearoa New Zealand has welcomed the first five churches to their Eco Church NZ network. It follows the success of the Eco Church award scheme pioneered by A Rocha UK, which now has around 3,000 churches registered across England and Wales.
Whilst the schemes differ slightly, the ethos behind them is the same: both aim to support churches to actively care for God’s earth as an integral part of their mission. A Rocha Aotearoa NZ have articulated this as a response to ‘three biblical challenges’:
- Living a faithful life and following Jesus through caring for God’s earth.
- Loving our neighbours in a resource-limited world – whilst the earth’s ability to support human life is being rapidly depleted, the poor will be the ones that suffer the most.
- Reflecting and protecting the glory of God – because caring for God’s earth is an essential part of the church’s mission in the world, churches can and should be agents of restoration and healing in their local communities. This includes modelling ways of living sustainably.
In partnership with Para Kore, A Rocha Aotearoa NZ has also launched a Zero Waste programme, which supports churches to reduce their waste through training workshops, resources and waste audits. The pilot began in August 2020 with seven churches in Christchurch and in March 2021, A Rocha Aotearoa NZ plans to expand this to churches in Auckland.
To find out more about the Eco Church NZ project, visit their website: ecochurch.org.nz